History

The development of the customs administration in Bulgaria follows the main periods of development of the Bulgarian state.

The first regulations on the organisation and functioning of Bulgarian customs date back to the beginning of 1879. Following the adoption of the Tarnovo Constitution on 16 April 1879, Prince Alexander I of Battenberg appointed the ministers and a chairman of the Council of Ministers of the first Bulgarian government, and Decree No. 2 established the customs. The date of issuance of the decree - 7 July 1879 - is considered the day, marking the birth of the Bulgarian Customs Administration. During the first five years of activity of the Bulgarian customs, the Customs Statutes of the Bulgarian Princedom, endorsed by the Russian imperial commissar in Bulgaria - Prince Dondukov – Korsakov was the legal basis for its operations was.

At the beginning of 1885 the first Customs Act was endorsed and in 1906 a new law was drafted to account for the increasing role and authority of customs officials.

During the Second World War and within the 1944-1989 period, the structure of Bulgarian foreign trade and the work of customs were influenced by the political and historical processes. After Bulgaria entered the World War II, an absolute centralization was imposed on imports and exports and the customs work decreased significantly in volume. After 1944, in the conditions of a planned economy, the customs were assigned the protection of the state monopoly on import and export and with prosecution of all forms of smuggling. Part of their functions diminished in view of the fact that the external trade was a state monopoly and between 1960 and 1966 the customs administration was even incorporated within the Foreign Trade Ministry. After 1966, the customs administration was reinstated with the Ministry of Finance, a tradition from the Liberation till present day.

In 1973, Bulgaria became a member of the World Customs Organisation.

Following the changes in 1989-1990, the Bulgarian Customs Administration undertook new tasks, functions and responsibilities in a period of state monopoly abolition.

With an agreement of 1993 (in force as of 1995) Bulgaria associated to the European Community and committed itself to aligning its legislation with that of the European Union (EU). The priority was put on customs legislation as a basis for integration into the Single European Market. As part of the process of Bulgaria's accession to the EU, the negotiations under Chapter 25 ‘Customs Union' took place in 2001-2002. On 01.01.2007, Bulgaria became a full-fledged member of the European Union, a fact, which has a direct impact on the customs administration activity and structure.

 

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BRIEF HISTORY OF THE BULGARIAN CUSTOMS ADMINISTRATION (1879-2019)