Before Bulgaria’s accession to the European Union (EU), gender equality was enshrined in the constitution under Article 6. The Law on Protection against Discrimination was passed in 2003 according to EU directives.
In general, the influence of the EU and international agreements on gender-mainstreaming policies in Bulgaria has been substantial. Pressure from the EU accession process in the 2000s had a significant effect on the development of the gender-equality field in Bulgaria, partly because of the alignment of Bulgarian legislation with the acquis communautaire. Gender mainstreaming is mentioned and foreseen in the National Strategy on Promotion of Gender Equality for 2009–2015, and important gender-mainstreaming activities took place in recent years through ad hoc gender-mainstreaming training funded by external programmes like MATRA (under the Netherlands Ministry of Foreign Affairs) and PROGRESS (an EU financial instrument).