- The development and distinctiveness of the Green Movement and the green parties in Bulgaria reflect the intricate logic of the transformations, which have been taking place in Bulgarian society over the past quarter of a century. The actors of the Green Movement have responded to these processes both in the direction of system integration and – more frequently – in the direction of contesting and opposing the system, whereby in their most productive periods they have even contributed to system change.
- Much like the green parties in the West, the Bulgarian environmental movement is the result of a social evolution promoted by a middle class that has endorsed a new type of modern culture. This middle class, however, has emerged and consolidated at a different historical time and in quite a different setting. This is the reason why it mirrors peculiarities that are common for the civic movements in the countries of the former socialist system, but at the same time it manifests specific traits typical for the « Bulgarian model » of transition.
- Environmentalism is one of the few causes capable of generating wide public support in Bulgarian society on an ongoing basis. During the three stages of its evolution (the « dissident » period from the end of the 1980s, the « NGO » period during the 1990s, and the « new green wave » of the first decade of the 21st century), the Movement has been expressing public discontent, has defended public interest against private interests clad in power, and has been a unifying factor of the broad moral opposition against the practices of the political status quo. The Green Movement has also been manifesting the national attachment to Nature, the deep cultural roots of which span over centuries.
- Despite its achievements, the Green Movement has failed to embed an autonomous and influential green party of its own in the institutions of power. The Movement – Party relationships are problematic. What has gained the upper hand is the logic that the Green Movement should go without a party and that the green parties should be outside the Green Movement. The reason why is that parties take environmentalism on board to the purpose of coming to power but afterwards they rapidly get marginalized.
- The willpower for direct civic participation in the decision-making processes over the last years has marked a new stage in the development of the Green Movement. After 2005, the consolidation of the environmentalist community into a civic coalition named « For Nature in Bulgaria to Stay » and the establishment of a new green formation determined to represent an authentic environmental party (the Greens), have set up prerequisites for launching an autonomous environmental project in Bulgaria. The volatility of the party system and the voter disappointment with the parties of the status quo now have opened opportunities for new political actors to emerge.
- The integration of the environmental project goes through the lasting inclusion of the green priorities on the agendas of all political parties and in the country’s policy at large. So far, the Bulgarian political system is far from envisaging an objective like this. The role of a catalyst to these processes once again falls on the shoulders of civic society embodied by the Green Movement, whereas the hopes for a « green breakthrough » in the system will continue to be linked to the synergy between this Movement and an authentic Green Party.