Rosen Plevneliev 

President of the Republic of Bulgaria 

2012 – 2017 

Rosen Plevneliev is the fourth democratically elected Bulgarian President. 

He was born on 14 May 1964 in the city of Gotse Delchev in the family of teachers. He graduated with honors the Natural Science and Mathematics High School in Blagoevgrad and subsequently the Technical University in Sofia, specializing computer science. Plevneliev is the winner of the National Computer Programming competition in 1982.

Until 2009 Plevneliev is an entrepreneur, real estate and construction project manager, CEO and co-founder of various real estate and construction companies. As a CEO and co-founder of Iris International LTD he implemented more than 80 construction projects in Germany in the period of 1991-1998 including Commerzbank Frankfurt, Airport Munchen, the Reichstag and the Chancellery in Berlin. In the period 1999-2009 he served as a co-founder and CEO of large-scale international real estate projects in Bulgaria such as Business Park Sofia, the first and largest business park in Southeast Europe, which generated more than 11, 000 working places and attracted 250 hi-tech companies from all over the world. It has been awarded “Building of the Year” and “Investor of the Year” awards.  Plevneliev has served as a co-founder and CEO of Residential Park Sofia - a large compound of 1000 residential, commercial and office units. As one of the leading managers in the country, Plevneliev was actively involved with public service. He was member of the Board of Directors of the American Chamber of Commerce, member of the Managing Board of the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria, and member of the Board of Trustees of “For Our Children” Foundation.

Plevneliev entered politics in 2009 serving as a minister of regional development and public works. He introduced a new approach in the management of European Union funds; started thousands of projects for the modernization of the Bulgarian regions; and elaborated a new long-term strategy and action plan for highway and road construction in Bulgaria. He accelerated the construction and completed three strategically important national highways. Plevneliev initiated energy efficiency projects, which grew into a large-scale National Programme for Energy Efficiency involving millions of Bulgarians and SME's.

Plevneliev was elected President of the Republic of Bulgaria at the presidential elections held in November 2011 in competition with 17 candidates. He served as the fourth democratic elected Bulgarian president in the period 2012 - 2017. His mandate was very difficult and demanding, during а time of an extraordinary instability in the region, Europe and around the world. In international aspect, there was a record number of conflicts, migrants and terrorist attacks, multiple and parallel ongoing crises in the region, the European Union and the world, including strong confrontation between EU/NATO and Russia. 

In terms of domestic politics, there was harsh political confrontation that led to three parliamentary crises, two large waves of protest in the country, two caretaker governments. 

During his term of office President Plevneliev has worked with five governments and three parliaments. The years 2013 and 2014 were particularly critical – five governments and three parliaments changed over the course of just two years.  

Plevneliev is the first Bulgarian President to appoint two caretaker governments. In his very difficult term the Presidential institution was a center of institutional stability.  

President Plevneliev stood behind the active civil society, organized civil debates and started the initiative “Dialogue with the Citizens".

President Plevneliev supported the direct democracy and is the first Bulgarian President who initiated national referendum. 

Plevneliev initiated the National Development Programme Bulgaria 2020 and the Bulgaria 2030 debate. He set long-term national priorities such as innovations, e-government, e-voting, ambitious modernization programme, connectivity, vocational education system, long-term public planning, energy efficiency, liberalization and diversification. He established and is the patron of the first innovation ecosystem and the first hi-tech park in Bulgaria and on the Balkans – Sofia Tech Park. 

Plevneliev is patron of hi-tech industries such as Information and Communication Technologies, outsourcing and automotive. During his term of office more than 90,000 new jobs were created in hi-tech industries. 

President Plevneliev set up connectivity as a strategic national and regional priority. A large-scale modernization programme was initiated - highways, waste water treatment plants, landfills, the Sofia subway and thousands of other modernization projects are being built. 

In his term of office the energy market has been completely liberalized. He introduced e-government, e-voting and rules of transparency in public funds’ management. 

President Plevneliev heavily contributed for Bulgaria’s active and worthy membership in the EU and NATO. Plevneliev is a convinced European. He declared: “The European Union is not a foreign policy for me, it is my family”. 

Plevneliev is a great supporter of the international rule of law, human rights and freedoms. He condemned the illegal annexation of Crimea by the Russian Federation as well as the number of frozen conflicts in the region initiated by it. The first Bulgarian President who openly and consistently opposed the policy led by the Russian president. „It is high time for Russia to learn to have partners rather than subordinates and servants.“ Plevneliev is the first Bulgarian President who was awarded "Person of the year" in a foreign country – in Ukraine. 

He took an active position in overcoming the record number of crises in the EU. The first Bulgarian President who was invited to become a member of the Arraiolos Group of nonexecutive presidents of EU Member States. Plevneliev was the host of the 12th meeting of the heads of state of the Arraiolos Group in 2016 when 10 presidents looked for solutions how to strenghten the EU under his leadership. At every European forum Plevneliev reiterated, “The European Union is our family. In hard times a family gets united and every member of the family must contribute. “ 

Plevneliev was chairman of the South East European Cooperation Process - the leading political format on the Balkans in the period 2015-2016. As a president he successfully positioned Bulgaria as a trusted friend of everyone in the region, as a leader and unavoidable factor on the Balkans. In 2015 President Plevneliev was elected Personality of the year on the Balkans. 

In 2015-2016 Plevneliev leaded successfully the Bulgarian chairmanship of the Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe. He held a keynote speech at the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe on the issues on the European and regional agenda setting the priorities of the Bulgarian chairmanship: connectivity, rights of the child and finding a common European solution for the migration crises. 

The first Bulgarian head of state who represented Bulgaria five years in a row in the UN General Assembly. On behalf of Bulgaria he signed two global treaties of historic significance – the Global Climate Change Agreement and the Sustainable Development Goals 2030. 

He represented Bulgaria at three NATO summits when the Readiness Action Plan was adopted and protection mechanisms against threats of all kinds were endorsed. 

He held a keynote speech at the European Parliament which was met with high approval in Bulgaria and around the world. The first Bulgarian President who was invited to the presidential debate at the Munich Security Conference. 

Plevneliev is the most internationally active Bulgarian President who made 123 international visits and took part in a record high number of global and international fora and conferences. 

President Plevneliev set up the Presidents’ Council and Presidential Library in Bulgaria.

The first Bulgarian President who refused – publicly and with clear arguments – to run for a second term of office. 

He has called for an honest and objective assessment of Communism and has been the first Bulgarian head of state who paid tribute to the victims of Communism visiting the memorial on the observance date. During his term of office the records of the communist secret services were finally transferred to the Dossier Commission and became publicly accessible.

Plevneliev is the first Bulgarian President to host an iftar dinner and to unite the representatives of all religious communities in the country. 

The first Bulgarian President who had to deal with a terrorist act on native ground, an unprecedented migration flow, cyber-attacks against Bulgarian institutions and a record number of crises in the region and Europe, including strong confrontation between the EU and Russia.

Bulgarians, all around the world, have always been the center of his policy. It was for them that he initiated a national referendum for introducing electronic voting. President Plevneliev opened the doors of the Presidency for young people. Some 300 interns were part of his team in different stages.

President Plevneliev is not a member of any political party and he has remained independent throughout his term of office acting in accordance with his conscience.

He played a decisive role in helping Bulgaria go through hardships in a respectable way. In the framework of his term of office, during the three parliamentary crises he held for months the whole power in his hands. He accelerated the democratic transformation and upgraded the democratic institutions.

He received large international recognition and has been awarded the highest state orders and awards of twenty states. A record number of foreign heads of state – 25 – visited Bulgaria during the last year of his term of office.

Plevneliev was elected Bulgarian politician of the year in 2011 and 2012.

He is bearer of the European personality of the year in Southeastern and Central Europe award in 2015, which was given to him for his enormous contribution to stabilizing and improving the relations between the European states and particularly those among the Balkan neighbors.

He was presented the Person of the Year 2015 award of Ukraine for his public and political activity in a European and international context.

He was awarded the international Nizami Ganjavi Award on account of his contribution to intercultural understanding, tolerance and respect for the world's cultural diversity.

He was awarded the prestigious "ERI prix" Award of the Province of Lower Austria and the Danube University Krems for his contribution to preserving the diversity and equality of the regions on the path to united Europe.

He was awarded the Annual Prize for Pro-European Policy in Bulgaria for 2015, founded by TV Evropa.

He was awarded Friend of Zion Award for as a great friend of Israel and for the courage of the Bulgarian people who bravely and courageously saved 48,000 Bulgarian Jews during World War II.

Ne was awarded IT Award for significant contribution to IT development by the Bulgarian Association of Information Technologies (BAIT).

Awarded the highest state order Grand Cross Special Class of the Order of Merit of the Federal Republic of Germany for the development of bilateral relations.

Awarded the highest Italian state order Knight Grand Cross with Collar of the Order of Merit of the Italian Republic for his contribution to the deepening and development of the bilateral relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Italian Republic.

Awarded the highest state order of the Republic of Austria – the Grand Star of the Decoration for Services, for his contribution to the development of the bilateral relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Austria.

Awarded the highest state order of Hungary - “Grand Cross of the Hungarian Order of Merit with Chain and Gold Star”.

Awarded the highest state order of Brazil - the highest degree of the Order of the South Cruiser, for his contribution to the development of the friendly relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Federative Republic of Brazil.

Awarded the highest state order of the Republic of Poland – the Order of the White Eagle, for the Head of State’s contribution to the active bilateral dialogue and the development of the partnership between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Poland.

Bearer of the highest state order of Romania – Order of the Star of Romania, for his contribution for development of democracy, regional prosperity and security and for boosting the cooperation and friendship between Bulgaria and Romania.

Bearer of the highest state order of Ukraine – "1st class of the "Grand Prince Yaroslav the Wise" Order.

Bearer of the highest state order of Slovakia - the 1st Class of the Order of the White Double Cross of the Republic of Slovakia for his contribution to the development of the relations with the Republic of Slovakia and for strengthening the country’s positions in international relations.

Bearer of the highest state order of the Republic of Greece – the Grand Cross of the Order of the Redeemer. 

Bearer of the highest state order of Cyprus - Grand Collar of the Order of Makarios III, for his contribution to the establishment of excellent relations between the Republic of Bulgaria and the Republic of Cyprus and for strengthening and further developing them.

Awarded Slovenia's highest state honor, the Order for Exceptional Merits, for his contribution to the peaceful, democratic and European development of the countries in the region and as a recognition of his efforts for strengthening the cooperation between Bulgaria and Slovenia.

Awarded with the highest state order of the Republic of Croatia, the Grand Order of King Tomislav with Sash and Great Morning Star for his efforts for establishing deep and comprehensive bilateral relations between the two countries and for the democratic development in the region. 

Awarded the highest state order of Montenegro, Order of Montenegro with ribbon, for his continuous support for the integration of Montenegro in the EU and NATO.

Awarded the highest state order of the Republic of Moldova, the Order of the Republic.

Awarded the highest state order of Malta, the Companion of Honors of Malta's National Order of Merit.

Awarded the Medal of the National Flag of the Albanian Republic for his contribution to the development of friendly relations between the peoples of Bulgaria and Albania.

Awarded the highest state order of Lower Austria – the Golden Commander's Cross with the Star of Honors for Services to the Federal Province of Lower Austria.

Awarded the Star to the Cross of St. Leopold order of the Klosterneuburg monastery in Austria. 

Bearer of the Sao Paolo Order for contributions to the development of industry on an international scale.

Doctor Honoris Causa of the Sungkyunkwan University in Seoul, the Republic of Korea.

Doctor Honoris Causa of the University of Macedonia in Thessaloniki, the Republic of Greece.

Doctor Honoris Causa of the Baku State University, Azerbaijan.

Honorable Chairman of the FOZ Museum in Israel.

Member of Nizami Ganjavi International Center in Baku.

​Member of the Trilateral Commission.

Member of the European Council on Foreign Relations.

Fluent in German, English and Russian. Married, with three children.

Hobbies: reading, skiing, swimming, tennis, cycling, diving and more.