Lagging rural regions pose a limitation to human development in Bulgaria, argues the National Human Development Report 2003 – “Rural Regions: Overcoming Development Disparities” . One third of all Bulgaria’s population lives in rural regions under conditions of more poverty, higher unemployment and poorer healthcare standards. What policies could improve life for those people? The report underlines the need for decentralizing government institutions and their policies and programmes. Bulgaria’s accession to the EU is regarded as a chance for the equitable development of rural regions.