The article argues for the necessity of catch-up economic development in Bulgaria over the next years and decades. Characteristics of normal and accelerated catch-up development and their driving forces are given. 15 strengths on the verge of the EU accession, along with more than 40 weaknesses are identified and briefly characterized in economic terms. Some suggestions for future policies regarding most of the weaknesses are made. The article demonstrates that the weaknesses of the Bulgarian economy have been accumulated for many decades and that it is not dully prepared for proper EU accession. However, the article supports the accession and proves that there is no alternative to the EU accession and the catch-up development. Unrolling the two processes in parallel corresponds in the best way to Bulgarian vital national interests.