In 2017 it will be 10 years since Bulgaria joined the European Union. During this time the economy has improved, poverty has fallen and greater socio-political stability has been achieved. However, it is still the poorest country in the EU and the one with the highest known corruption rates.
According to the Centre for Democracy Studies (CDS), almost 30% of the Bulgarian population over the age of 18 admits to having tried to bribe a civil servant in 2014. The administration of justice, the management of European funds, even healthcare and road safety are common areas for backhanders and the exchange of favours, as condemned by different international media.
With a new president since January 2017 (the socialist Rumen Radev) and government elections in April, Bulgaria is faced with a new stage for its full integration to the European Union. This is because the country is not yet a member of the euro zone or of the Schengen area, according to which people can, theoretically, circulate freely in the 26 countries making it up.