Romania and Bulgaria ten years in the EU
When Bulgaria and Romania joined the EU on 1 January 2007 people celebrated on the streets. In the ten years that have passed since then, however, many citizens have become disillusioned because EU membership hasn't brought the positive changes they had hoped for. Journalists in both countries nonetheless assess the move as positive overall.
Romania does not need to hide
Romania should be proud of its ten years of EU membership, România Liberă stresses:
“It's true that we are on Europe's external border, and not just geographically. In many respects we lead a marginalised existence. We are still suffering from the terrible disease in our past: communism. … Our accession to the EU strengthened the social transformation of December 1989. We have had to learn how to deal with the freedom we regained back then - but this isn't something that can be done from one day to the next. The old points of reference ceased to exist, people had to make peace with the past and come to terms with it at the same time, and then there was the challenge of effective self-management of the citizens in a democratic state. These are all lengthy processes. … EU membership has helped us to make the transition from the evils of communism to democracy. We demanded EU membership in order to prove that we could do things differently. The fact that we were allowed to join shows that the EU believed in us. Congratulations!”
Bulgarians have much to thank the EU for
The flow of money from the EU has greatly improved the living standards of the Bulgarians since 2007, writes Standart approvingly:
“With the exception of the crisis years 2008 and 2009, Bulgaria has experienced uninterrupted economic growth since joining the EU and a continuous rise in foreign investment and living standards. Let’s look back at what we were earning ten years ago and compare it with what we earn now. We certainly have the EU fund to thank for this outcome. In the last ten years, billions of euros from the EU cohesion fund have flowed into the Bulgarian economy. Yes, a large part of the population is still very poor, and many Bulgarians still feel disadvantaged and have the feeling that they can’t afford many things. But that's because they compare themselves with the wealthy EU countries. The truth is that Bulgaria has developed enormously since its EU accession. ”