Bulgaria, Romania 'Not Closing In on Rest of EU'
Bulgaria's environment has deteriorated in terms of democracy and governance over the past year, lagging behind Romania and remaining last in the EU, an annual index comparing EU members and accession countries shows.
A report prepared with the Catch Up Index also reads that "The EU10+1 countries [all that joined after 2004, Croatia included], with the exception of Romania and Bulgaria, are better off and closing in on the rest of the EU."
The Southeastern European country as an overall score of 34, after Romania (36), Greece (38) and Croatia (41) and ranking 29th (Iceland is also included in the index and is placed 8th). The the first three countries, Luxembourg, Sweden and Denmark, have 71 points each.
After Bulgaria are Montenegro (32), Serbia (27), Macedonia (27), Turkey (25), Albania (21), and Bosnia-Herzegovina (20), Iceland being the only potential candidate that is not at the bottom of the table.
Its slump in press freedom and corruption rankings makes it lead only on the Western Balkan countries and Turkey.
The Catch Up Index, prepared by the European Policies Initiative and the Open Society Institute Sofia, "aims to answer the question: are the ten "new", post-communist member states of the EU - the EU10 - catching up with the "old", "Western" EU members?"
Measuring levels of convergence or divergence in four categories (Economy, Quality of Life, Democracy and Governance), it also shows results of potential candidate countries.
Studying the 35 countries it covers, it looks focuses on wealth, economic and financial development, social and health issues, strength of democracy, governance, rule of law, corruption and crime levels.
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