Bulgaria’s six-month presidency of the European Council has come to a close.

The experience has been transformative for the country, Antoaneta Roussi reports.

‘In the presidency spotlight, Bulgaria became more visible to the EU.’

When Bulgaria joined the EU in 2007, many of the country’s citizens were filled with hope. After years of uncertainty and economic strife following the end of communism, the nation would finally be what its people always felt it was: European.

But EU membership came with downsides, such as being the poorest country in the bloc and remaining largely on the sidelines of EU decision-making. Bulgaria’s modest research and innovation capability also meant that many of its talented researchers left to work in the west.

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