In this issue of KQ we ponder why eleven years of EU membership have not brought about the positive changes that most Bulgarians expected to take place. For example, despite considerable pressure from Brussels, improvements in Bulgaria's judicial system since the country joined the EU have been minuscule. The same can be said about Bulgaria's political system, which in many ways remains an embarrassment.
We present you a number of takes on why this is so in the dedicated section What's the Matter with Bulgaria, but other explanations can be found throughout the magazine. Read our piece on Bulgartabac to learn how the leading player in one of Bulgaria's most solid traditional industries failed due to politically arranged acquisition. Or, look at our portrait of Plamen Georgiev, Bulgaria's newly appointed anti-corruption czar. A man previously known for burying a criminal investigation against Prime Minister Boyko Borissov back in 2010, since then, he has made a stellar career. Now, despite his past, Mr Georgiev will be the person in charge of investigating the high-level corruption, thus providing an example of how the Bulgaria's political class uses the rhetoric of anti-corruption only to further entrench corrupt practices.
The focus of business news in this issue is on the departures from Bulgaria of large international companies like Czech CEZ and Norway's Telenor. Both companies are only the latest examples of a long list of foreign investors who have fled Bulgaria, in some case due to reduced profit opportunities, but in others due the country's discouraging business and political environments. As such companies depart from Bulgaria, their places are taken by local players with dubious credentials or speculators who with records of never investing in the long-term development of the companies they have have acquired.