EU bashing is usually associated with nationalists like the UK's Nigel Farage and his Brexit Party, Marine Le Pen's National Rally in France or East European populists of the type of Hungary's Victor Orban. Not in Bulgaria where yet another downer year has passed for those genuinely willing to see the EU member state curb graft and finally appoint people with the moral integrity to high office.
While the ruling populist GERB party has been demonstrating its love of the EU (and its funds), EU-scepticism has become an increasingly frequent feature of the more liberal parts of Bulgarian society that used to push for reforms. Now they feel abandoned by the EU after Brussels once again propped up the government despite its many failings.
The last straw was the European Commission's October announcement of the end of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism (CVM), the process of monitoring Bulgaria's judicial system and fight against corruption. Although the CVM was ineffective (there is hardly a systemic change in Bulgaria's judiciary), it at least kept some pressure on Sofia. More importantly, it reminded the Bulgarian authorities that their phoney efforts to fight corruption at the highest levels of government and political interference in courts and the state prosecution were not going unnoticed.
The outgoing Prosecutor-General Sotir Tsatsarov handpicked his successor Ivan Geshev is known for his abrasive character and light touch to everything that concerns those in power. Then GERB proposed Mr Tsatsarov to head the anti-corruption commission, probably to make up for his missing track record in prosecuting high-level graft. Just like the reshuffles between Vladimir Putin and Dmitry Medvedev, the Geshev-Tsatsarov tandem will make sure that alternatives to those in power are stifled before birth.
In November, the official visit of Prime Minister Boyko Borissov to the White House, a US stamp of support, shocked so-called traditional right-wing voters in Bulgaria.
"We are like the Kurds, left behind by both the EU and the US," a popular meme goes these days (quite insensitive to the plight of the Kurds). But probably they should rather reread the stories about Baron Munchausen who, instead of complaining, pulled himself out of a mire by his own hair.