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Once again, it has become clear that Bulgaria shall not be joining the Schengen agreement for some time, mostly due to the distrust in the work of our institutions and their ability to effectively guard the outer border of the visa-free area. Apart from the deeper European integration and the further inclusion to the “rich country club,” the accession to the Schengen Area could provide a couple of specific benefits to the Bulgarian economy.

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Bulgaria had its autumn of discontent. The mass protests proclaimed as a crusade against corruption and state capture have failed, while the prospects for reform of the oligarchic model from within are bleak at best. Hence, Bulgarians are looking at a winter of stagnation and political blockage.