Romania and Bulgaria trail way behind the rest of the European Union both politically and economically but the two countries report obvious progress with consistent help from EU funds, The Economist writes in a feature on the two new member states.

According to the publication, Romania and Bulgaria are now in a much worse situation than the group that joined the Union three years ago. It points to the GDP of Romania, which stood at 4,490 USD per capita in 2005, and of Bulgaria, which stood at 3,480 USD/capita, compared to an average above 9,000 USD in the countries that joined the EU in 2004.

The Economist names incomes, infrastructure, public services as some of the fields where Romania and Bulgaria are way below the East European average. The two countries also face serious work to improve their fight against corruption and their political culture, according to the publication.

It also notes the two countries have a completely different attitude towards Russia as „Bulgarians thanked Tsarist Russia for liberating them from the Ottomans, and many recall communist rule as a time of modernisation. To Romanians, Russia is a predator“.

It also quotes experienced managers in the two countries who say Romanians are more individualistic than their neighbors, while the Bulgarians have a problem with their lack of initiative.