Corruption is widespread and deeply rooted. In 2013, Bulgaria was ranked as the 77th of 177 countries. Its CPI has stagnated at 41 points. Citizens pointed out (via GCB 2013) at judiciary as the most corrupt field, followed by health care services, political parties and legislative bodies. But beneath those visible manifestations, there is a much more dangerous and persistent layer, a sort of informal unholy alliance, by political-corporate oligarchy, corrupt political elites and traditional media, poised to keep the state captured, protect corruption practices and trade influence. Not to mention the presence of organized crime and the increased influence of foreign authoritarian regimes and their quasi-companies. Political corruption distorts the process of decentralization, whereby
mayors loyal to central government use to receive most of the money from the regional development funds (e.g. in 2014, estimated 90-133 BGN p/c against ca. 15 BGN p/c in opposition-led municipalities). Bulgaria`s accession to the EU was to a degree politically driven. Same as to Romanian, EU has struggled hard to offer incentives to Bulgarian authorities to reform themselves. One of the ways is the so called “Cooperation and Verification Mechanism”, whereby the annual progress has been monitored in the fields of reforming judiciary, promoting integrity and combating corruption and organized crime. In the last report on Bulgaria, as of January 2014, the EC warned that widespread corruption had serious impact on the willingness of businesses to invest in the country. Business community has been losing the last traces of trust in the neutrality of public procurement. Instead of targeting irregularities in the public sector, the Conflict of Interest Commission itself was politically influenced. Various well-meant anti-corruption projects failed. Above all there is a lack of successful pursuit of high level corruption cases. Civil society tries hard, but to a meager avail, to reverse the recent involution trends. Instead of corrupt and compromised traditional media, NGOs and new civic initiatives use blogs and new online social networks to offer alternative information and press politicians for more accountability.