Bulgaria is the worst corrupted EU-member, behind the otherwise comparable Hungary, Romania, Greece or Croatia, so much so that it is among major obstacles to its accession to Schengen Area and the anticipated rapid economic development. Transparency International ranked it 71-73/180 in its CPI 2017 report – a bit better than in 2016. The corruptive environment stimulates the growth of the grey market in Bulgaria, which is the largest in the EU and accounts to nearly 30% of the GDP. State capture by the informal alliance of political and business oligarchy, organized crime, only partially reformed secret services, and biased media, has remained as the main catalyst of corruption. Thereby, foreign, non-EU influences are also non-neglect. In January 2018, a new law went into force,
combining provisions on anti-graft and on prevention of conflict of interest. In March 2018, new law against money laundering was carried. Earlier, in October 2017, a new Law on Public Administration was adopted, inter alia standardizing internal inspections in the administration. Frank implementation of all those, throughout the government structure and public administration, itself having had been so often missing in the past, will be a crucial factor for would-be improvements. As a part of the government anti-corruption efforts, a specialized anti-corruption body was established to investigate high level corruption. With its president appointed by the national parliament, however, its true independence from established political elites is put into question. Atop all those, fighting the widespread petty corruption remains a giant task.