You might not have noticed it when you were out walking your dog, but you were probably at a local pub when the Bulgarian government announced that the country was joining the European Union.
There were cheers, and a big bonfire was lit, and the mood was positive.
But there were also plenty of people, including many foreigners, who were disappointed by the announcement.
So what did Bulgaria get for its membership?
And why do so many Bulgarians have a problem with the EU?
It was the EU that sparked a wave of xenophobic violence against foreigners in the Balkans in the 1990s, according to former British diplomat Richard Scudamore, who wrote The Balkan Nightmare: Europe in Crisis.
The EU, Scudampore said, was a way for big business to move in and dictate the terms of what citizens were allowed to do in their own countries.
The result was a country that was seen as a safe haven for migrants and a breeding ground for the radicalisation of young people and a new breed of radicals who took up arms against the West.
“It was all part of a globalised, capitalist economy, and in that environment, it is no surprise that it was exploited by some people,” Scudumore told ABC Radio.
I don’t think we should be surprised by this.
And what about those young people who were radicalised, he said?
“They’re the ones who are radicalising the rest of us.
We need to get the hell out of there.” “
I don.t. believe in that.
We need to get the hell out of there.”
A few days later, in July 1996, the Bulgarian president, Boris Yeltsin, was assassinated.
His successor, Mikhail Gorbachev, was widely seen as having been largely responsible for the death of the former dictator.
But there were signs that things had changed, and by the time of the 2000 general election, Bulgarians had been campaigning for the EU to be re-elected.
At the time, Bulgarian leaders said that the EU would make the country a more open and multicultural society, a promise that came to be known as the “Bulgarian model”.
“I’m glad that our country has joined the EU.
It has given us more freedoms, better conditions for business and for people to live together and work in a society that is multicultural,” Bulgarian President Vsevolod Chubais told the BBC’s The World At One in 2003.
Bulgaria, then, had achieved a level of integration that Western nations had not seen in decades.
As the EU expanded in the early 1990s and Europe started to become more liberal, many people were unhappy.
There was also anger over the way in which some countries were being treated by the EU, which is the bloc’s largest trading partner.
It led to a spike in xenophobic incidents in the UK and the Netherlands, which had already experienced a wave in the mid-1990s, when more than 300,000 Muslims and migrants arrived on British shores.
In Bulgaria, the number of crimes against foreigners was much higher.
There was a large increase in the number and type of xenophobia incidents, according a 2003 report by the European Commission on Human Rights.
Even though Bulgaria has a large Muslim population, it was only in the 2000s that the authorities started cracking down on xenophobia, with the number in prison rising from just five in 2003 to 15 in 2006, according the Commission report.
One of the main reasons for the increase in xenophobia was that the number, type and severity of hate crimes rose.
In the UK, the police were not doing enough to deal with hate crime, the report said.
After the EU was established in 1999, a number of governments decided that it would be better for Bulgarians to live and work outside the EU if they were citizens.
Some in Bulgaria wanted to stay in the EU and work and benefit from it, but others wanted to leave.
Then in 2003, the EU opened its doors to all 27 member states.
Bulgaria became the only member state to stay out of the EU but the number who wanted to remain in it was increasing.
Now, in the 2015 general election campaign, the centre-right government is hoping that it can win back votes from people who felt left out of an otherwise successful campaign.
People were also angered by the way that the government had handled the migrant crisis.
Most people who came to Europe to work as migrants or as refugees, say the Bulgarian authorities, were given a one-year “permanent residence” visa and allowed to stay for four years.
The government has also been criticised for its handling of the Balkan wars in the former Yugoslavia, which killed an estimated 5,000 people.
Many people thought the EU did not care about the problems facing Bulgaria