Bulgaria is doubling down on organised crime and corruption, but the problem could embarrass the government during its EU Presidency.
Reinstatement of the monarchy an even more distant prospect after the death of popular King Mihai, who took Romania out of its wartime alliance with Nazi Germany.
The leu was born and has existed so far in a very challenging environment characterised by high corruption and soaring foreign debt.
Bucharest and Sofia aim to use EU presidencies to argue against core vs periphery proposals that could sideline eastern member states and to call for a greater focus on unity.
Facing down allegations of rampant corruption tearing apart at the seams of his country, Bulgarian President Ruman Radev is pressing for radical action from the top down and has drafted a new anti-corruption law he calls a "scalpel" for the gangrene.