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Bulgaria Leaps Nine Spots In Annual Survey Of World's Best Countries

The Aleksandr Nevsky Cathedral in Bulgaria’s capital, Sofia

Bulgaria has moved up to 58th among 73 nations in a yearly survey of the world's best countries commissioned by U.S. News & World Report magazine.

Based on 65 attributes relevant to the success of a nation assessed by more than 20,000 people around the globe, the survey found that Bulgaria scored highest in quality of life and citizenship.

Last year, Bulgaria ranked 67th.

Nearly 17 percent of the ranking’s weight went toward the extent to which a nation cares about human rights, gender equality, and the environment. Here, Bulgaria earned 36 points.

The Balkan nation performed best in the extent to which a job market is robust and life is affordable and family-friendly, scoring 35 points.

“Located in the southeastern corner of the Balkans, Bulgaria sits at the junction of Europe and Asia,” the report summarized. “Its location has made it susceptible to invasions in the past, but it also has provided a rich culture -- the country is the birthplace of the Cyrillic script.”

Other Balkan nations in the ranking include Greece (27), Turkey (35), Croatia (44), Romania (54), and Serbia (72).

Switzerland ranked first, followed by Canada and Japan. Russia ranked 23rd, Azerbaijan 61st, Kazakhstan 66th, Ukraine 68th, and Belarus 70th.

The United states placed seventh, bolstered by the perception that it is the most powerful country in the world. Though it scored highly for its entrepreneurship and cultural influence, the United States suffered from the sharpest drop in global trust since 2016.

“In 2016 the country elected Donald Trump president,” the report stated. “Trump's rhetoric and stances on issues including immigration and foreign trade have raised questions around the world, including from the country’s closest allies, about the nation’s future course on the global stage.”

The model used to score and rank countries was developed by brand strategy consultancy BAV Group and the University of Pennsylvania.

Explaining the report's methodology, the magazine wrote: “The 2020 Best Countries report and rankings are based on how global perception define countries in terms of a number of qualitative characteristics, impressions that have the potential to drive trade, travel and investment, and directly affect national economies.”

Meanwhile, the International Monetary Fund said that Bulgaria is on track to adopt the euro currency by 2023.

The country’s plans to adopt the currency by that year are “completely foreseeable,” IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva told Radio Bulgaria on January 26.

Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since 2007. Nineteen of the bloc’s 28 countries are in the eurozone.

“My expectations are that the plans for Bulgaria’s eurozone entry will happen exactly as made,” Georgieva said.

With reporting by Reuters and Radio Bulgaria
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