Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev (L) and Romanian President Klaus Iohannis both face the challenges of guiding their nations between the European migration crisis and the Ukraine-Russia standoff.
(DANIEL MIHAILESCU/AFP/Getty Images)
Romania and Bulgaria have a long history of being influenced by their larger, more powerful neighboring countries. Located in the southeast corner of Europe in the Balkan region, Romania was once dominated by the Austro-Hungarian Empire, while Bulgaria was ruled over by the Ottomans. During the Cold War, both countries were absorbed as satellite states by the Soviet Union. When the Soviet Union collapsed, Romania and Bulgaria adopted a pro-West path, joining the European Union and NATO in 2007.
It is no surprise, then, that both countries are once again caught in the middle of conflicts and crises between these powers, mainly the refugee crisis between Europe and Turkey and the Ukrainian conflict between Russia and the West. Romania and Bulgaria will make efforts to assert their interests in these developing situations, but as in the past, will react to rather than shape the outcomes....