Euronews' EU Road Trip has reached Bulgaria on its mission to discover the hopes and fears of European voters ahead of May's EU parliamentary elections.
Plovdiv, the second-largest city in Bulgaria, is 2019's joint European Capital of Culture along with Matera in Italy. Many young people have volunteered to work in the Capital of Culture programme of events and seem to be very optimistic about Bulgaria's future.
One of the volunteers, 22-year-old Todor Anastasov, believes options are opening up for people like him: "I believe that my future as a Bulgarian is only going to get better and better, because now we have even more choices, we have more power to change things that we want.
"Many people in Bulgaria think of leaving the country and many do, actually. But I really love the country and I don’ t really want to leave it.
"I believe that the European elections are a very important moment for Europe, because it gives us a chance to improve things or change them in some way. I am definitely going to vote and I am going to encourage all my friends to vote as well."
Hristo Andreev, 24, also says being European is very important to him: "It means not only caring about your own society, but basically to be a citizen of the world and to not just care about your own local problems, but also other societies."
Elena Papadopova, project leader for Plovdiv 2019, said everyone is welcome to take part in the Capital of Culture events. She said: "We are doing everything for the Aylak Parade on May 4, which is part of the programme for Plovdiv 2019, Cultural Capital of Europe. We are making big puppets, doing masks and holding open workshops for anybody who wants to come and join us."
Despite living in a comparatively poor EU nation, the Road Trip team found that young Bulgarians in Plovdiv showed remarkable optimism about their future – which they see as firmly anchored in the EU, while also rooted in their unique cultural heritage.