Bulgaria has been so mired in political strife since its June elections that little effort has been made to lure American dollars. Sofia suspended payment of both principal and interest on its $11-billion foreign debt in March, giving the West good reason to be skeptical of the prospects for investment there.
Perhaps the most bitter disappointment is felt among Romanian officials, who have been battling for five months to recover from a deep, self-inflicted wound to their national image.
Western loan guarantees and credits have been denied the Bucharest government in punishment for President Ion Iliescu's summoning of unruly miners to quell anti-government unrest in June.
Prime Minister Petre Roman said he understood the reasons for U.S. sanctions and deemed them "well-grounded in the light of their experience." But not all traces of dictatorship can be erased in a few short months, he argued, calling on the West to show "the greatest acceptance of the Romanian reality."
Other government officials expressed less understanding, some visibly resentful of the virtual boycott imposed since the rioting and vigilante rampage that killed six.
"We are tired of having to present our fingernails for inspection, to see if we are clean enough yet," government spokesman Baltazar Bogdan said acidly. "Without the support and sympathy of the Western world, we won't make it."
Economics Minister Eugen Dijmarescu complained that Romania has been made to "stand in the corner" long enough, and ought to be let out soon if there is any hope of salvaging the economy.