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Why Some Bulgarians Are Unhappy You’re Moving To Live In Bulgaria

It’s so easy to get caught up in hype isn’t it?  When the Bulgarian property market first became a popular topic of conversation in the media at least three to four years prior to the nation’s EU entry, a frenzy of interest was whipped up because all of a sudden, here was this stunningly beautiful, lesser explored, highly affordable nation practically on our doorstep, and thanks to potential EU entry it was getting money spent on infrastructure and becoming more attractive all the time.

A strong tourism industry emerged, a booming property market flourished, expats relocated, businesses were created and then almost overnight the prices for everything seemingly went through the roof and anti-British sentiment was born.  If you want to know why some Bulgarians are unhappy that you’re moving to live in Bulgaria, just start with the cost of living.

In coastal areas and the thriving ski resorts of Bulgaria, the prices for everything from a meal for two to a night’s accommodation, a round of drinks or even a basic weekly shop in the supermarket is at least double that which you will pay in the rural interior of the country – and in fact, prices and costs are sometimes up to four times that which you would expect to pay away from the beaten track.  So how can Bulgarian people enjoy their own seaside resorts in the summertime when they are living on median Bulgarian wages?  How can they go for a winter holiday when they have been priced out of their own market?

Of course, there are those who will flippantly remark that this is the case in every nation in the world – the tourism resorts are over priced and not realistically affordable for the people of the given nation.  Fine.  But that doesn’t make it any better or any easier does it?  And it does result in resentment.

Added to this fact is the fact that the cost of living across the entire nation has risen.  From the price of a dozen eggs to the cost of basic building materials – inflation is pushing up prices.  A number of Bulgarians apparently feel that this is as a result of the more affluent British and international expatriates moving in.  In part they are right – in part, inflation has more to do with the fundamental basics of Bulgaria’s economy and the fact that it is now in the European Union.  Depending on which sources you choose to cite, reasons for inflation in Bulgaria include droughts and floods in 2007 which pushed up food prices, a strong Euro versus a weaker local currency, labour market contraction and advancing salaries and a higher than desirable current account deficit.

However, it is true that where trades persons and manufacturers think they can charge more for their commodities and wares, they will.  And they can charge more to incomers from countries such as the UK and Ireland because the prices still appear cheap to these people who are used to dealing with far higher costs of living.  So on the ground and day to day, these are the factors that Bulgarians witness and face and which can drive their opinion.

It is however not simply the case that British expats are pushing up prices in Bulgaria – but they aren’t helping matters – and Bulgarians who are suffering from an inflated cost of living can turn their negative focus on new arrivals.  There are a number of threads on forums relating to this if you don’t believe that we are accurately presenting the viewpoint shared by some local people.

Another reason why some Bulgarian may be unhappy that you’re now living in Bulgaria is because the nation is more attractive to people of a working age than retirement age and these people are taking employment or starting their own businesses and thereby profiting from a country which is not their own.  But then we Brits make the same complaint about other EU nationals who come to our country!  Wouldn’t it be oh so simple and straightforward if we could all embrace some of the underlying factors that saw the creation of the European Union in the first place such as understanding our common bonds that unite us and wanting to work together in partnership?  But then, life ain’t so simple...and the real fact of the matter is, the vast majority of Bulgarians you meet will be welcoming and happy to have you in their nation as long as you respect their country and their way of life - which is more than fair enough.