BULGARIA ECONOMY

coming in from the cold

COMING IN FROM THE COLD

Bulgaria has entered the EU after 17 years of economic transition on the thorny way to market economy and Western values. Unrivalled celebrations, lavishly organised by the government, spread the "spirit of Europe" across the country. The new European millennium for Bulgaria started at the beginning of 2007. Mr Balkanski, dressed up in a tailored three-piece pinstripe suit, met old Madam Europe and seduced her with his charms and promises over a bowl of tripe soup and home-brewed rakiya.

Mon, 01/01/2007 - 12:00
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THE HEAT IS ON

Only yesterday, in a rare moment of revelation, did I discover the secret of the central heating system in Sofia: if you want to stay warm in winter, you don't switch it off. Ever. Forget about the hefty bills and crank it up!

Just as in the good old days, before the advance of heating meters and evil companies who read them, heating had one mode, and it was "ON". All winter, no matter how cold or warm it was, the heating was ON - and it was affordable.

Fri, 12/01/2006 - 14:51
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MASTER AND SLAVE

The Russian company AtomStroyExport has won the tender to design, construct and commission Bulgaria's Belene Nuclear Power Plant. A month away from being a member of the EU, and only days after the release of the new European Green Book for Energy that calls for the diversification and security of supply, Bulgaria is increasing its energy dependence on Russia - a very delicate issue for the EU.

Fri, 12/01/2006 - 14:38
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PROPERTY: TRICKS OF THE COWBOY TRADE

If you're planning a new build or a renovation, you need to choose your builder carefully. Hiring a cowboy, or rogue, builder who promises to do a job that they have neither the intention nor the ability to do well will make the project one big headache.

Bulgaria has plenty of reputable tradesmen, expats and Bulgarians alike, but along with the good come the bad, so make sure you can see them coming...

The personal touch
The cowboy builder will often use friends and family to plug their services.

Wed, 11/01/2006 - 10:21
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APPROACH WITH CAUTION

"Knowledge is power", Sir Francis Bacon once stated, admittedly without Bulgaria in mind at the time, although anyone buying a property will no doubt agree with him.

Like any country, Bulgaria has its share of dodgy characters looking to profit from naivety. Whether this is simply by charging outrageous prices for property or services, or via shadier methods, your personal and financial savvy will be invaluable.

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 17:00
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BUBBLE TROUBLE

An intriguing fact appeared in The Guinness Book of Records 2004. Bulgaria featured as the country with the fastest rising real estate prices in the world, with an annual rate of increase of 47 percent. Some believed that it was just a one-day wonder, a bubble which would burst very soon. Others, who knew better, rushed to buy real estate properties in Bulgaria. In 2006 "the bubble" is growing bigger and bigger. Some Western European experts have even compared the developments in the Bulgarian market to the early days of the Spanish property boom in the 1980s.

Sun, 10/01/2006 - 16:53
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WINTER RESORTS

"Would I be happy about buying a holiday home right next to a ski run if I couldn't use it?" This is the question that people who want to invest in the top three Bulgarian winter resorts of Bansko, Borovets and Pamporovo, are asking. Not that the ski runs in these resorts are bad, they are just as good as those in the Alps. The problem is that soon they are likely to be insufficient to meet the needs of the increased volume of tourists wanting to use them. For example, the ski runs in Bansko were planned and constructed to accommodate about 5,500 skiers at a time.

Thu, 06/29/2006 - 11:12
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