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Thanks, naneva, for this post.

How much international coverage did the death of Dotkora receive? I know several people in school were discussing it heatedly. Indeed, Bulgaria seems to be undergoing its Jazz Age. It seems some disagree the EU is the best thing for us and they are showing it as clearly as they can.

Gees, a year ago one of the big mafia bosses was shot dead at 1pm right in front of our university in the center of the town of Blagoevgrad, in southern Bulgaria! He was said to have been the biggest shark in the region. The amazing thing was that although for hours after he was shot people were crowding around the scene, a few days later everybody seemed to have forgotten about it. People and the local paper no longer mentioned it.

Most of the crowd members, i remember, said they weren't worried about their security because it's them big bosses that get killed like this - us poor people, who's gonna touch us and what for? Most of the people in the crowd also said that it served him right to die like this. So I guess the scenario with Doktora and all the other mafia bosses that got killed has been the same. The public seems to be immune despite all the coverage, most of it sensational.

But yes, the gist of the matter is: how ready are we to join the EU? But if it's not 2007, then 2008 is a sure thing.

by Brownie on Sun Mar 5th, 2006 at 03:45:30 AM EST
Thank you, Brownie, for this comment. It is true that dealing with organised crime requires much more work than what is being done at the moment.  

You say at the end, that if Bulgaria does not join in 2007, then in 2008 we are in for sure. True.

And what is the big issue then?! I believe that it is time that we started looking at it from a somewhat different perspective. Whether we join next year or a year later will show how much reforms have progressed, how much work has been done. And as soon as reforms start working (just one example: the public administration reform - all this bureaucracy), life will supposedly get better. As soon as we join, companies will feel even more free to invest in the region. And even if we join in 2008, and the work has not been done yet, then other safeguard clauses come into place, which may preclude us from taking the full benefits of membership. And one last thing, when serious issues are addressed and dealt with, Bulgaria itself will also be able to give more to the Union.

-- Fighting my own apathy..

by Naneva (mnaneva at gmail dot com) on Sun Mar 5th, 2006 at 04:17:33 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Naneva, I want to address one more problem, related to Bulgaria's accession to the Union.There are people in Bulgaria who are not convinced that we should join the EU. They are too afraid that this accession will have negative consequences on the standard of living.As soon as the Euro becomes our official currency, all the prices will be changed from "leva" to "euro". For example, what has cost 1 lev, will cost 1 Euro. However, at the same time the salaries will not be directly translated into Euros. Rather, someone who has received 500 leva, will get 250 Euro. Thus, in the beginning Bulgaria will face serious challenges in the social sphere, and if the economy cannot sustain a decent standard of life, then probably this accession has to be delayed. All these concerns are related to this Euro scepticism and, I should say, some of them are not so pointless.
If we are to join the EU, we should not only be ready, but we should want it as well. As long as, there are Euro sceptics among the Bulgarian population, some of the necessary reforms cannot be carried out. Therefore, the question is not when Bulgaria will join the Union. Rather, we should ask ourselves when Bulgaria will be ready to address the challenges, related to its accession. And if we want to address them successfully,Bulgarians should truly believe in the benefits of this accession, so that the reforms will be carried out on time.
by hitchhiker on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 07:15:12 AM EST
[ Parent ]
As soon as the Euro becomes our official currency, all the prices will be changed from "leva" to "euro". For example, what has cost 1 lev, will cost 1 Euro.
That is preposterous, as supposedly 1 EUR = 1.95 BGN. Can you provide some backing for that statement?

Also, Bulgaria will not automatically join the Euro. The latest 10 member states have not done so as they don't yet fulfill the necessary macroeconomic conditions, so how can Romania and Bulgaria join immediately?

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman

by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 07:21:53 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Migeru, a backing for my statement would be the case in Germany and Austria. There, as soon as the Euro became the official currency and replaced the Deutsche Marc and the Schilling, the prices in the cafes were just changed to Euros. So, something that cost 1 Marc or 1 Schilling, would cost 1 Euro!
I do not necessarily claim that this will happen in Bulgaria as well, but this is my presumption. It does not happen everywhere, but as you can see in the examples from Germany and Austria, it can happen.
Regarding your second remark, I do not expect that Bulgaria and Romania will join immediately the Union. Actually, if you have read my comment carefully, you can see that I do not think that Bulgaria has the necessary macroeconomic conditions. Rather, I think that neither the Bulgarian public, nor its politicians are ready for this accession and its consequences.
by hitchhiker on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 10:37:17 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Ok, I agree that the prices of small items will be inflated. In Spain what used to cost 100 pta would have gone to costing €0.60, and it did... but at the earliest opportunity prices tended to go up to €1. Large prices stayed the same, with all necessary rounding done up, obviously.

However, considering that it will take 5, maybe 10 years after accession for Bulgaria to be ready for the Euro, I find backing this

They are too afraid that this accession will have negative consequences on the standard of living.
with the possibility of price-gauging by unscrupulous vendors a little disingenuous. If accession will have a negative impact on the standard of living, it won't be because of the Euro.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 10:50:13 AM EST
[ Parent ]
Dear Migeru, certainly if the accession has a negative impact on the standard of living, it will not be only because of the Euro. Rather, I argue that with an unstable economy like the Bulgarian, the change of currency may lead to a difficult period.If Bulgaria has the necessary macroeconomic conditions,as you have suggested, the adoption of the Euro will not have a negative impact, especially in the long run. However, my argument is based on the conviction that the Bulgarian economy is not ready yet to sustain this change of currency.And even if only the prices of small items are turned directly into Euros, it may be a problem, at least in the short run.
by hitchhiker on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 12:14:36 PM EST
[ Parent ]
But the Euro won't be introduced for at least 10 years after accession, given the macroeconomic conditions. The Euro has nothing to do with whether or not accession is a good thing.

A society committed to the notion that government is always bad will have bad government. And it doesn't have to be that way. — Paul Krugman
by Migeru (migeru at eurotrib dot com) on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 12:31:05 PM EST
[ Parent ]
Footnote on this discussion: a way to stop the up-roundings was invented and just implemented by Slovenia: to force sellers to show prices in Euro and Tolar years before adopting the currency.

*Lunatic*, n.
One whose delusions are out of fashion.
by DoDo on Mon Mar 6th, 2006 at 07:04:55 PM EST
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