Bulgaria joins the EU!

That's right: on January 1st, 2007 Bulgaria along with Romania entered the bureaucratic quagmire that is the European Union. But citizens on both sides are hopeful. First, Bulgarian accession will add a further 7.5 million consumers to the EU internal market. This bodes well for Bulgaria's massive textile industry as well, as it will be even easier to export the vast amounts of clothing manufactured in the country. In fact, most concerns and hopes alike about EU entry have to do with one thing: money.

But tourists have no fear, at least not yet. As witnessed with the ten states which joined in May 2004, entry into the EU does not mean that prices will skyrocket automatically, though within a few years Bulgaria will definitely not be the bargain destination it has been since before 2007. However, for real estate gurus, the time is the ripest right now: count on property values to skyrocket within the year, as foreign investors swarm to buy up every inch of Sofia's Old Town while it's cheap (which won't be for much longer). If cities like Krakow and Prague are any indication, EU expansion is definitely a mixed bag: increased tourism means rising prices means rising wages means rising prices means rising property value means rising gap between rich and poor. But so it goes.


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