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EU Membership Comes along with Cheaper Goods and Bankruptcies

Date: 19.09.2006

Prices of many foods will go down, but we may well forget their authentic Bulgarian taste. Young people's incomes will shoot up, pensions creep upwards. Store shelves will be more abundant after the EU folds in Bulgaria, but many of the traditional tasty Bulgarian foods will disappear.

The greatest concern of the Bulgarians on the threshold of Europe is prices' dynamics. Paradoxiacally as it may seem, it is highly probable that on the whole prices in Bulgaria will go down. Many of the foodstuffs are cheaper in the EU than in Bulgaria. This, however, may cause certain difficulties to the Bulgarian producers to whom the competition would be tough. It is a pity but tasty Bulgarian pork will face a stiff competition of exported duty free chops and sausages from EU. Those who opt for savory authentic Bulgarian pork will have to buy it in "Butchers boutiques."

Thre is also a tangible risk that Bulgaria will be swept by a flow of cheap and low-quality Europe-made foods. It's common knowledge that price is a major criterion for the Bulgarian consumer. In Europe they manage to manufacture certain foodstuffs at amazingly low prices. Albeit safe (as food processing control is very strict) they are qualified as junk food.

The same applies to the fruit and vegetables market. Almost everything that is now produced in EU sells at lower prices compared with Bulgaria at the height of season. However, their taste is appalling to the Bulgarian palate. Fruit and vegetables in Europe usually look gorgeous, but one doesn't buy them to paint still life after all.

Another serious risk is uncontrolled profiteering. Retailers will sure raise prices. Either just to be on the safe side or to "celebrate the membership."

There's no direct link between membership and incomes. Nevertheless the indirect effect is not to be underestimated. The upward tendency that has become noticeable recently will get an additional impetus. Higher credit rate among investors will result in reinvigoration of economy, lower unemployment and reverse the flow of people who seek jobs abroad. Naturally market mechanisms are the driving force of all these processes.

Thre is one more favorable process - EU funds will contribute to the improvement of infrastructure and pour money into the underdeveloped regions, which, at the same time, will create many new jobs. All this will be especially beneficial for young active people. To them the increase of incomes will be really substantial, as now they are much lower compared with Europe.

Borders and border control will remain with the only difference that Bulgarians will be able to pass through "EU members" corridor at checkpoints. Barriers will be lifted only after Bulgaria meets all criteria set for the Schengen zone. It is expected that our country will manage to overcome these difficult problems in 6-7 years.

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