Bulgaria’s Currency - Hardship and Suffering

Views on BG | April 12, 2013, Friday // 17:25| Views: | Comments: 14
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Bulgaria: Bulgaria’s Currency - Hardship and Suffering This winter street protests erupted in Bulgaria against the whole political elite and its friends in business. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency


One in five Bulgarians live in poverty earning less than the equivalent of 120 euros per month. One in three young Bulgarians can not find work while private companies have accumulated alarmingly high debts preventing growth.

Electricity bills have soared. There have been street protests across the country demonstrating against low incomes and corruption forcing the government to resign. In the last three months six people have died after setting themselves on fire in public.

Elections will be held next month. Can the new government bring hope back to the people? The country is financially stable but the bill is paid by the poorest of the poor, in a currency called hardship and daily suffering.

Reporter meets a family who have lost their father after he set himself on fire in front of the mayor of his local town. The program hears of the plight of two mothers who do not have enough money to pay their electricity bills.

Euronews reporter Hans von der Brelie interviewed social anthropologist Haralan Aleksandrov, professor at the New Bulgarian University in Sofia. The interview includes questions on the ongoing social and political crisis in the country, the mass demonstrations of early 2013 and the series of self immolations that have shocked the country.

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» To the forumComments (14)
George Zheliazkov - 18 Apr 2013 // 17:13:10

It’s all called “investments”, “free markets”, “capitalism” etc. but at the end of the day every government and country must protect and defend its economy, the interest and the well being of its citizens.
Here for example is how Canada does it.
(I personally advice the Bulgarian politicians to research extensively the above act)

mut - 18 Apr 2013 // 15:15:35

have you taken in to account that it is much easier to stael and not work to hard

George Zheliazkov - 17 Apr 2013 // 19:04:07

Yeah I don’t even know where to start and how much to say because of the huge complexity, options and varieties the free markets and the capitalism offer. Ivanko here has some very good observations and points but is being somewhat extremely harsh on the EU. EU is ok and it gives many options to Bulgaria, but Bulgaria should not only rely on or trade with the EU.
Yeah financial “manipulation”, price dumping, government subsidies etc. are all hurting the Bulgarian economy and market but most of it is done from private corporations which are competing to take over the market. Yes the small Bulgarian players and companies have no chance to compete and survive!
And that’s where comes the GOVERNMENT which has to play very flexible, versatile and balanced politics in order to stimulate local manufacturers and businesses and “protect” (that’s what China is doing very successfully and Russia is trying to some extent….. and many other countries) their existence from the almighty international rich corporations. It had to be done due to the political and market changes in the country. That’s why Bulgaria had to have very diverse and flexible trade with ALL of the global markets, emerging markets and countries and etc. and NOT only with the EU!
Otherwise as you can see the results by yourselves…. Everything for which Bulgaria was famous once before like farming, agriculture, manufacturing etc. is DESTROYED! The big foreign International-Multinational corporations took over the market (very often subsidized by governments) and destroyed the local competition.
Then again all of this because there was NO government all those 23 years of “democracy” and “freedom”. …..
Sadly enough now Bulgaria is practically hopeless and if anything can be done to improve the economy it will be a very long, painfull and complex process.

Ivanko - 16 Apr 2013 // 23:57:08

Dear Sofianits.

I give you 10 euro to produce me some tomatoes.
And then I give 100 euro to the Greeks to produce the same amount... Which ones will be the cheapest (even after transport)

It really is not that difficult.
And that the Turkish and Israeli get big favors from EU is no surprise is it.
For example tobacco, the ban it in the EU while Turkey subsidizes it very much and all tobacco is imported.

That is the way markets get out of the free market.
The ones not subsidizing disappear and become reliant form the others.
After that, many times from those countries there come 'investments', they buy the land and start producing. New farmers take over the old ones but all reliant and in power of EU.

That is the story of Eastern Europe and the EU. Germany is one of the biggest criminals in this. Do you really think Lidl and Kaufland are very profitable? But they will once the others have closed their doors.

Saying Bulgarians need to do it theirselves is true. But that is not possible in the EU! If they do not kiss the hands of their almighty rulers they can forget every business and money flows to other countries from where they can export it to here for a much cheaper price then producing it here. Does not matter what your leva is worth.

The EU is a very criminal organization, Bulgaria has only lost by joining them but they would even loose more if they did not join them because they would simply be destroyed.

But when there is a devaluation, now, when Bulgaria is relying on cheap imports to survive ... Bulgaria would die immediately.

Sofianits - 16 Apr 2013 // 19:41:26

Ivanko -
If all this is true, why is it that Bulgarian agricultural exports, (particularly vegetables and other similar exports, which were the lifeblood of the Bulgarian economy in the 1930's and ought to be today) are NON EXISTENT? I respectively suggest that it is the same reason, that when I go to the Sofia markets to buy vegetables, I find that they are produced in Israel, Turkey, even Greece! A preposterous situation. David Ricardo would turn over in his grave.

How can that be, if the value of imports to Bulgaria is not too cheap, and the value of exports too expensive?

I understand that that all this high level Monetary Economics and all these guys with the advanced degrees and publication lists that we all have had to confront in life is pretty mystifying, but, open your eyes. Look around. Recognize the obvious.

Richie - 16 Apr 2013 // 18:22:38

It's not the leva or the EU, but Bulgarians themselves that destroyed their country by playing the victim and waiting for help instead of taking initiative, use the opportunities that low costs, low taxes and the EU membership offers, and start competing with the rest of the world. If you don't use your talents, you loose.

Ivanko - 16 Apr 2013 // 14:09:06

Sofianits, you really are an idiot.

The EU destroyed agriculture, not the high leva.
And they were already doing that before Bulgaria joined the EU.
Effectively it seems.

Then when BG joined they got a fraction of subsidizations that for example Greece got. Even today the Greeks get more although that should be on his last legs and should be equalized the next years.

For the rest, a piece of land for farming is many many times cheaper in Bulgaria, labour costs and other many times lower.

I don't know if you ever go out of Sofia but the last 2-3 years with subsidizations going up you see brand new tractors everywhere. Amount of land being used increasing and prices going up.

A devaluation for the leva would be a bigger disaster then in the end nineties!!!

stannie - 16 Apr 2013 // 08:05:24

I cannot understand this, in Ruse also we have many Malls, their design and construction a tribute to those involved in their building BUT no shops hardly at all and what there are mainly consists of high end, unaffordable clothing, furniture,food or art lasting at the most a matter of months

Sofianits - 13 Apr 2013 // 17:21:01

Maybe you enjoy Bulgarian agriculture destroyed and its people unemployed by artificially high Leva value and cheap imports. I don't. Wake up to the truth.

Sofianits - 13 Apr 2013 // 17:17:46

You are correct. No one wants to face reality. That is the problem facing the people of Bulgaria. They should not elect a government that is not willing to face reality.
Truly, who ever survived in the end without facing reality? It is much easier for Bulgaria to do this than it is for Greece and Spain, and any new Bulgarian leadership should promise to do it. The least the people have to expect.

Richie - 13 Apr 2013 // 15:31:22

The problem is Bulgarians playing the victim role and waiting passively for some outside help, instead of taking the course of their lives in their own hands. See the interview with Aleksandrov here http://www.euronews.com/2013/04/12/bonus-interview-haralan-aleksandrov/

Ivanko - 13 Apr 2013 // 00:20:45

Labout cost in Bulgaria is as cheap as in China.

And then some idiots want to devalue even more while are the goods on the market are imported. Make the Bulgarians even poorer.

The problem is not the leva. The problem is the EU that has destroyed Bulgaria. The problem is/was Djankov who decided to destroy economy even more instead of building it.
The problem is Bulgaria needs to start producing and exporting instead of importing.

I can see the poor bulgarians cry after a devaluation. Even the wood they cut in their own woods will be sold to Greeks and even a warm kamina in winter will be taken from them.

Really smart people here. They love to play Titanic tunes.

ivor - 12 Apr 2013 // 22:03:52

The problem is that the currency peg has outlived its usefulness. Every country that is in crisis would love to devalue right now. Bulgaria is actually poorer than it seems. If the peg was removed there would be a nightmare social crisis - but no one wants to face that reality. Bulgaria will never adopt the euro - ERM waiting room of 2 years float free +- 15 % - a joke - the Leva would crash out of sight. Where are the reserves? Bright young people have left... even the soil is not as good as it was... The future looks bleak. Devalue now before its too late – re allign expectations – be the country of choice for inward investment in the EU and a great choice – encourage bright young people back from their menial jobs in N. Europe and build a great nation once again IMHO

Sofianits - 12 Apr 2013 // 17:46:57

The people are suffering enormously. Bulgaria's economy has been "hollowed out" by artificially cheap imports and disregard for access to export markets. These fact ought to be apparent to anybody.

Or do we need to build a few more unprofitable Malls in Sofia to make peple wake up to perfectly simple reality?

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