EurActiv - Letters to the Editor


Regarding Dr. Orlin Vushkov’s letter on Bulgaria and his bleak outlook of that country (‘Young people: Do not go back to Bulgaria!’)

I have never seen, on any subject, someone getting it so wrong. Let me go through this paragraph by paragraph and inject some facts into the proceedings.

1. “Bulgaria is a small country with almost no potential for healthy economic growth”

The facts: Bulgaria is one of the fastest-growing economies in the European Union. Economic growth in 2006 of 6.2%, 2007 5.7% and this years growth is forecast at 5.7%. This growth is exceptional when compared to other EU economies, especially given the global economic climate.

2. “Foreign investors are staying away”

Reality: Bulgaria is a major destination of Foreign Direct Investment. This is not due only to cheaper labour costs, a highly educated work force and Bulgaria’s strategic and geographic location are also major factors. Companies such as Microsoft, GlaxoSmithKline, SAP, AIB, Monsanto and innumerable others are operating in Bulgaria. Also there is major investment from overseas in property and tourist numbers are booming.

3. “All EU countries impose restrictions on Bulgarians”

Fact: The UK and Republic of Ireland are the only countries with work bans on Bulgarian nationals. A stupid and unnecessary measure, but it exists all the same. To state that this applies to all EU countries is mere fantasy.

4. “It is more worthwhile to go to Africa than return to Bulgaria”

Africa is a continent, not a country. This is a very wide, sweeping statement and I am not sure if this is meant as an insult to Africans or Bulgarians or both. On the whole, Bulgaria is now in a position that the majority of African countries can only dream of.

Dr. Vushkov (MBA), to give his full title, seems to me a bitter and disappointed individual. I would respectfully suggest that unless he has an informed opinion to put across he would kindly keep his twisted opinions to himself.

5. “The EU failed in Bulgaria”

THe EU is only getting started in Bulgaria and the change and progress it will affect will be considerable. Many countries have joined the EU in worse positions than Bulgaria – look at Ireland when they joined in 1973 after two unsuccessful attempts. Terrorism , corruption and organised crime were rampant.

I am Irish and work a lot in Bulgaria. It is a terrific place to work and hard work and effort is rewarded. It is very similar to Ireland in the early 1990s when our boom started. Back then we also had our share of naysayers, but I have never encountered someone who vilifies their own country in such a manner. If you are not part of the solution you are part of the problem.

My advice to young people would be to go to Bulgaria, bring home your ideas and your skills and become part of the major economic boom that is currently underway. It will not be easy and effort and persistence is required. But do not simply sit on the sidelines and complain – get involved and play a part in your economy.

I would also seriously advise any young Bulgarians not to listen to the simplistic ideals of Dr. Vushkov. This person has obviously not done any research on the matter but feels he can preach on the subject, a poor course of action for such an educated individual.

Colin Hanley


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  1. Maybe Dr Vushkov gave himself satisfied with elaborating on his own personal experience, which apparently was all but successful and got him embittered enough, and inferring that it was representative of the reality of all high-skilled expat workers returning to Bulgaria – considering his own personal experience to be enough scientific research?

    At least useful to warn us that no one is immune to that kind of mistake…

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