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A Guide to Used Cars - Bulgaria

a strong second hand car marketBulgaria has a thriving used cars market, so much so that there is even a market for 20-year old Ladas. The strength of the market is partly attributable to the lax regulations regarding automobile safety and the Bulgarians desire to own their own vehicle, this coupled with the fact that the average income for a Bulgarian is less than 2,100 lv. has lead to a strong used car market - the majority of Bulgarians simply can’t afford new cars.

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The Cost of Living 2008 - facts and figures

Fill your trolley for less!If you are considering making Bulgaria your permanent home then it’s worth considering how much money you will need to set aside each month to cover the cost of food, drink and monthly bills.

Over the last year Bulgaria has experienced rising inflation, a common problem in developing markets. In fact between April 2007 and March 2008, the 12-month average rate of inflation was 9.4 per cent for consumer products with energy and food prices showing the highest increases overall. Having said this, government predictions put the inflation rate for the next year as significantly lower and at the end of the day Bulgaria is substantially cheaper to live in than the UK.

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Lada Car Sales

Long Live the LadaLada car sales - wherever you go in Bulgaria, you’ll see Ladas about amongst other types of car. The electric company have Lada Nivas, village dwellers pootle around the roads with trailers on the back of battered Combis, and authorities whiz around in their specially adapted police Ladas.

Although the Bulgarians see it as their national car, it actually hails from 1970’s Russia, manufactured by a company called AvtoVAZ, which still has the original headquarters in Togliatti. The Lada car sales boomed in the late seventies when the Lada Riva made waves around Western Europe. The craze continued over the next two decades, with Lada models exported worldwide, bar the US, although Canada did sell over 12,000 cars in the first year of importation.

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The Strong Arm of the Law: The Bulgarian Police

to protect and serveOne of my first recollections about Bulgaria was that it was a “police state,” police officers seem to line every corner and are numerous on each highway across the country. Everyone who lives or spends time in Bulgaria has contact with the Bulgarian police – usually in the form of an officer in a luminous jacket jumping out in front of your car waving a baton akin to a large lollipop. Bulgaria has the highest number of police officers in the European Union. This legacy from the days of Communism remains, but do high numbers means effective policing? QBG takes a look at life in the police state.

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How Much to Live in Bulgaria?

bulgaria property livingThe perennial question - how much money do I need to live in Bulgaria? This is a question to which nearly every person considering buying property and moving to Bulgaria wants to know the answer. Yet, it's almost impossible to answer and different people will give different responses. It just depends upon your lifestyle and how you like to live.

We take a case study of one expat couple living full time in Bulgaria, looking at their background and lifestyle to find out how much it costs them to live.

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Men in Black: Bulgaria’s Mafia

ruling the country - the bulgarian mafiaImagine you are sitting in a quaint Italian restaurant in the centre of a busy city. Whilst you wait for your food, you scan the restaurant preferring to people-watch than play on your mobile phone. On the table adjacent to you two smart, suntanned men sit discussing business at a table strewn with mobile phones. They are thickset guys with designer shades perched on top of their shaved heads. They don’t look out of place, nor do they look all that interesting and you are about to watch the table opposite, when one of the businessmen gets up to go to the bathroom and you notice a gun poking out of his Calvin Klein’s. You double-take and confirm that it is not just a bulge of clothing, the gun; silver in colour is clearly visible. Daring not to look again you divert your attention to a loan gent, casually dressed seated near the door. He seems to be scanning the room and the businessman just like you, but all of a sudden, one of the businessmen has summoned him over to his table and it’s quite clear that they know each other. Who are these people? The answer is obvious; a mafia boss and his bodyguard. Where are they? Bulgaria?

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Questions and Answers - part one

builders contractsQ: I am about to enter into a contract with a builder to renovate my property. The contract has been drawn up between my Bulgarian company and the contractor's Bulgarian company. He has signed and stamped the contract and sent it to me.

In UK law his signature as director of the company is enough for me to enforce the contract. I cannot stamp the contract as I do not have the company stamp here in the UK.

Is the contract binding in Bulgarian law without my company stamp on it?

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Choosing Healthcare in Bulgaria

private or state healthcareChoose a healthy option - for people moving to Bulgaria permanently, or staying for long periods of time, healthcare is an essential concern. Quest Bulgaria looks in-depth at the Bulgarian ‘NHS’ and international private health insurance.

The National Health Insurance Fund (NHIF) is a system of compulsory health insurance in Bulgaria. There is one health insurance agency and compulsory insurance payments deducted from people’s personal income. Every year Parliament decides the budget for the NHIF, and the amount of payments required from tax payers.

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Internet and Telephone

mobiles are everywhereMost visitors, and certainly most expats, want both phone and internet connections in their Bulgarian property. Keeping in touch with friends and family back home is important - and in the most cost-effective way.

Internet access is widely available, including wifi; and mobile phones are everywhere to be seen. Quest Bulgaria takes a look at the choices for phone and internet in Bulgaria.

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Go Trabbi Go!

Mike and the TrabbiWhen Mike Chalker was serving in the armed forces in Germany during the sixties, a pretty little thing caught his eye. She was small, perfectly formed, and charmed Mike to the point where an indelible impression was imprinted. In fact, this little beauty, the Trabant, has been creating lasting impressions for over fifty years, with many variations of models and prototypes, including emergency service vehicles.

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