British? You’ll like it here

This is the English translation of the original post in Bulgarian. BG Българска версия.

Bad weather, no jobs and low wages – that’s how the British government will „advertise“ its country to Bulgarians and Romanians. The goal is to prevent a wave of immigrants, which is supposed to crash in the UK shores post 2014. This is when the employment restrictions expire, so several think tanks estimate between 250 and 750 thousands will pack their suitcases in search of a better life. These numbers are of course vastly exaggerated and there would be only slight increase of immigrants if any at all. The fear of such a wave, however, is so great, that the UK government takes extreme measures. In the absurdity of it all, it will be most amusing to watch people as proud as the British to show off the drawbacks of their own country. This would be something to look forward to.

They do make a valid point however – Great Britain is indeed a grim, dangerous place with glaring economic difficulties. Therefore the only responsible thing we Bulgarians can do as Europeans is to extend a helping hand and invite all Brits who’ve had enough. There are already about 3000 who chose to move to Bulgaria. We even made a map in cooperation with the British embassy. On their page one can find helpful tips on how to live here. Bloomberg sited Bulgaria as a prime destination to move to with benefits like a flat income tax, low corporate taxes, low country debt and a currency coupled with the Euro to name a few. British retirees would find Bulgarian villages splendid – it’s cheaper, cleaner, less stressful, the food is tastier, the weather is great and they can get their retirement check anywhere. We could even make brochures and videos of Brits living here on why they prefer BG to UK. There’re already a couple of blogs on the subject. We can also include the wonderful „Why people learn Bulgarian“ video. The possibilities are endless.

Apart from a parody of the immigrant paranoia we see in the UK, such a counter campaign could have a positive effect to Bulgarian tourism. And who knows – maybe even more families would choose Bulgaria.

* British? You’ll like it here – a reference to the article „Immigration: Romanian or Bulgarian? You won’t like it here“ in The Guardian.

Gema and Casper with their neighbors in Bulgaria @ aBulgarianLife

45 коментара

  1. I found this article a great read, most ‘tongue in cheek’. Well written, except the cleanliness bit, I do miss the clean countryside of the UK. Plastic bag leaves blowing in the wind have never hit the spot for me, sorry but true, and the bottles, buried in the ground, rubbish dumped on the road side, through car windows, don’t start me on the rubbish here.
    Restaurants that actually serve what they state they have on their menu in the UK, now that might be an option for the Bulgarian restaurants to take up, pretty please!
    However I’m a Brit in the countryside here, rarely eat out anymore, work my garden, and the land, and yearn for the UK not one iota. My country lost its balls quite a long time ago, and seems intent on its own castration.

  2. @Ani – That’s true. There is rubbish here and there. I found however that even the cleanest place in Europe I’ve seen – Frankfurt, Germany – is not quite clean. Clean does not only mean no rubbish, but also clean air, clean water and clean soil. Bulgaria has a bad record on fine particle density in the air of big cities, but elsewhere it’s close to none and chemical contamination is quite low everywhere. In Germany, by contrast, there’s literally an epidemic of child asthma and respiratory problems. Most of the kids of colleagues on my former job have some form of asthma or heavy allergies.

  3. Thanks for a great read.
    I just hope you didn’t mean it as a joke. As things get even tougher in the UK I do believe that some of the more adventerous there could discover a new lease of life here.
    The gods know that my Bulgarian village neighbours have been so much more welcoming to us than many Brits would have been to them had they come to the UK.

  4. What a great read Bojan, and true :-). I my self live here in Bulgaria with my partner, and we like our life here,not as stressful as the uk, and our house and garden is bigger , though we do work very hard, We grow all our own veg, and have spent the last 5 years renovating our house/garden, and still will be for many years to come.
    We have some VERY GOOD Bulgarian friends, what more can I say, apart from things in the uk are not good, its very stressful, and you work all hours godsend for nothing., people are not always friendly ( though that applys to any country ), and the governments ( yes all of them ) think and do the same thing.
    So my advise to any one wanting to move to the uk….. DONT DO IT ! things will get better here ( Bulgaria ) and in other countrys, just will take time.

  5. I love Bulgaria..Ive been trying to tell Bulgarians not to go to the UK..Why given half a chance would a lot of Brits move out of the UK tomorrow.. OK so the money looks good but do your sums every thing is so much more expensive..Bulgaria needs you Bulgarians..I would like to think it needs me as well..

  6. Well done for the fantastic comeback Boyan, you absolutely made my day!

    As we all heard in Nigel Farage’s ‘elaborate’ speech “50% of the Bulgarian population are living on or below the poverty line…people are actually struggling to eat… the average monthly salary is 200 euros a month..“ and so on. I am a Bulgarian student and I’ve been living in England for 7 years now. The main reason I came to this country was to receive a better education, an education that simply cannot be provided by our ‘starving’ teachers, living on a 200 euro monthly salary (and they are not the ones to blame.) The same year I moved to the UK, my mother encouraged my maths tutor, to pursue her teaching career abroad too. Because of her incredible talent and ambitious work attitude, she was able to find a job shortly after that. 7 years down the line, she is now head of the maths department at a sixth form college in London.

    My point being: Like my maths teacher, there are many many capable Bulgarians, who, if given the chance, can contribute so much to British society! We are not here for the ‘wonderful’ healthcare system. We are not here to live off benefits, like the numerous ‘struggling’ white British families, that keep reproducing just to claim more benefits. And we are certainly not here for the weather. We are here because we want to achieve something and essentially survive! Oh, and we still get taxed and you still get your benefits so… what’s the problem? 😉

    I have to admit, I haven’t always been a proud patriot, but launching a negative advertising campaign for your own country, and in such vicious, xenophobic, and might I add, ridiculous way? Probably not the most acceptable and thought-through solution ‘Great’ Britons should be proud of.

    As for all the Brits who commented positively above (and all the ones who have chosen Bulgaria) – Thank you! It is warm and open people like you that make a difference!

  7. @Kazz Fox, @Jackie Wallace, @Pauline Gascoigne – Thank you for your stories. Reading them really made my day.

    @Мартин – don’t think you can’t find such things anywhere in the world. I collected several similar stories for the UK, but decided not to post them – it will only spiral into negativity. That’s the greatest issue of our attitude toward problems – we feel sorry for ourselves, praise others and blame the government/parties/rest of Bulgaria for not solving them.

    Our court system is indeed ineffective and often corrupt. Instead of insisting on more transparency and accountability, we point fingers at the whole system and moan that someone should fix it overnight.

    @Dk Dimitrova – There’s always a flip side of the coin. There are indeed a lot of specialists that move for better salaries and prospects. They could definitely fill the lack of educated specialists all over Europe.

    The issue however is, that quite often they don’t get to those prospects. Due to legal and bureaucratic issues as well as discrimination, often we hear about world class Bulgarian surgeons working as house doctors or teachers with decades of experience – as nannies. It is sad that they do get more money on those jobs than they did in Bulgaria. The loss of their talent, however, is nothing short of a tragedy – both in Bulgaria and in the UK.

  8. Boyan, don’t tell me you don’t see the difference. One incident in 60 million is completely different from 1 incident in 7 million. And probably you don’t want to count public assassinations in Bulgaria, being much easier to count the ones in much larger countries with a functioning judiciary.

    Why do you (unfortunately not only you) tend to prefer to neglect actual problems to solving them? Is it only because this way it is easier?

    I tried to restrain myself from that, but I can’t hold it to the lordliness: why do you invite someone else, and not move back to Bulgaria yourself? Why did you get a German passport? Was it because it is so nice in Bulgaria? Get yourself together, please!

  9. @Мартин – There’s definitely a difference. That is obvious. We tend however to blow the issues out of proportion to an extent that is numbing to anyone who wishes to do something. This is done in the media, in politics and in every day life. At the same time you of all people should know that even Germany is no stranger to corrupt politicians, inadequate laws, incompetent bureaucrats and unfair legal system. The problems are always there and in Bulgaria they are disproportional to most countries in Europe. This doesn’t mean it’s not fixable given enough time and effort and that it’s not a good place to live.

  10. I had the chance to observe closely the case of Trenton Oldfield ( This is the perfect illustration of the difference in the UK and Bulgaria. And it is not the judiciary that is so radically different. It is the civic society that showed a completely different response. There was no space in the courtroom, because people appreciated what Trenton was fighting for. No sign of that in Bulgaria. Bulgarians prefer to play insulted, when they actually need to defend their rights to a state with justice.

  11. Boian, let’s think of this issue as an opportunity for our countries to communicate and stand tall together. I hold nothing against the British, but they need to be told they are wrong when they really are wrong :)

  12. @dicanel – quite often such nonsense is spread mostly by the media and politicians. You and I have enough examples from our own countries. We shouldn’t tell the Brits they are wrong, but that they should be more thoughtful about what their politicians say. They do have a serious immigration problem, but so will we once we join Schengen. So it goes both ways.

  13. Here you’ll find a nice list of arguments against what Nigel Farage said about Bulgaria: Unfortunately it’s in Bulgarian, so I’ll list them shortly:
    – Farage claims poverty in Bulgaria is 50%. In fact it’s 22.4%. In the UK it’s 22.2%, so no big difference there. 2.5 million children live in poverty in the UK.
    – Farage claims that the salaries in Bulgaria are 200 Euro and pensions – 100 Euro. The real figures are 391 Euro and 135 Euro on average. The lowest salaries are in Vidin – 250 Euro.
    Farage also claims Bulgaria is in a terrible state. Here are some facts:
    – in 1997, the GDP of UK was 119% of the EU average. In 2011 it dropped to 109%. By constrast, in 1997 Bulgaria’s GDP was 26% of the EU average and by 2011 the percentage nearly doubled to 46%.
    – the average income in the UK dropped by 3.1% (5.7% drop per family). This puts Britain below the levels of 2004-05.
    – there were 2.7 million unemployed in the UK in 2011; the inflation is 4.5%
    – crime rates in Bulgaria are lower than those in the UK.

  14. Well, I even heard on some tabloid they said that 29 million Bulgarians and Romanians will flee to their country. Haha, we barely make that figure.
    I know your country is doing better than 5-10 years ago and I’m glad for you. We’ve had the worst possible government in the beginning of the crisis (2008-2012) and we still need to catch up. And about Schengen, yes, it goes both ways and that’s how it should be. It’s hard to accept free trade and our citizens treated as „inferior“. We spent a lot of money to secure the borders, we privatzed the most profitable companies, made compromises, sacrifices and a great effort to join the UE to be treated like „the poor relative“. We may not be that rich, but let us preserve our dignity.

  15. @dicanel – Our biggest problems right now are the media and the court system. Economically we are ok, but that won’t last if we don’t fix those two issues. The irony is that in 5 years Bulgaria will be at the same level as Greece – not only because we are developing, but also because they are running backwards fast.

  16. Who the fuck wants to move in a jack Britain just to serve those Anomaly of human nature?
    Bulgaria had an exelent nature,girls,mans,standart ,entertainment
    if you had any brain whatsoever -ANY
    mainly in the HEAD
    Why even bother leaving such a low cost of living -decent living dest. with a standarts multiple times up and qualitu of life and replase so many amenities for what ?
    A hot pattato in the mount speaking British anomaly
    Ajoke of humans nature rulled by Queen
    Fuck brits
    you need US we dont need you stupid !!!
    At the end of the day the money ofrom UK they come here and there just like Depardios story
    We need to implement a visa and laws for yours fat and ugly pedofiles coming in here

  17. Sasha, thank you for a very interesting read, I do hope lots of English and Bulgarians read this. I live in BG and love the country and the people, and have no intention of going back to the uk until maybe when I am very old :-)

  18. :) Да знам за нея…..Но само да те предупредя, че ще ни пращат бай ром от столипеново на гости.

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