Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Bulgaria - GDP Growth and Contract Killings

Memorable lines from Casablanca:

[Annina is contemplating Renault's offer of exit visas for sex]
Rick: How long have you been married?

Annina: Eight weeks. We come from Bulgaria. Oh, things are very bad there, Monsieur. A devil has the people by the throat. So, Jan and I, we, we do not want our children to grow up in such a country.
Rick (wearily): So you decided to go to America...

Annina: Oh, monsieur, you are a man. If someone loved you very much, so that your happiness was the only thing that she wanted in the world, but she did a bad thing to make certain of it, could you forgive her?

Rick: Nobody ever loved me that much.

Annina: And he never knew, and the girl kept this bad thing locked in her heart? That would be all right, wouldn't it?

Rick: You want my advice?

Annina: Oh, yes, please.

Rick: Go back to Bulgaria.

Bulgaria is one of the European Union's newest and most troubled countries. While Bulgaria is the EU's poorest economy, GDP has been growing at at more than 6% since 2004. Nevertheless, the country is plagued by organized crime, corruption, drug trafficking, theft of economic assets, and an ineffectual judiciary. Opinions polls show that Bulgarians view the judiciary as the country's second most corrupt profession, after customs officials. Bulgaria's 7.7 million people face the EU's lowest wages, averaging around £150 a month. The country's per capita gross domestic product in 2005 was $3,328, compared with a European average of $29,207.

Source: IndexMundi

The country is struggling to cope with organized crime with a wave of unsolved contract killings and allegations of official collusion in mafia networks this year. There have been more than 150 contract killings since 1997 with not a single conviction, and according to the March report by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, the majority of heroin on Europe's streets come via Bulgaria from Afghanistan.

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