Bulgaria sends in pensioners to retake beaches
Could it be a vote catcher ahead of elections next year in the European Union’s poorest member state? The government’s standing in the polls has suffered because of poor living standards and corruption.
Socialist Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev says he wants to give elderly Bulgarians a ‘calm’ life. He also has another motive:
“To me it has always been offensive when I see in Bulgarian resorts…mainly elderly people from western European countries,” he told a news conference.
Between 3,000 and 5,000 pensioners can take advantage of the free holidays on the Black Sea coast or in mountain resorts in the next three months. The government will also cover transport costs.
Pensioners account for nearly a third of the Balkan country’s population of 7.6 million. The average monthly pension is about 80 euros.
Is foreign tourism a blessing or curse to Bulgaria’s beaches?