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 Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look

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PostSubject: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Tue Nov 02, 2010 1:23 pm

[size=45:3sl3zmvs]BNR 02 November 2010

Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look

Autumn has turned the leaves of trees gold and red in the village of Shipkovtsi near Kyustendil in Western Bulgaria. The streets and roofs of houses are wet from the drizzling rain and remind people that the summer has already gone. One can also see the shining statue of the eminent Bulgarian artist Valdimir Dimitrov aka Maistora who lived and worked in Shishkovtzi and left magnificent portraits of local residents in the Bulgarian cultural treasury. The fields have now been harvested and local people are now spending their time near the wood burning stoves, chatting and gossiping. Radio Bulgaria reporter Milka Dimitrova visited a family of an old couple in Shishkovtsi. Here is what she saw:

Vulyo and Stoina Ivanova are only one of many families in Shishkovtzi of retired couples. Most local residents live in a similar way. Young people are scarce – unemployment has driven them all to the capital Sofia and abroad. Vulyo Ivanov was a teacher for most of his life, and a minor for some time. He occupies his free time in his retirement years with gardening and growing apple trees. His wife, Stoina, was a primary school teacher. Today, the family enjoys a calm and peaceful life in their cozy house. The two elderly people rely on their state pensions to cover their daily expenses. They do not wait for help from their two daughters and their grandchildren who live in Sofia. During the summer, they work in their orchard n that yields wonderful apples. “I am an amateur gardener”, Vulyo Ivanov says. Just as most pensioners in Bulgaria, taking a rest is a relative concept for them, in most cases they relax by working. Vulyo Ivanov only proves this:

“There are people in the village, pensioners who do nothing. They live on their pensions only. We want to produce something, we need to work and it also brings us additional incomes. Selling apples, however, is not easy as there are not good apple markets”.

His wife Stoina describes the situation with most retired people in the village of Shishkovtzi:

“How could an elderly person survive on 65 Euro of pension per month? Well, most people live in misery. They are given some additional state benefits to purchase wood for the winter and keep warm their homes. They eat bread, yoghurt, and some tomatoes and peppers if they have grown them in their own gardens. This is how retired people in our village live”.

In the cosy house of the Ivanovs, the scent of apples is everywhere. The smell is intensified by the warmth of the stove in which burning lumbers produce pleasant sparkles on the walls. Vulyo Ivanov continues his account of the every life of old people in his village:

“We are several people from the village who started growing orchards. I grow the saplings but burglars stole many of them. For example, one day I sowed 50 saplings, and on the following morning I went in my garden and 20 of them were gone. I planted them again, and someone stole them again, and this repeated many times over several years. That is why in my orchard, some trees are younger and some older because I have planted them at a different time. But fortunately, the thefts have now stopped and we won, so to say. I am now producing several tonnes of apples from my orchard only”.

The old man continues his account, saying that people in the village really respect and care for each other, being mostly old people, with only one young family in the neighbourhood. They often gather to have coffee, to celebrate holidays or simply to chat. Stoina shares with bitterness that almost no young people have remained in the village:

“Our village is growing old, no young people are left here any more. The school was closed down. And the nearest town of Kyustendil has also very high unemployment. So, young and even older people have no other way but go working abroad, in Italy and Greece mostly. They stay there until they have enough years of work to have the right for an additional pension, and then they return.”

Stoina also says that one of the biggest problems in most villages are abandoned houses and uncultivated lands deserted by their owners who have left to look for a better life somewhere else. The deserted lands are covered by shrubs and thorn bushes, and often attract wild animals such as wolves, jackals and wild boars. Recently, hunters from the village killed a 90-kg wolf. “These were the most fertile lands before, it was a pleasure to look at them, and they are now turning into wasteland”, Stoina says with sadness.

Abandoned houses often attract burglars, but in recent years the number of burglaries has dropped because locals have set up their own guard squad to protect their homes.

The clouds above Shishkovtzi are slowly scattering but the rain is still drizzling. The streets are empty, with only the occasional sound of hammers. People in Shishkovtzi are waiting for the winter and the Christmas holidays when young people will return to the village to see their parents and spend several days together, reviving the practice of numerous families and houses full of joyful clamour just as it was in the past.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Tue Nov 02, 2010 2:32 pm



It is such a shame that life is so hard for pensioners :Very sad:It appears that most villages in Bulgaria suffer the same way - Sunday appears to be when everyone come to visit and stock up on their fruit and veg g Good old mum and dad eh! working their fingers to the bone to ensure they have enough for winter but still as always looking after their children. H My Mum is 84 now and on the occasions we do get out, she has her list in which she has all the names and insists on buying some little thing for everyone. H H

Oddy s

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:51 pm

Good gracious they actually pay less pension than the British Government!!!
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Tue Nov 02, 2010 3:56 pm

[You must be registered and logged in to see this link.] wrote:
Good gracious they actually pay less pension than the British Government!!!


Is that possible :shocked1:surely no one pays less than the uk
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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:15 pm

I think that most people do not realise just how little a Pensioner gets in BG

In the Villages if they do not work the garden then there is little food on the table. The people that live at the rear of our house are both OAP's he is crippled and she works the garden. She sometimes gets help from her Grandaughter but mostly she is there day in day out toiling the soil. There is no respite, yet she is a happy old soul. They say that there are people worse off than they are.

This is typical of Village life hard working lovely people

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Thu Nov 18, 2010 6:24 pm

Bulgarian Parliament Adopts Retirement Requirements

Bulgarian Parliament adopted on first reading the much debated amendments to the Social Insurance Code, which will enter into force on January 1, 2011.

The amendments were adopted on Thursday with support from 90 votes (from Bulgaria's ruling party GERB and the nationalist party Ataka), 37 votes against (from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the ethnic Turkish party DPS and the rightist Blue Coalition) and 3 abstained.

Starting next year, the new retirement requirements for men will include simultaneously minimum 37 years of service and age above 63. Women should be 60 years of age and should have 34 years of service.

From 2012, the years of service for retirement will start increasing by 4 months a year.

The most discussed amendments were the ones regarding the changes in the age and years of service for people from first and second category labor and the drop of the old-age allowances.

Bulgaria's Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov, has announced that the amendments were negotiated between the social partners and the cabinet and have met "
broad public support."


GERB and Ataka have also supported the pension reform, saying that this is the first time when Bulgaria has a long-term strategy for 25 years ahead.

According to Hasan Ademov from the ethnic Turkish party DPS, the pension reform could be viewed as a way of the ruling party to ensure their own comfort before the local and presidential elections.

In his words, the date January 1, 2012, which is envisioned to be the start of the increase of the retirement years of service, was not chosen by chance, but is rather selected to be after the elections.

"
You transfer all unpopular measures to the next governments,"
Ademov told GERB.

According to Maya Manolova from the Bulgarian Socialist Party, the reform was made against and despite of the people.

"
It is a huge delusion that the changes have been backed up after a broad public discussion,"
she said.

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PostSubject: Re: Bulgarian pensioners – an insider’s look   Mon Nov 28, 2011 12:04 pm

[size=55:rajynbrm]novinite

Bulgaria's Minimum Monthly Retirement Goes Up by BGN 9

The minimum monthly retirement pension is going up by BGN 9, from BGN 136 to BGN 145, effective June 2012.

The decision was made Monday during the meeting between the Social Policy and Labor Minister, Totyu Mladenov, and the business. The labor unions did not attend.

Other pensions will remain unchanged, while starting 2013 they will be indexed only through the inflation rate. Retirement age is going up in 2012 by one year for both men and women.

The increase of retirement age is to lead to a reduction of the deficit of the National Social Security Institute (NOI) by BGN 28.4 M. This deficit will amount to BGN 121 M in 2013.

On November 13, the Confederation of Independent Bulgarian Syndicates (KNSB) and the Podkrepa (Support) Labor Confederation Podkrepa announced they were quitting the Three-Way Council, which now has only representatives of the business and the cabinet. The syndicates are outraged by the controversial and sudden increase of retirement age and eliminating years of service in determining wages of State servants – both brainchildren of Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister, Simeon Djankov.

The move means an imminent failure in negotiations on all important social and economic issues the Council deals with, but Mladenov said Monday that the Three-Way Council, which is now Two-Way, will meet Friday.

Podkrepa and KNSB are staging nation-wide protests on November 30 over the planned changes in the retirement system.

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