Bulgaria is already known as an attractive destination for a pleasant beach holiday and has gained popularity among those who look for a holiday home or retirement retreat. My belief is that buying and renovating old houses in the countryside will become a stronger trend in 2008. There are many magazines and TV programmes that inspire and show you how to renovate all sorts of property. Wouldn't you prefer to spend time in a tranquil village where you have your own space and can take time to unwind instead of getting sent off to noisy summer resorts packed with tourists? From my experience, I hardly miss any commodities in Bulgaria, except perhaps reading about Bulgarian news in English so hopefully this will change in 2008.
Jonas Backelin, Sweden
Bulgaria's entry into the EU will help Bulgaria to grow both commercially and economically. However, not all changes will be welcomed. Some rules and regulations from Brussels are plain silly. Politicians must ensure that Bulgaria's traditions are preserved and that it doesn't just become a cheap place to produce goods. It will take time for people to realise what they can do with their freedom. I'd like to see the government set up technical colleges and skill centres where young people can gain practical skills in engineering and building as well as in craft skills via apprenticeships. How can Bulgarians build a better future if they lack the practical skills to do so?
William J. Ford, UK
In 2008 Bulgaria's successful integration into the European family will continue. Working in the communications and media industry I recently noticed a shift regarding the way foreign media reports on the country. Corruption and transitional difficulties no longer top the agenda. Information and documentaries on the everyday life of Bulgarians are now in demand. Example: A recent feature on Sofia's Studenski Grad on Germany's most popular news site. I believe this trend will grow into a "must see"-hype in 2008. Welcome to cool Bulgaria!
Nico-Alexander Jahn, Germany
I am expecting more strikes from different groups in a country that's still developing. It's interesting to see the Consequences of the teachers' strike. They could be a signal for other groups that have been "neglected" also to strike for what they feel is right.
Joost Scholte, The Netherlands
Bulgaria faces many serious problems and the country and its people need to work hard to overcome them. I personally hope that 2008 brings more effective ways of dealing with major problems like corruption in politics, on the roads and the public services. I also hope that private sector customer care will improve. Unfortunately, it continues to remind us of the Communist model if people are rude, inflexible, unprofessional, ignorant and sometimes incompetent. I cannot say I expect significant changes in these areas but I do hope we see a start. I'd like to meet polite waitresses, incorruptible policemen and honourable services where the client is treated as a client and not as a beggar who is expected to pay for a "favour".
70 years ago, on 10 March 1943, Bulgaria's pro-Nazi government decided to defy Berlin and halt the deportation of Bulgaria's 50.000 Jews. This was down to the actions of one man - Dimitar Peshev. Just two years later he faced Communist justice and found himself on trial for his life. His niece Kaluda Kiradjieva remembers