Bulgaria will be again on focus next year when foreigners will be able to acquire agricultural land, but local experts are already fuming against the low prices, saying the country is giving its fat land for free.
"We will wake up on January 1, 2014, only to realize that we have given away our land for free," Professor Vesselin Boyadzhiev, from the Social and Economic Geography department at Sofia University, said in an interview.
Even though many expect the open sale of Bulgarian land to foreigners to enliven the market of tilling land in the country, Boyadzhiev says that land plots here are ridiculously underpriced in comparison with Central and Western Europe.
"Bulgaria's fat land is just as good as in France in terms of mineral resources and biodiversity, but it is tagged at ten times lower prices.
My most serious concerns are that we are already wasting this precious natural resource. As of January 1, 2014 the plundering will be official.
In time you will realize that we made a big mistake by not preparing a national policy on what is still national resource. I say "still" because it is no secret that foreigners, including from non-EU countries, have been buying Bulgarian land for years by different means."
Nowadays, foreigners who have the legal right to reside in Bulgaria, are free to purchase land.
Citizens of the EU, who do not reside permanently in Bulgaria, were able to acquire the land of their second home in the country after January the 1st 2012 as to the Treaty of Accession of Bulgaria to the EU.
The situation is different however when there is an issue considering agricultural land.
Officially only after January the 1st 2014 foreigners will be able to acquire agricultural land. But there are exceptions - EU citizens can register as agricultural producers and state their intention to reside permanently in the country, which will entitle them to the right to purchase land even before 2014.