This paper looks at EU expansion through market activity by focussing on the case of British citizens buying property in Bulgaria. The property market at least in the northern-central rural region of the country that is the focus in this work is driven by an attempt to achieve greater security in the context of neoliberal policies that advocate market deregulation and de-prioritise state forms of social provisioning. This creates a 'ready market' for individuals who secure their own futures through the buying (as in the Britons case) and selling (as in the Bulgarian case) of property. Importantly, it is illegal, at present, for foreigners to own land in Bulgaria and thus the present boom provides an example of the dominance of market forces that operate despite state laws designed to regulate market activity. This, the author suggests, is an important dimension of how EU expansion takes place through informal economic activity. Foreign involvement in the property market is also a source of new inequalities arising between citizens of old and new member states.
D. Kaneff, Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham, Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT, United Kingdom
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