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Lev, Denar and Drachma Close Friends?

Some years ago, Greeks were discussing the cheap markets of Bulgaria and FYROM. They were rich enough to travel once or more a week to Sofia, Skopje and other cities to buy clothes and shoes at a good price.
Hotels of these two Balkan countries were full of Greeks spending their money in local spa resorts. But this was a choice for Greeks then and not an act of need, as it is now.
Greeks of Northern Greece exchange many euros a week to lev and denar in order to buy not clothes, but milk, flour, sugar and other similar food items. Otherwise, they would almost never manage to buy all these items in Greece, where taxes range from 13-23% and keep increasing as wages keep getting cut.
The European Union’s initial goal was to allow its citizens to buy products in another country, without paying any tolls for them; that’s why Northern Greeks buy gasoline in Bulgaria and FYROM, where it costs almost 1 euro/litre (in FYROM, it is a little more expensive since its price is about 1.29 euro/litre). They have also transformed their car engines into natural gas in order to pay even less for it in the neighboring country (price ranges from 0.89 to 0.92 euro).
Many Greek pensioners have also moved to FYROM, where they pay on average 150 euros for an one-room apartment.
Even the car insurance is much cheaper there, so several Greeks have Bulgarian license plates to avoid Greece’s high taxes.
Supermarkets print brochures in Greek to advertise the week’s special and send them to every Greek city in the North. Not only families, but people who run businesses, such as cafes and bars, drive to Bulgaria, especially to Svilengrad, to buy cheaper products for their stores!
Many factories moved their headquarters to Bulgaria and FYROM in order to reduce their expenses and increase their income.
Euro “migration” to other countries has, of course, no good consequence for the Greek economy. But in the middle of this financial crisis, only few people take this fact into account.

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