Most people who’ve visited these parts know how important the local brandy is. So it’s not much of a surprise that the first post-EU entry protests in Bulgaria dealt with a new EU-imposed excise tax –levied specifically on the boiling of ethyl alcohol– on the local rakia. (Maybe why the Bulgarian Ambassador’s mercedes was stolen in Sarajevo?)
From an AFP report:
“People have grape marc ready and want to come and boil rakia. But when they hear about the tax they say they will distill the alcohol at home in makeshift stills made from old washing machines, Russian tea samovars and all kinds of pots,” said the head of the Kraynici cooperative, Lazar Zaharinov.
The tax amounts to 2.20 Bulgarian Lev (1.03 Euro/1.30 USD) per liter extracted, and 4.40 lev/liter if the amount is over 30 liters. A February 14 protest at the Bulgarian parliament has been promised if the tax is not abolished. The 14th is Saint Triphon’s Day, the traditional holiday of wine and vineyards.