I am based in Bucharest and closely follow the news in the region. Many articles pertaining to the royal properties, published over the last few months since the economic crisis has started to bite in south east Europe, indicate that in Bulgaria and Romania the state tries to claw back the royal properties, which were reinstated to the former sovereigns as part of the democratisation process of the last two decades that led to the EU membership. There was an apparent goodwill period from the governments of these Balkan countries toward their respective royal families that lasted until 2008, which looks now more like a ploy to gain trust from the western countries in order for the local elites to fulfil their aspirations in gaining membership in western organisations. Now, as the EU/ NATO etc. membership has been achieved, the Romanian and Bulgarian governing elites do not need their royal families on their side anymore. The crisis also has dramatically reduced the important wealth amassed over the last two decades by the top echelons of the Romanian and Bulgarian society, which have now started to prey on whatever is close to hand to recoup some of their rapidly eroding fortunes. The royal properties are some of the most obvious targets, as these elites, originating in the old communist apparatchiks, have a long anti-royalist tradition. The future looks uncertain, as the Romanian and Bulgarian governing upper classes do not need anymore their royals in the pursuit of their short or long term objectives.
This is the original article from Sofia News Agency rendered in this sort of English language; I hope is comprehensible
Bulgaria’s former Tsar, Simeon Saxe-Coburg, and his sister Maria Luisa seek to regain ownership on the former Krichim royal residence, and were hoping to hear the decision of the Court on the issue within a month. The Court was expected to give a clear indication of how they would rule as early as Tuesday [16 June], which happens to be Simeon’s 72nd birthday. During its Tuesday session the District Court in Plovdiv expertises dealing with the renovations of the buildings on the territory of the residence, and was presented with a combined sketch of the farming lands prepared by an expert engineer-surveyor. The Court admitted the expertises, but requested a new one dealing with the appraised value of the property. The trail was postponed for October 6 when all expertises are expected to be admitted as evidence. According to a publication in the Bulgarian daily “Trud” (Labor), the surveyor’s conclusion was that from the 371 decares of farming lands contested by the royal family, only 9 were included within the limits of the so-called palace. In the mean time, one attorney from the Coburg defense council, stated after the trial that their side has been extremely pleased with the Tuesday session because two of the expertises admitted by the magistrates were an indisputable proof the contested properties were built on the palace’s land during the reign of Simeon and Maria Luisa’s father – Tsar Boris III. The civil case is the first legal trial for the restitution of royal property, which was launched after regional governor Todor Petkov refused to restore the Krichim residence to Simeon-Saxe Coburg and Maria Luisa. The governor claimed that the papers they provided to prove rightful ownership of the land do not coincide with the data in the municipal archives.
Simeon II of Bulgaria declared to the journalists: “I think we live in a democracy, a member state of the European Union and Nato, in a country with the rule of law, where private property is sacrosanct.” (Source Sofia news agency, June 2009)
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