At the end of last week, the current proposal for changing the minimum wage level was published. It is interesting for several reasons, mainly because, for the first time, the new mechanism for determining the minimum wage is applied, linking it to the dynamics of the average wage. This, in the context of high inflation and the subsequent rapid growth of wages, leads to its largest nominal increase in the last two decades.
Soon it will be 8 years since the last constitutional changes related to the Bulgarian judiciary. As politicians are evidently in a hurry to present us with a Christmas gift in the form of new amendments to the Fundamental Law, perhaps it is a good idea to recall what happened in 2015, highlight the differences with the current situation, and suggest why there is such a lack of enthusiasm for the current initiative.
Bulgaria’s Мinistry of Finance recently published the ‘tax package’ for 2024, including proposed changes to all tax laws. Alongside widely discussed cases such as the return of the standard VAT rate for restaurants and bread and non-payment of bills in case of an undeclared cash receipt, the package also includes perhaps the deepest change in business taxation in our country in over 15 years.
Total management collapse, poor infrastructure, shameful results, and alienation of fans from the stadium, now even aided by water cannons. The agony of Bulgarian football has reached an incomprehensible low. An appointed match for the national team with empty stands, fights outside the stadium, and a middle finger for farewell seem to mark the end of the team in the Bulgarian Football Union (BFU).
In recent months, the topic of budget deficits has taken center stage in heated debates among economists and politicians, garnering significant attention in the media. In April, the caretaker government proposed a budget with a notable deficit of 6.1% of GDP for 2023. In June, Finance Minister Asen Vasilev proposed a new budget with a negative balance of 3%, which is right at the limit for fiscal stability as set in the Maastricht criteria of the European Commission.
The new government was elected already in June, but it remains to be seen how it will begin to solve the pressing problems caused by the lack of regular governance in the months before. The budget is one such priority, but let’s not forget what happened with the National Recovery and Resilience plan (NRRP). Let’s recall – the plan was adopted two years ago with a significant delay, which was the reason why Bulgaria failed to receive an advance payment for its implementation.
Already in May, the National Statistical Institute of Bulgaria announced long-awaited news: on a monthly basis, the general consumer price index recorded a decline for the first time since the beginning of the war, and in June, this trend continued, even more noticeably. This has also been accompanied by a cooling down of the annual price change, which has fallen well below its peak since autumn 2022.
New data from Bulgaria’s National Statistical Institute (NSI) shows that for the time period 2020-2022, the life expectancy of the population on average is 71.9 years. The data examines mortality over three-year periods and for the first time, it comprehensively covers the rapid spread and high mortality resulting from the COVID-19 pandemic in Bulgaria.
The Bulgarian government banned the imports of twenty agricultural goods from Ukraine. This act and the related arguments for restricting free trade supported by the government, some politicians, media outlets, and interested businesses, show why the Institute for Market Economics has been debunking economic illusions and providing answers, in times of poor knowledge breeding poor policies, for more than 30 years.
It is no surprise that the annual address of President Vladimir Putin to the Russian people featured a call for self-sufficiency, the closing of the national economy, and catering to all needs only with internal resources. Even though the statements of foreign leaders are not directly linked to the Bulgarian context, such ideas can find their ground at home too, especially in the context of election campaigns.