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In 2004 the Institute for Market Economics (IME) presented its first Alternative Budget. Each year since that we have suggested an annual budgetary frame with lower taxes, more effective spending, bold reforms, and lower state interference. At the beginning of 2023, Bulgaria will not have a state budget drafted by a regular government and voted on by a parliamentary majority.

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Once again, it has become clear that Bulgaria shall not be joining the Schengen agreement for some time, mostly due to the distrust in the work of our institutions and their ability to effectively guard the outer border of the visa-free area. Apart from the deeper European integration and the further inclusion to the “rich country club,” the accession to the Schengen Area could provide a couple of specific benefits to the Bulgarian economy.

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The term “wage” and its size are very important in national discussions about labor markets, taxes and insurance payments, but also part of international comparisons for investors deciding to build a factory or to place investments in a specific country. A lot of confusion has been created by the introduction of gross wage with arbitrary distinction between “employee paid” and “employer paid” taxes and contributions.

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Ukraine has introduced numerous reforms between 2014-2019, which support macro-financial sustainability of the country. As a result, even during COVID-19, Ukraine went stronger with debt-to-GDP ratio at about 50%, sound banking system, improved corporate governance and higher openness and transparency. This helped Ukraine to remain resilient since the beginning of full-scale invasion by Russia.

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Millions of people and thousands of businesses in Ukraine remain without electricity every day due to damage to infrastructure damage caused by Russian shelling. For two months in a row, the Russian Federation has been launching rocket attacks on the civilian infrastructure of Ukraine every week. The target of this damage was the network of substations and transformers that provide electricity transmission from generating plants.

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Economic freedom in the world has declined to a record low, shows the Economic Freedom Index published by the Fraser Institute. The recent World Economic Freedom Index is based on data for 2020 but it shows a clear trend: as the government sector grows, it is becoming harder for citizens and businesses to breathe. The Fraser Institute analysts say this is largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic.