site.btaEconomic Freedom in Bulgaria Continues to Decline, Research Shows
Economic freedom in Bulgaria continues to decline, according to the "Economic Freedom of the World 2023" annual report published on Tuesday by the Institute for Market Economics (IME) in cooperation with the Canadian Fraser Institute, ranking the country 43rd among 165 countries and territories, the Institute said.
The release is based on 2021 data - the most recent internationally comparable data for all countries. The average score for countries around the world is 6.77 points (out of a maximum of 10 points), the same as the previous year. For the second year in a row, COVID-19 remains the biggest disaster for economic freedom, wiping out a decade of development and expansion of freedom worldwide.
For the first time in the history of the index's release, Hong Kong relinquishes the top position because of the Chinese Communist Party's attempts to control the private sector, restricting virtually all freedoms - economic, civil, and political. Singapore is this year's Index runner-up, while Hong Kong remains in second position, but the longtime leader is expected to fall further in the coming years. The top 10 also includes Switzerland, New Zealand, the US, Ireland, Denmark, Australia, the UK, and Canada. Venezuela remains at the bottom.
The survey ranks Bulgaria 43rd and the assessment of economic freedom in the country is decreasing. The score according to the 2021 data is 7.46 points (out of the maximum 10 points), down 0.23 points from the previous, revised edition.
In the ranking of countries included in the survey, Bulgaria shares a position with Bahrain and is between the Republic of Korea and Jamaica.
In last year's edition, Bulgaria ranked higher in the ranking of countries included, mainly due to the more relaxed containment measures at the start of the pandemic, but even then, Bulgaria's score was lower than in the previous edition, the Institute said. With the decline, for the second year in a row, Bulgaria's level of economic freedom has gone back a decade.
Bulgaria has some anchors that have consistently provided stability over the years and actually show high scores and a good position in the index rankings. These are low income taxation (flat tax), stable money (currency board), low customs duties (EU membership), free credit (large number of banks), the Institute said.
In the weakest category for Bulgaria - "Legal system and property rights", there is no significant improvement. The score is 5.81 points, or 0.06 points more than in last year's edition, despite the low base. The country's performance in the impartiality of the courts, trust in the police and protection of property rights is particularly poor. Thus, while in the other EU member states the scores are around 8 points, Bulgaria's score is close to and even lower than in countries such as Rwanda, Uruguay, Moldova.