site.btaBulgaria Advances in Rule of Law, Corruption, Press Freedom Indices

Bulgaria Advances in Rule of Law, Corruption, Press Freedom Indices
Bulgaria Advances in Rule of Law, Corruption, Press Freedom Indices
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry Vice President Vasil Todorov presents the Chamber's publication Bulgaria in Figures, Sofia, June 21, 2024 (BTA Photo)

In 2023, Bulgaria improved its positions in the Rule of Law Index (from 60th in 2022 to 59th in 2023), in the World Press Freedom Index (from 91st in 2022 to 71st in 2023) and in the Corruption Perceptions Index (from 91st in 2022 to 71st in 2023), and in the Human Freedom Index (from 48th in 2022 to 41st in 2023), Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (BCCI) Vice President Vasil Todorov told a news conference here on Friday. In the Democracy Index, however, the country's rank deteriorated from 57th in 2022 to 62nd in 2023).

Todorov presented the 15th edition of BCCI's publication Bulgaria in Figures.

Every year, the brochure analyzes in detail the country's main macroeconomic indicators, the investment environment, tourism, international trade and other important aspects of the Bulgarian economy, as well as the latest up-to-date forecasts of leading economic rankings. The publication presented on Friday covers nearly 30 rankings and Bulgaria's position in them.

Based on official sources, the brochure sets Bulgaria's GDP for 2023 at EUR 93 billion-plus, which is an indication of a steady growth in recent years except in 2020, when this indicator declined because of the COVID pandemic, Todorov commented. Last year saw a slump in the inflation index, from 15.3% in 2020 to 9.5% in 2023. 

In 2023 Bulgaria exported goods and services worth EUR 44 billion-plus and its imports were valued at EUR 49 billion. The county thus ran a trade deficit. Todorov sees this as an indication that the promotion of the development of Bulgarian production and the export of goods and services, so that this deficit could be reversed.

The unemployment rate remained at a low of 4.4% year on year in 2023 which, according to Todorov, is also a good indicator of the state of the Bulgarian economy.

BCCI called for a retention of the tax model as an important advantage of Bulgaria. In 2023 some 63% of municipalities had an unemployment rate 25% higher than the country's average, which gave investors an incentive to invest in the municipalities concerned so as to benefit from the zero corporate tax, the Chamber's Vice President pointed out.

BCCI expects Bulgaria's GDP to rise 1.9% in 2024 and 2.9% in 2025. The inflation rate is expected to range from 2.6 to 3.1% in the 2024-2025 period. No substantial variations are expected in the gross government debt which, too, is a very good macroeconomic indicator for Bulgaria, Todorov commented.

He recalled BCCI's national priorities: Bulgaria's accession to the Eurozone, to land-border Schengen, and to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development. Regarding the eurozone, Todorov said that, according to current figures for 2024, Bulgaria's inflation dramatically plummeted from the 2023 level, which is "a good indicator that we will be able to meet this last criterion for eurozone entry."

The Chamber hopes that the new Parliament and the new Parliament-elected government will adopt the relevant legislative acts and rules for the Anti-Corruption Commission so as to meet the eligibility criteria for the second payment under the National Recovery and Resilience Plan. Todorov recalled that this funding must be absorbed by May 2026 and this deadline cannot be extended. "Only the first tranche of EUR 1.3 billion has been received, and another EUR 5 billion is expected, which would help the Bulgarian economy," the BCCI Vice President noted.

The Chamber also highlighted the expectation of the business community for easing the rules on the import of labour with a focus on the Bulgarian diaspora in neighbouring country. The BCCI proposes an option for work permit interviews online, which will speed up and facilitate the process of hiring third-country workers. Another important priority is e-government in the context of pushing back corruption and the grey sector.

/MR/

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By 22:20 on 24.07.2024 Today`s news

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