Bulgaria’s caretaker Government approved on April 3 a package of unemployment measures and one-off payments for socially-vulnerable groups, worth 40.9 million leva (about 20.9 million euro); a total of 100 000 people were expected to receive benefits from the package, caretaker Prime Minister Marin Raykov said.
About 16 000 people were expected to find jobs after the allocation of 30.4 million leva to various programmes meant to reduce unemployment. The remaining 10.5 million leva would be paid out as one-off state subsidies – as maternity benefits, to families with disabled children, as well as aid to help pay utility bills.
Additionally, state-funded soup kitchens, which are usually run only during winter, will work without interruption for the rest of the year.
The unemployment package was targeting several groups, including those aged under 29, disabled people, parents with children aged under five and people who had been out of a job for more than a year.
The Cabinet will fund the package using cuts at government agencies, as well as moneys initially meant for infrastructure projects – after the measures were announced last week, the caretaker government was accused of populism by GERB, the party in government until February.
The measures were presented on April 2 in the consultative council that brings together representatives of the government, trade unions and employer organisations. The latter left proceedings in protest over recent legislative amendments that required the council’s members to disclose their assets despite not being part of the civil service.
Prior to exiting the council, representatives of the employers groups said that they endorsed the measures drafted by the Cabinet.
(Bulgaria’s Cabinet building. Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)