Bulgarian Prime Minister Plamen Oresharski asked – and received – on June 19 Parliament’s support for a vague package of measures meant to keep “civil peace in the name of stabilisation of the nation.”
Addressing Parliament, Oresharski said: “I stand in front of all Bulgarian citizens and MPs to ask for your temporary support for an emergency package of stabilising and pressing measures to improve the situation of Bulgarian citizens, the business climate and democratisation of government.”
The motion passed with 107 votes in favour and one abstention. Opposition party GERB, true to Boiko Borissov’s promise a day earlier, did not attend the session.
The measures listed by Oresharski included raising the minimum salary starting on October 1, although he did not venture a proposal by how much; expanding state aid for energy bills; increasing the state aid for maternity leave and for households with first-graders.
Oresharski said that the Cabinet will pay all outstanding debts to private companies that have completed public procurement tenders by August 30.
Other measures in the package – listed by Oresharski without offering further details – will include measures meant to protect citizens from monopolies, preventing an electricity price hike, improve the business climate and reduce the administrative burden on businesses, amendments to the public procurement and electoral legislation, as well as the fight against contraband.
In his address, Oresharski conceded that the proposal of controversial MP Delyan Peevski as director of the State Agency for National Security was a mistake. The decision prompted anti-government protests set to continue with a sixth rally in as many days on June 19, with participants demanding the resignation of the Cabinet.
“A resignation would be a very simple personal decision for me. But it would be irresponsible on my behalf to cause even greater chaos in the country, to trigger early elections that would be held under the current Electoral Code, to fail to complete work on strategic documents in negotiations with the European Commission for the next budgeting period and risk the loss of 15 billion euro over the next seven years,” Oresharski said.
Although the details of the package – which to a large extent follows the blueprint of the equally vague “Oresharski plan” used by the socialists as their election manifesto – remain scarce, Oresharski said that the measures will be implemented by the end of the year.
Despite saying that Bulgaria was on the verge of economic collapse when he took office, Oresharski did not offer any estimate of the additional cost, if any, of his “stabilisation package.”
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)