Bulgarian MPs passed the 2014 Budget Act at first reading on November 14, with 116 votes in favour from the two parties in government – the socialists and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF). Opposition party GERB voted against and MPs for ultra-nationalist party Ataka abstained.
Parliament passed the health care and social security budgets earlier this week, but failed to pass the judiciary budget, which had only 72 votes in favour, with 24 against and 114 abstentions.
The Budget vote was preceded by the usual political grandstanding that accompanies such votes in Bulgaria’s Parliament. The talking points were equally familiar to even the casual observers of Bulgarian politics – the ruling coalition praised the Budget while attacking their predecessors in office, GERB bemoaned the lack of any reforms in health care and education, while Ataka leader Volen Siderov described the Budget as “maintaining Bulgaria’s colonial dependence.”
Bulgaria’s 2014 Budget bill envisions a sharply increased debt ceiling and more deficit spending to fuel economic growth, which is forecast at 1.8 per cent, banking on favourable developments in the European Union, which is Bulgaria’s main trading partner, and an increase in household demand domestically.
(Photo: Clive Leviev-Sawyer)