Bulgaria and the politics of pension bonuses

The Bulgarian Socialist Party government has been at pains to claim that its decision to hand out pension bonuses at Easter is not linked to the country’s European Parliament elections just more than a month later – but opposition parties have criticised the move variously as vote-buying and as an admission of failure to reform the pension system.

The handout at Easter will cost about 57.7 million leva (about 28.85 million euro) to give all of Bulgaria’s about 2.1 million pensioners sums of varying sizes.

Most of Bulgaria’s pensioners, those above the 251 leva poverty threshold, will get 20 leva (about 10 euro). About 738 000 pensioners, those getting 151 to 250 leva, will get 30 leva and about 327 000 people, those getting 150 leva, will get 40 leva.

According to the government, the 57.7 million leva will be funded through “cost savings” and transfers from other items in the national budget.

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