The European Commission has set out four recommendations on steps for Bulgaria to take in 2020 and 2021 as the country faces the new coronavirus pandemic and ensuing economic crisis.
The recommendations are set out in the Commission’s European Semester Spring Package, which includes country-specific recommendations providing economic policy guidance to all EU countries in the context of the coronavirus pandemic.
The Commission said that Bulgaria should take all necessary measures to effectively address the pandemic, sustain the economy and support the ensuing recovery.
When economic conditions allow, Bulgaria should pursue fiscal policies aimed at achieving prudent medium-term fiscal positions and ensuring debt sustainability, while enhancing investment.
The country should mobilise adequate financial resources to strengthen the resilience, accessibility and capacity of the health system, and ensure a balanced geographical distribution of health workers.
The second policy area recommendation was that Bulgaria should ensure adequate social protection and essential services for all and strengthen active labour market policies, improve access to distance working and promote digital skills and equal access to education and address the shortcomings in the adequacy of the minimum income scheme.
Thirdly, Bulgaria should “streamline and accelerate” the procedures to provide effective support to small and medium-sized enterprises and self-employed, also ensuring their continued access to finance and flexible payment arrangements.
The country should front-load mature public investment projects and promote private investment to foster the economic recovery.
Bulgaria should focus investment on the green and digital transition, in particular on clean and efficient production and use of energy and resources, environmental infrastructure and sustainable transport, contributing to a progressive decarbonisation of the economy, including in the coal regions, the Commission said.
Bulgaria should minimise the administrative burden on companies by improving the effectiveness of public administration and reinforcing digital government.
It should ensure an effective functioning of the insolvency framework, and step up the efforts to ensure adequate risk assessment, mitigation, effective supervision and enforcement of the anti-money laundering framework, the Commission said.
(Photo: EU audiovisual service)
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Section supported by the Embassy of Switzerland