Bulgaria’s caretaker Cabinet approves Covid-19 recovery plan

Bulgaria’s caretaker Cabinet approved on October 14 the country’s Recovery and Resilience Plan, a proposal for funding under the European Union’s NextGenerationEU stimulus package meant to bolster member states’ recovery from the Covid-19 pandemic.

Bulgaria is one of the last EU countries to submit its proposal, which is expected to be formally presented to the European Commission on October 15, Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European funds Atanas Pekanov told reporters after the weekly Cabinet sitting.

The plan features 59 investment projects and 46 proposed reforms, with 12.9 billion leva, or about 6.2 billion euro, in direct funding and an additional 8.1 billion leva in additional investment, Pekanov said.

Initially drafted by previous administration under Prime Minister Boiko Borissov in October 2020, the funding proposal was revised three times earlier this year.

According to reports in Bulgarian media, the caretaker Cabinet’s draft in July was rejected by EU institutions due to failure to meet EU climate change goals, including a target date for shutting down coal-fuelled power plants.

In the final fifth draft, Bulgarian authorities set two possible dates for such a shutdown, 2038 or 2040, contingent on the findings of a technological analysis. Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev told reporters that Bulgaria would also like a later date if possible.

The latest draft of Bulgaria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan is yet to be made public in full, but Pekanov said that it put more emphasis on decarbonisation, offered more support to businesses by introducing financial instruments, as well as more investment in the social sector and judiciary reform.

(Caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev, right, and caretaker Deputy Prime Minister in charge of European funds Atanas Pekanov during the media briefing after the Cabinet sitting on October 14. Photo: government.bg)

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