Bulgaria’s coalition government negotiations: Agreement not to cut pensions

The four parties to the talks on policies of a possible future coalition government of Bulgaria agreed on November 26 that as of January 1, pensioners should not receive less money than at present.

After the advent of the Covid-19 crisis in Bulgaria, the previous government decided to pay additional sums to pensioners, a policy continued by the caretaker government, with pensioners now receiving an additional 120 leva a month.

The agreement came on the fourth day of negotiations convened by the We Continue the Change (WCC) party, which in the November 14 early parliamentary elections won the largest share of seats in the new National Assembly and thus will be the first to receive a mandate to seek to form a government.

The consultations, streamed live online, involve WCC, the Bulgarian Socialist Party, Slavi Trifonov’s ITN party and the Democratic Bulgaria coalition seeking consensus on policies in 18 areas.

The working group on labour and social policy agreed to link the calculation of the minimum salary to the national average, with a final sum to be decided after consulting employer organisations and trade unions.

Current measures introduced to assist businesses retain employees in the face of the Covid-19 crisis are to continue into next year.

The working group accepted a proposal by WCC co-leader Assen Vassilev, former finance minister in the caretaker government and moderator of the session, to step up penalties for failing to disclose full amounts of salaries and social insurance payments.

This was a reference to paying employees sums in cash over and above their official pay.

Vassilev proposed that not only the employer should be penalised, but also the accountant and the employee.

November 26 also saw meetings of the working groups on national security, tourism and sport.

This phase of consultations is scheduled to conclude on November 27 with meetings of the working groups on finance and on international relations.

Plans are that after the consultations have concluded, leaders of the participating parties and coalitions will hold talks to iron out any outstanding issues.

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The Sofia Globe staff

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