Bulgaria’s Parliament votes Orthodox Easter bonuses for pensioners below poverty line

Bulgaria’s Parliament voted on April 12 to approve the second reading of amendments to the state social security budget to enable the payment of a supplement of 100 leva at Orthodox Easter this year to pensioners who are below the poverty threshold.

The amendments, tabled by Boiko Borissov’s GERB-UDF and the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF), were approved ahead of Orthodox Easter, this year from May 3 to 6, and Bulgaria’s European Parliament and early National Assembly elections, to be held on June 9.

The sum will be paid to those whose pension or the sum of the pensions, together with the supplements and compensations to them for the month of April 2024, is in up to 526 leva inclusive. The measure will cost 59 million leva.

The vote was 138 for and none against, with 42 abstentions.

GERB-UDF, the MRF, Vuzrazhdane and the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) and most of ITN – Parliament’s smallest group – voted in favour, while We Continue the Change-Democratic Bulgaria and one ITN MP abstained.

MPs rejected a proposal by the BSP that all pensioners should receive a 50 leva supplement for the Easter holidays.

When first tabled, the proposal was for Easter supplements of 75 leva, while Vuzrazhdane tabled an amendment – rejected – for all pensioners to get a bonus of 100 leva.

WCC-DB MP Iskren Mitev said: “We will not participate in this competition of who is more generous and the people who want to separate Bulgarian pensioners on the brightest holidays.

“The truth is that this decision is unfair. Five hundred thousand people will receive 100 leva each, and one million and half nothing, this is discrimination,” Mitev said.

(Photo: Photo: Vassia Atanassova – Spiritia)

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