Despite authorities bragging about fighting corruption in recent years, Bulgaria remains at the bottom of the EU in its efforts (or lack thereof), according to Transparency International. A blatant example of lack of transparency is the construction of the last 220 km of the Hemus motorway, where the Road Infrastructure Agency (RIA) sees no problems with evading public procurement rules. On the bright side, most of Bulgaria's regions entered the Covid-triggered crisis in robust shape, with Sofia in pole position.
Sofia is Bulgaria's fastest-growing region
In 2019, Sofia's economy grew by over 15% compared to 2018, making it the country's fastest-growing region. The increase is mainly due to services, with outsourcing dominating. On the other hand, rapid development in the industrial sector accounts for the 13% growth rate of the number two in the ranking - Kardzhali.
Bulgaria at bottom of EU corruption league table
Bulgaria once again ranked last in the EU for tackling corruption, sharing the bottom positions with Hungary and Romania, with an index of 44 out of 100, according to Transparency International's most recent report. Globally, Bulgaria is in 69th place. According to the scale, a 0 corresponds to a "highly corrupt state" and 100 - a "very clean of corruption" country.
The Road Infrastructure Agency sees no problems with Avtomagistrali
There are no breaches of the Road Infrastructure Agency's contract with Hemus motorway's lead construction company - state-owned Avtomagistrali, said RIA chairman Georgi Terziiski. Yet data from sources of Kapital Newspaper shows that 1.2 billion levs in taxpayer money (0.6 billion euro) had already been paid out behind the scenes from Avtomagistrali to certain private companies in 2019 and 2020, in an obvious evasion of public procurement rules. Find out more here.