Happy International Women's Day! Bulgaria's political scene promises to be frenetic over the next few weeks as campaigning begins for the April 4 election. The current frontrunner in the polls, GERB, gave a teaser of their agenda. Meanwhile, opposition party BSP demanded that Prime Minister and GERB leader Boyko Borissov be sanctioned for using state resources during his cross-country jeep tours since the campaign's official launch on March 5. The Central Election Commission (CEC) has rejected a request by Democratic Bulgaria to allow an independent audit of the voting machines that will be used in the upcoming elections, the coalition said. Read more about the main players in the coming elections and what to expect here.
Violations in tenders involving EU funds continue
A number of state institutions publishing tenders with EU funding set inexplicable requirements in the criteria for candidates, thus restricting competition, said the annual report of the Executive Agency for Audit of European Union Funds (EAEC) for tender irregularities. Not only does the agency say that's unnecessary, but it also points out that these practices are contrary to the Public Procurement Act (PPA). Some violations may be caused by incompetence and ignorance of the law, but others may hide an attempt to set up a contract for a specific contractor. The irregularities may result in financial corrections to the respective projects but the EAEC itself does not have sanctioning powers.
GERB promises higher salaries and no tax changes
GERB will again be pinning their re-election hopes on promised wage hikes as they did in the previous elections in 2017. Now, the party leading in the polls is promising to raise the minimum wage to 500 euro (currently 332 euro) and the average salary to 1000 euro (currently 735 euro).
Also, GERB is promising the introduction of the euro as a national currency by 2024 and no changes to tax policy in the coming years (though they did break that promise last year by shaking up the VAT system). The party also suggests financial decentralization for the 265 Bulgarian municipalities - a move that experts and local authorities have been pushing for ages, but which GERB has always resisted.
Eurohold secures funding for 31 million dollars from the GEM Global Yield fund
A week after announcing plans to raise 100 million euro on the Bulgarian Stock Exchange, Eurohold takes another step towards securing the funding for the 335 million euro deal for the purchase of CEZ energy holding's Bulgarian assets. The holding company announced that it has secured a funding commitment from GEM Global Yield LLC SCS worth 31 million dollars (26 million euros). The fund is part of the Global Emerging Markets Group, which has investments in over 70 countries for 3.4 billion levs.