While Bulgarian politicians keep silent about their post-election plans, the member of the Strategic Council to the Head of State Prof. Alexander Marinov told Bulgarian National Radio that creating a government would be "impossible." Meanwhile, Bulgarian medics marked World Health Day by commemorating the deaths of 120 health workers during the past year of the pandemic. Also on Wednesday, a rushed attempt by the Health Ministry to change the management of 65 national hospitals and clinics that could have been done at any time - but was left until after the elections - angered many professionals. Talking of controversial government decisions
Cabinet approves concession fees delay for Sofia airport operator amid protests
Shortly after the leaders of two opposition parties - BSP's Kornelia Ninova and Democratic Bulgaria's Hristo Ivanov - warned that Prime Minister Boyko Borissov's outgoing government was planning to give a last-minute free pass to the concessionaire of Sofia Airport not to pay fees for ten years, the cabinet approved the move. Despite criticism, the authorities approved the motion of Transport Minister Rossen Zhelyazkov to defer payments that SOF Connect company owes the state over the next ten years for the end of the 35-year period it will operate the airport. "All European states took steps to support their flight industries," Mr Zhelyazkov commented. SOF Connect, owned by the Meridiam fund and the Strabag construction company, already announced plans to postpone expanding the airport with a third terminal, also part of the concession agreement.
Bulgarian life expectancy down 1,5 years in 2020: Eurostat
According to Eurostat data, Bulgaria has been among the EU countries worst hit by the pandemic, with average life expectancy dropping 1,5 years compared to 2019. Bulgarians are now expected to live only 75,1 years, the statistics agency says, compared to 73,6 years before. Only Spain fared worse, with life expectancy dropping 1,6 years - from a much higher baseline. Men in Bulgaria were hit harder than women, losing an average 1,7 years of life. Lithuania, Poland and Romania are also badly affected, statistics show.
Only 4 percent of SMEs that applied for Covid support funding have received promised funds
Ten months after thousands of Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises (SMEs) applied for Covid support funding under the Innovation and Competition program of the EU in Bulgaria, only 60 companies have received funding as of 1 April 2021, Capital.bg writes. While 1,548 contracts worth 106 million euro have been signed, less than 4 million euro has been paid, the Ministry of Economy told the newspaper. This means that only 4 percent of companies that applied for grants worth between 15 and 75,000 euro, to pay employees and other running costs, have received them. The ministry claims that an additional 101 contracts worth 7 million euro would be transferred soon, but the percentage remains miniscule.