The second day of Bulgaria's 45th National Assembly had observers transfixed. Parliament accepted the resignation of Boyko Borissov's 3rd cabinet with all parties, excluding GERB, voting in favor. The decision was received with loud applause. Borissov himself was not present (conveniently, he's on paid leave starting today) and was rebuked for abdicating responsibility for the crisis. One example is:
The disbandment of the National Coordination Unit for Covid-19
Late on Thursday, the government announced that the National Coordination Unit for Covid-19, in operation since February 2020, would shut down. The announcement came with no explanation and caused massive indignation. Later, the Ministry of Health was forced to clarify that the Minister of Health Prof. Kostadin Angelov and the Chief Health Inspector Prof. Angel Kunchev will continue to inform the public on the spread of the virus, anti-Covid measures, and vaccination rates. They will give a briefing with further information on Monday.
The economics institute in Vienna sees a permanent loosening of Bulgaria's fiscal stance
The Vienna Institute for International Economic Studies (WIIW) released its latest economic outlook on Central, East, and Southeast Europe on Thursday. The report says that economists expect Bulgaria's fiscal stance to remain loose in 2021 because of the continued Covid-related state aid but also due to the large social policy package not directly related to the pandemic. This includes the significant increase in public sector wages and pensions, which "will not be of a one-off nature but will be carried over in future budgets as well", according to the report. "Consequently, an enduring shift towards a looser fiscal stance can be expected."
The institute's core prognosis for the region is that economies will gradually emerge from the third wave of the pandemic during the spring as vaccination rates improve and countries begin to reopen. According to WIIW's estimates, Bulgarian GDP will increase by 2.5% in 2021 and 3.1% in 2022.
Bulgarian National Bank revises inflation outlook upward
According to the central bank's most recent outlook, inflation in Bulgaria will accelerate to 3% this year. The estimate is 1 percentage point higher than the December outlook. The revision is necessitated by international oil and good prices which are rising higher than was expected several months ago. Also, the central bank advises that the prices of services might also increase as a result of higher transport and food costs.