The European Public Prosecutor's Office (EPPO) comes into operation from today. "The first supranational prosecution service is launching its operations to protect EU taxpayers' money, competent to investigate and prosecute crimes like money laundering, corruption, and cross-border VAT fraud", announced the European Commission. Now, anyone can report a crime, in their own language, at the institution's website.
The website lists the categories of crimes that fall within the competence of the EPPO:
- Cross-border VAT fraud totaling at least 10 million euro.
- Other types of fraud affecting the EU's financial interests.
- Corruption that harms or is likely to harm the EU's financial interests.
- Мisappropriation of EU funds or assets by a public official.
- Money laundering through fraud with EU funds.
- Organized crime to commit crimes against the EU budget.
- Other crimes, inextricably linked to some of the above.
Budget deficit of 173 million levs
The deficit is not surprising given the rapid rate of increase of budget expenditures - as much as 26% on an annualized basis compared to about 16% increase in revenues. The 2021 Budget has been set at a deficit of 4.9 billion levs at the end of the year. However, this estimate is based on the assumption that anti-crisis measures would have been available until March. But in recent months many of them have been extended until June through expenditures' restructuring.
State-owned BDB refuses to provide credit files on large loans
"The credit files are ready, but we won't give them to you." Using this exact quote, according to the Economy Minister Kiril Petkov, the management board of the state-owned Bulgarian Development Bank (BDB) refused to provide data to the audit committee appointed by Petkov. According to the Minister, this is a violation of the Independent Financial Audit Act, and he announced that he would refer the matter to the BNB today.
Standard & Poor's affirms Bulgaria's BBB rating and stable outlook
Strong domestic demand has limited the economic contraction so far, but slow vaccination efforts could extend the expected economic recovery, according to the report. In the medium term, EU fund inflows, including from the Next Generation EU instrument, will support economic growth. The agency expects that Bulgaria's economic recovery over the next two years will not incur any external or financial sector imbalances which should enable quick fiscal consolidation and keep public debt low.