A very busy day for politics and business in Bulgaria. The National Statistics Office released preliminary FDI data showing 188 million euro entered the country in April, compared to 510 million euro for the same month in 2020. Also, the Defense Ministry announced that the remains have now been located of the MiG-29 fighter that crashed in the Black Sea last week, killing pilot Maj. Valentin Terziev. However, the plane's black box is still to be found.
Bulgaria down 5 places in competitiveness ranking
Bulgaria now occupies 53rd place in the IMD World Competitiveness Ranking for 2021, the lowest in its history. Political instability and the slow vaccination rate, persistent corruption and governance issues as well as limited diffusion of e-solutions for business are quoted as part of the problems plaguing the country. Other issues include the diminishing quality of higher education, continuing brain drain, lack of investment in R&D, as well as increasing energy costs for business. Bulgaria has ranked 48th or 49th among 60 countries throughout the past five years.
N. Macedonia Prime Minister tries to break Sofia-Skopje deadlock
North Macedonia's Socialist Prime Minister Zoran Zaev arrived in Sofia for a series of meetings with Bulgarian political leaders on Thursday. In an attempt to broker lifting of Bulgaria's veto over the launch of EU accession negotiations with his country, Mr Zaev met former Prime Minister Boyko Borissov, BSP leader Kornelia Ninova, caretaker Prime Minister Stefan Yanev and President Rumen Radev (in this order). In an unplanned move, the N. Macedonian leader said he will remain in Bulgaria's capital overnight.
State Prosecution asks US State Department for "more information" on Magnitsky-sanctioned oligarchs
The Supreme Cassation Prosecution published a letter asking the US State Department for more information about the alleged misdeeds of Bulgarian oligarchs Delyan Peevski and Vassil Bozhkov, as well as several of their associates sanctioned under the Magnitsky Act two weeks ago. The official call for information comes after the US Office of Foreign Assets Control and the Bulgarian Financial Ministry listed 83 companies linked to Mr Bozhkov and 11 firms associated with Mr Peevski as falling under the sanctions regime.