On Wednesday came the first sitting of the new National Assembly. But, beyond the headlines, Chief Health Inspector Angel Kunchev warned that the downward trend for new Covid-19 infections has ended. In the past two weeks, Bulgaria recorded 141 new cases per 1 million population. But, on a weekly basis, the health authorities have recorded a 59 percent increase in new infections. While the country remains in the "green" zone according to common European criteria, this could quickly change by September, Mr Kunchev said.
New Parliament: Cabinet formed within two weeks, or new elections
The 240 elected MPs gave their oaths on Wednesday as the 46th National Assembly convened for the first time. The anti-GERB majority voted constitutionalist Iva Miteva to preside over the Parliament, the same MP from Slavi Trifonov's There is such a people (TISP) party who was elected chair during the previous short-lived Parliament.
Leaders from most parties pledged to engage in dialogue with other parties, and try to form a stable government. Todor Yordanov from TISP, which is now the biggest party with 65 MPs, said that his faction has no significant differences with other "protest parties". He added that, if their desire for change was truly genuine, they should be able to form a government within the next "14-15 days."
Revised EU Recovery plan has to be approved by Parliament: Pekanov
On Tuesday evening, caretaker deputy Prime Minister for European funds Atanas Pekanov published the revised version of the EU Recovery plan for public consultation. Sofia remains one of the last EU members not to have sent its draft plan to Brussels for final approval.
Bulgaria should receive up to 6 billion euro from the EU in order to speed up its post-Covid recovery once the plan has been submitted.
Mr Pekanov noted that, after consultations are over, the plan would need to be approved by the new National Assembly. "A caretaker cabinet should not make such significant long-term commitments, as with the part of the plan that concerns the future of Bulgaria's coal regions," the deputy Prime Minister said.
Services exports, FDI remain lower compared to pre-Covid levels: National Bank
Bulgarian export of services reached 2,5 billion euro for the first half of 2021, which is around 200 million euro less than the sum recorded for the same period of 2020 and 21 percent lower than during the pre-Covid year of 2019, Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) data has shown. Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) amounted to 281 million euro for the first half of this year, a notable decrease compared to 2020, when FDI stood at 616 million euro, BNB says, adding that this is preliminary data which would likely be revised upwards in the coming months. The drop in services exports is mostly due to reduced tourist activity, including transport services, BNB notes.