Good afternoon on Thursday. As the parties squabble and engage in endless hearings of caretaker ministers, experts - and Prime Minister Stefan Yanev and Minister of Finance Assen Vassilev - urged MPs to approve the state budget so that anti-Covid measures and other government expenditures can continue after 1 October.
No permanent parliamentary budget committee has yet convened and given the current political chaos and the likelihood that this Parliament gets dissolved by the end of the month, such a committee might not even be formed. This might create a huge problem for the state coffers, which have enough money to spend, but no approval to do so.
Bulgaria gets additional 120 million euro for "Competitiveness and Innovation"
Bulgaria and its SMEs will receive a financial boost as the European Commission announced it has approved the modification of six Operational Programmes (OP) for the European Regional Development Fund (ERDF) and the European Social Fund (ESF) under REACT-EU for a total of 2.7 billion euro. Other affected countries are Spain, Italy, Hungary and Germany. In Bulgaria, the ERDF OP "Competitiveness and Innovation" receives an additional 120 million euro. These resources will be used for working capital support for SMEs. It is estimated that some 2,600 SMEs should benefit from the support.
Export, but also trade deficit skyrocket in the first half of 2021
Bulgarian exports reached almost 16 billion euro in the months between January and June 2021, a 20,8 percent increase compared to the first half of 2020, the National Statistics Institute (NSI) announced. For the same period, however, imports reached 17.8 billion euro, a 24,8 percent increase compared to the same period last year, NSI says.
Sofia now runs a trade deficit of 1,8 billion euro, which is a colossal 77,2 percent higher than the deficit for the first half of 2020 that was close to 1 billion euro. The biggest drivers of export costs come from the increased prices and imports of raw materials and fuels, NSI says.
Domestic carrier GullіvАіr launches Sofia-Burgas flights in August, mulls Sofia-Ruse route
Bulgarian carrier GullіvАіr announced a new service between the capital and Burgas from 15 August until the end of October. The daily flight from Sofia will leave at 6pm and the return flight from Burgas at 8am. The aircraft used is a 70-seater ATR 72-600 and prices for a one-way ticket start at just below 30 euro (return flights would start at 56 euro). The company is also considering launching another route between Sofia and the Shtraklevo airport near the city of Ruse, which has recently undergone renovation.