The Internal Ministry has launched a large-scale operation linked to the irregular construction of the Hemus highway linking Sofia to Varna. Police have already arrested high-ranking representatives of several companies who have allegedly illegally subcontracted parts of the roadworks to other firms. Internal Minister Boyko Rashkov labeled the construction of Hemus a "pyramid scheme" and promised more arrests and further details in coming days. In other news:
European Commission wants supervision over Prosecutor General to grant Recovery funds
According to caretaker Justice Minister Ivan Dermendjiev, the European Commission has "strongly linked the issue of the public oversight of the acts of the Prosecutor General and his deputies" to the allocation of EU funds under the Resilience and Recovery plan. Mr Dermendjiev added that the caretaker government drafted several amendments that would not require constitutional changes, but would ultimately fulfil Brussels' requirements. These include the possibility of Supreme Prosecutor's Office of Cassation members holding the rank of prosecutors to be able to launch investigations against their superiors, and the potential for the acting Prosecutor General to be suspended from office during an investigation.
EBRD downgrades Bulgarian GDP outlook for 2021, increases it for 2022
The European Bank for Reconstruction and Development (EBRD) has slightly downgraded Bulgaria's expected GDP growth rate for the year to 4.2 percent in its latest Regional Economic Prospects report, published Thursday. Yet it also raised its outlook for the country for 2022 to 4.4 percent, up from 4,0 percent in June. The bank cites low vaccination rates and the political crisis as worrying issues in the medium term.
EBRD expects 5.5 percent growth in Europe, but also warns of serious threats ahead due to increasing energy prices and inflationary pressure.
Outsourcing: 11.2 percent growth in 2020, but less people employed
According to the Bulgarian outsourcing businesses association AIBEST, which covers 677 companies in the sector, outsourcing has increased its share in the economy to 6.6% of GDP in 2020, the equivalent of 3.3 billion euro. At the same time, it has been employing slightly fewer people - just over 77,000 - compared to 78,300 a year earlier. Growth in the sector has also been modest during the pandemic - 11.2 percent on an annual basis, compared to the strong 2019, when it grew 22.5 percent. The top 10 outsourcing companies in the country made 600 million euro last year, the AIBEST report states.