Happy new year and welcome back to the daily news section which relaunches after ten days of holiday hiatus! We kick off with news from Finance Minister Assen Vassilev's press conference. Vassilev told journalists on Tuesday that the 2022 draft budget will be ready by mid-January and will then be put before Parliament. He added that planned expenditure will stick to the EU-wide Maastricht stipulation that the deficit should remain under the 3 percent of GDP barrier, excluding an additional 1-1,5 billion euro extra Covid-related stimulus. On top of that
Finance Minister announces ambitious 6 bln euro infrastructure package for the next 4 years
The plan includes the construction of four or five bridges over the Danube river, three tunnels under the Balkan mountain and the completion of the Hemus highway connecting Sofia to Varna and Ruse in Northern Bulgaria. These plans were already outlined by Transport Minister Nickolay Sabev in mid-December, with Mr Vassilev clarifying on Tuesday that priority would be given to projects that have already been designed and have undergone environmental impact studies.
Bulgarian Development Bank issues 30 mln euro credit line for tourism SMEs
The announcement came after Economy and Innovations Minister Daniel Lorer and his Tourism counterpart Hristo Prodanov signed a memorandum for cooperation on Tuesday. The new program will commence under the name "Support for Tourism" and aims at giving hotel and restaurant owners financial help with overdue payments and ongoing liabilities to the state. The credit from the Development Bank (BDB) could be repaid in 2 years under preferential conditions and its maximum amount depends on the size of the company - 250,000 euro for companies with up to 49 employees and 375,000 euro for larger ones.
Internal Minister Boyko Rashkov claims that 30-40% of Hemus highway funds were siphoned off to GERB
The Interior Minister said that there is "little doubt that 30-40 percent of the advance payments for the construction of Lot 5 of Hemus highway were not used for construction but went to one particular political party - GERB." This was his message to journalists after a two-hour-long interrogation at the Sofia City Prosecutor's Office on Tuesday. The Prosecution questioned the minister about his claims, made in December, that he knows where the money paid in advance for the construction of the highway has been siphoned to. Mr Rashkov claims that the Prosecution deliberately ignored Interior Ministry reports on the topic throughout last year.