Sofia is to tighten measures in the light of the rising tide of Covid cases this past week. From Monday, high school students (5th grade and above) will study on a rotation principle but 1st to 4th grades will continue to attend school. And, from Thursday, restaurants, bars, clubs, theaters and cinemas will only be able to host guests at half capacity and must close by 10 pm.
Bulgaria readies for possible Russia-Ukraine conflict
Russia's foreign ministry has called for the withdrawal of NATO troops from Bulgaria and Romania, triggering adverse political reactions. Prime Minister Kiril Petkov said Bulgaria is a sovereign state and joined NATO voluntarily. "As such, the country has the right to organize its defense in coordination with our partners," he said. President Rumen Radev also opposed the Russian ultimatum, calling it "unacceptable". And Defense Minister Stefan Yanev announced the county is working on several contingency plans regarding a potential conflict between Russia and Ukraine. "NATO and the United States have stated that they will not intervene, and Bulgaria has its contribution to NATO's decisions. There may be other consequences for Bulgaria from such a conflict, so we must be ready," the minister said.
State budget in 2022 to be 4.1% of GDP
Government spending will continue to rise this year as the state finances, for the fourth consecutive year, envisage a deficit (5.9 billion levs or 4.1% of GDP), which will be covered by more debt. Also, the state's plan for this year is to spend a record 66 bln levs or 46% of GDP, partly attributable to compensation for higher electricity bills.
"This is a budget that is trying to achieve a lasting change in the parameters and the trajectory of the country's economic prosperity", said Finance minister Assen Vassilev while introducing the new budget bill.
Brussels sees progress in relations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia
A European diplomat stated progress had been achieved regarding Bulgaria's veto on North Macedonia's EU accession negotiations, reported BNR's correspondent in Brussels. The same diplomat said that Brussels will bear this in mind when negotiations begin. However, the issue will not be discussed at the General Affairs Council meeting scheduled for Tuesday.