On Thursday the Budget and Finance Committee in Parliament held a hearing of the two candidates for governor of the Bulgarian National Bank (BNB) - Andrei Gyurov from WCC and Lyubomir Karimanski from TISP. The selection of the next governor in the Assembly is expected to take place next week. If you missed this week's Kapital Insights piece on the implications of the contest, read up here. In other news:
Bulgaria can send only flak jackets, helmets to Ukraine: deputy Defense Minister
Bulgaria can only provide Ukraine with military equipment, helmets and body armor. "If our country sends defensive military aid, this does not mean we will be involved in the war," Deputy Defense Minister Yordan Bozhilov told bTV. He added that it is preferable that the Bulgarian Parliament approves any form of military aid that Sofia sends to Kyiv. Mr. Bozhilov pointed out that Bulgaria cannot provide Ukraine, suffering under full-scale Russian invasion, with MiG-29 fighter jets and C-300 anti-aircraft systems, arguing that its own armed forces are experiencing a deficit of viable equipment, which is badly needed to protect Bulgarian airspace.
Refugees and asylum seekers to access free healthcare, Parliament rules
Persons with temporary protection status of refugees or asylum seekers will be insured under the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK) according to the amendments to the Health Insurance Act adopted at first reading by Parliament on Thursday. This will create a legal possibility for refugees to benefit from the full range of medical care paid for by the Health Insurance Fund, Anton Tonev MP (WCC) explains in the motives submitted with the bill. The financing of the measure will be approved by a separate decree of the Council of Ministers in the coming days. Both incoming Ukrainian refugees and people from Syria and the Middle East, who already hold a protection status, will benefit from the amended act.
Bulgarian foreign debt up 7.2% nominally, down to 55% of GDP in January 2022
Bulgaria's gross foreign debt (including private and public) amounts to 41.675 billion euro as of the end of January of this year, which is 7.2 percent (2.790 billion euro) more than a year earlier, Investor.bg writes. It thus represents 55.5 percent of the country's estimated gross domestic product (GDP) according to preliminary data from BNB published on Thursday.