On Friday the State Customs Agency announced another record - it collected 444 million BGN in February of this year, which is 146.8 million BGN more than in the second month of last year, or a 50 percent increase. Overall, the Customs Agency has collected 15.2 percent more in import duties and VAT duties this February as compared to last year. In other news:
EU Commission President Ursula von der Leyen to visit Sofia on 8 April over Recovery plan
According to the government press service, the visit is at the invitation of Prime Minister Kiril Petkov and Ms von der Leyen will present the Commission's assessment of the Bulgarian Recovery and Resilience Plan to see whether it complies with European requirements. The submission of the Bulgarian plan has been postponed on several occasions, with the latest version sent to Brussels in early March. The plan includes more than a hundred investments and reforms to boost economic growth and help the Bulgarian economy. Businesses will be supported with grant funding, financial instruments and support for industrial parks.
Parliament, not coalition council to rule on military aid to Ukraine: MPs
The question of Bulgaria's potential provision of military aid to Ukraine will ultimately be decided by the National Assembly, despite the wish of the Democratic Bulgaria parliamentary group for the issue to be resolved at the coalition level, according to information shared by MPs who took part in a coalition council on the topic of Defense, Dnevnik.bg writes. Even if Parliament approves the sending of ammunition and military equipment, however, several high-level officials, including the President and the Defense Minister, have indicated that the state does not have the necessary stocks to do so.
67% of Bulgarians want neutral stance over Ukraine conflict, 60% still back NATO membership
Two-thirds of Bulgarians want the country to remain neutral in the conflict between Russia and Ukraine according to a Market Links survey carried out between 22 and 29 March. A total of 16 percent of respondents think Sofia ought to support Kyiv more proactively, including by delivering weapons, while 21 percent support Russia. However, when it comes to trust in NATO, Bulgarians remain pragmatic - 55 percent say they believe the country cannot guarantee its security outside of the alliance and 60% say that they would vote for Bulgaria to remain in NATO if there was a referendum on the question.