The first working week of May promises to be short, but interesting, with parliament poised to finally vote to approve military aid to Ukraine on Wednesday, a day after a coalition council of the four ruling parties planned for this afternoon. Signs point to the various factions settling for an aid formula that will somehow satisfy both BSP, which rejects military aid, and the other three parties that are in favor. While surprises are always possible in Bulgarian politics, the coalition appears likely to survive. In other news:
Bulgaria goes up to 91st place in Reporters Without Borders press freedom ranking
Sofia has infamously remained at the bottom of the ranking of all EU countries in the annual press freedom ranking of the international media watchdog for the past decade, with her worst year being 2016, when it ranked 116th. The main reason for Sofia's improved score is that the change of government has brought hope for an improved media landscape. Another factor is that Greece has dropped to 107th place due to the assassination of journalist Giorgos Karaivaz. Also that RSF has changed its methodology to focus more on quantifiable data rather than the more subjective qualitative interviews with local stakeholders.
Kozloduy Nuclear Power Plant records 1 billion BGN in profit for Q1 of 2022
Bulgaria's Nuclear Power Plant (NPP) earned about 10 million BGN per day in the first quarter of this year, for a total of 954 million BGN for the period. By comparison - for the same time last year the company reported a seven time smaller profit of 137.7 million BGN. This is the effect of the high electricity prices on the Bulgarian Energy exchange in recent months. A year ago the average exchange level was around 100 BGN/MWh, while in March 2022 it reached 500 BGN/MWh.
Finance Ministry announces 800 million BGN budget surplus for April
In April, traditionally a strong month for tax revenues, the Ministry of Finance reported a surplus of over 880 million BGN due to more income from paid taxes, but also because of a slower growth rate of state expenditures. The state coffers would have ended up in the red if the 1.2 billion BGN that remained unspent by the end of last year had not been not moved to this year's budget. The state reports having collected 17.8 billion BGN in April, which is a little over a billion more than last year's results (6.5 percent growth compared to the same period last year). The Ministry specifies that the growth is mainly due to more tax and insurance payments, which are 1.04 billion BGN or 8.2 percent above last year's.