Blue card legislation changes
Legislation on the so-called blue card, which allows the recruitment of highly qualified workers from third countries, has finally been amended. The changes, mainly demanded by local IT companies, address a large part of complaints from recent years and will probably lead to a greater flow of people with higher education from countries outside the European Union (EU) into Bulgaria.
The new legislation introduces several significant changes. The first is that the application can now be completed electronically. This overturns a common grievance that applicants have to remain in Bulgaria without working until they pass all the checks of regulatory bodies. Another amendment is that persons granted asylum as refugees can now also apply for a blue card, which was previously outlawed.
Bulgaria slides in democracy rankings
Bulgaria's democracy score worsened in 2022, according to The Economist, which says the country fell four places in the world ranking, its weakest result since 2006.
The annual ranking of worldwide democracies by the Economist Intelligence Unit, the economic and political analysis arm of The Economist, ranked Bulgaria 57th out of 167 countries and territories. This places it in the category of "imperfect democracies", which includes most of the world - 37.3%, almost as much as authoritarian regimes (36.9%). Only 8% of the world's population are classified as living in a true democracy, inhabiting 24 countries worldwide.
E-commerce market grows by 30%
The pandemic has accelerated the already strong growth of e-commerce. In 2021, online sales grew by 29% and exceeded 1.25 billion euros, according to data from the annual report of E-commerce Europe. Growth in 2022 was 30% larger than in 2021, reaching a volume of 1.64 billion euros.
The average annual online shopping cart in Bulgaria is 555 euros per person, says the Bulgarian E-commerce Association (BEA), citing data from the "Passport of the e-commerce industry in Bulgaria 2022".