Radev blames WCC for Eurozone delay
President Rumen Radev has blamed WCC for Bulgaria's failure to join the Eurozone. The party, headed by prime minister Kiril Petkov, led the regular cabinet last year. "Some politicians want us to enter the Eurozone through the back door, as they entered politics and as they imagine the solutions to many of the problems," claimed Radev, clearly referring to former WCC finance minister Assen Vassilev.
Vassilev had earlier attacked the Radev-appointed caretaker cabinet for failing to expedite negotiations in line with the directive from the National Assembly. This would have enabled Bulgaria to become part of the eurozone from 1 January 2024.
On February 17 acting Finance Minister Rossitsa Velkova said that Bulgaria would not adopt the euro from the beginning of next year, citing failure to fulfil important criteria regarding legislation and inflation.
Coal plant becomes uncompetitive
Since the beginning of February, the state-owned thermal power plant Maritsa-Iztok 2 has been unable to sell its electricity on the energy exchange.
From mid-2021, and throughout 2022, the plant was working at full capacity and reported huge revenues and profits due to high electricity prices. However, prices have now fallen. This means that the thermal power plant will function less effectively and will start reporting millions of losses.
Coal-produced electricity is more expensive due to the high carbon price and operating costs. As a result, on working days the capacity utilization is below 60%.
Bulgaria is 2nd in EU list of road deaths
Romania and Bulgaria reported the highest and second highest number of road deaths in the EU last year as a proportion of the population respectively, according to EC data.
The overall ranking of the countries by the number of deaths has not changed significantly compared to 2020 - in 2022 the roads were the safest in Sweden and Denmark (respectively 21 and 26 deaths per one million citizens), while the number of road deaths is highest in Romania and Bulgaria (respectively 86 and 78 per one million citizens).
The EU average is 46 deaths per million citizens.