Commission: Bulgaria must continue with structural reforms
Adelina Marini, March 19, 2010
The European Commission published on Wednesday an assessment of the Convergence programmes of 14 EU member states, including Bulgaria. The Convergence programmes are governments' plans to fulfill the Stability and Growth Pact criteria, or to put it in another way - the criteria for good fiscal behaviour. According to the assessment, Bulgaria and Estonia are the only countries among those 14 member states, which plan to keep their budgetary deficit below 3% of GDP, as the Stability and Growth Pact requires.
The Commission defined the efforts of the Bulgarian government to keep a solid budgetary position as adequate against the background of the current economic situation. According to Brussels, Bulgaria reached 1.9% budgetary deficit in 2009 and the government is planning a balanced budget for 2010 and some surplus in 2011-2012.
The consolidation measures, as well as the strong political commitment to a tight fiscal discipline, will partially compensate the not very good growth and revenue perspectives, the Commission says. The plans of the cabinet in Sofia for ambitious reforms are also praised, although it abandoned most of them (healthcare and pension reform). The Commission says, however, that these reforms will boost the sustainability of public finances and economic recovery.
"Given the need to ensure sustainable convergence, Bulgaria is invited to continue pursuing strict fiscal policies as well as to implement the planned structural reforms", the assessment of the Commission recommends.