According to weekly NSI data on deaths in Bulgaria, nearly 148,000 people have died in 2021. This data is not yet final and will probably undergo a slight upward correction, but nevertheless gives a very good idea of what happened last year. The cause of the high mortality in the country is due to the two waves of excess mortality – mainly March-April and October-November, which follow the pandemic waves. With “regular” mortality rates below 110 thousand per year (in the period of 2009 – 2019) we can conclude that the excessive mortality in 2021 reaches nearly 40 thousand people.
"Economic Policy Review" Bulletin ISSN 1313 - 0544
The term “wage” and its size are very important in national discussions about labor markets, taxes and insurance payments, but also as a part of international comparisons for investors deciding to build a factory or place investments in a specific country. A lot of confusion has been created by the introduction of gross wage, with arbitrary distinction between “employee paid” and “employer paid” taxes and contributions. However, this is balanced out by introduction of total wage cost in international statistics.
There is nothing better than a press conference of a minister announcing a new investor who has chosen Bulgaria for their new investment venture. This is also the dream of every mayor, although mayors do not have much to offer to potential investors. Ministers, unlike mayors, have the arsenal of the State budget at their disposal. Thus, they can use taxpayer money to offer incentives for companies and offer resultant advantages to a selected sector or region.
Only a few weeks ago, IME presented the main challenges in social protection after the pandemic in our country. One of the key messages was that the social policy in the country is unfocused, inefficient and fails to affect poverty and inequality in society. While the main drivers of prosperity are economic recovery, new jobs and rising wages, the role of social policy should be maximally targeted at those most in need, rather than scattering across broad measures with huge scope and low efficiency. We now present a proposal for reform in one of the most precisely targeted social assistance programs - the monthly social benefits.
Regardless of the numerous attempts to tackle gold-plating, it remains one of the main factors disrupting the EU internal market. Recently the importance of tackling gold-plating was once again reinstated with the EU’s ambition to abolish unjust barriers to the single market. Reflecting on said ambition, the Lithuanian Free Market Institute, in cooperation with several EU think-tanks, presents its study “Gold-plating: how to identify and avoid”. It analyses the status quo of gold-plating and possible means of tackling it to achieve EU’s goals towards SMEs and ensuring a flourishing and competitive internal market.
At the end of May, the IME wrote that it was high time for a ramp-up of vaccine efforts in Bulgaria. By this, we meant that the vaccination process should be made the first and foremost governmental priority, and that as many tools as possible should be sought and employed to speed up the pace. The reason was obvious. The country was substantially far behind achieving the set target – vaccinating 70% of the adult population by the end of August. The aforementioned ramp-up of efforts did not follow, with the country gradually plateauing at around 12-13 thousand vaccine doses delivered per day. The results of this today are evident. The end of August has been met with a new wave of virus transmission, with barely 1.2 million Bulgarian adults having completed their vaccination cycle, while the target was for more than 4 million to have done so by this date.
The football season in Bulgaria has begun, and with it, a new contract for television rights has entered into force. The contract is for five seasons (until 2026), and the clubs, as announced by the Bulgarian Football Union (BFS) last year, will BGN earn 6.5 million each season. UEFA reports show that about 7% of the income of the First League teams in Bulgaria comes from television rights. All the leagues in the UEFA top 20 rely more heavily on television rights, with this comprising over half the budget in England. In Romania and Turkey, about 40% of the teams’ income comes from television rights, and for Greece and Poland, that figure is in the range of 20-25%. Given the level of interest and the number of matches that are broadcast live in Bulgaria, we can safely say that the income from TV rights is greatly underestimated.