Since 2012 the Institute for Market Economics (IME) analyzes the social and economic development of Bulgaria’s regions. For your consideration, we present “Regional Profiles: Policy Proposals 2015”.
"Economic Policy Review" Bulletin ISSN 1313 - 0544
During this year we will be working until May 2nd to pay up taxes to the state. Figuratively this is the day when citizens will stop working for the government and start working for themselves. The date marks the time when state coffers will be full if everything produced in the economy is instantly confiscated by tax authorities – we call it Government Freedom Day while worldwide it is best known as Tax Freedom Day.
We recently wrote about TTIP, what it is, what can we generally expect out of it and how the negotiations are going. We still don’t have information about the specifics of the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership, but several big studies that investigate the possible consequences have already been published.
Just before Christmas, it became clear that the prime minister and the two major labor unions had signed a memorandum which not only prevents the increase of the retirement age, but also fundamentally changes the pension model of Bulgaria. Noteworthy, the main figures behind this decision were the same people who in 2010 decided to steal 100 million leva from professional pension funds, thus breaking the Constitution. Later, the Constitutional Court decided in favor of the professional pension funds, but the money was gone and never recovered. Now they want to seize private savings for retirement again.
The ending 2014 passed under the sign of decreasing unemployment and increasing employment. Although a big portion of the population likely still haven’t felt the benefits of the coming favourable tendencies, it is present not only in the leading economic centers, but also in some of areas lagging behind. At the same time the labour market continues to suffer from significant structural problems, and some of the politics, championed by the new government threaten the speed of its recovery.
This article is based on a discussion held in Plovdiv on December 4, 2014 and organized by the Institute for Market Economics and the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom, in cooperation with the Economic Library (Plovdiv). The text reflects the views of the author and should not be considered a summary of the discussion.