As of yet, there is no such thing as a public opinion regarding the construction of NPP Belene. There is an echo of the attempts of those who support the project to convince the public, as well as their not-so-rational arguments. The media campaign surrounding the referendum changed this completely. Even though they are rather popular, the analyses made by IME and other independent observers have almost no effect on the non-reading audience. This week those who do not agree with the construction of NPP Belene are acting to address all the fallacies concerning the project, which are deeply rooted in the public as a result of the efforts of three consecutive governments and the “door to door” campaign that the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) conducted last summer.
The Public Opinion on Belene
Bulgaria is 42nd in the First Worldwide Index of Human Freedom
New Zealand is leader in human freedom, followed by the Netherlands, Hong Kong, Australia, Canada and Ireland, according to the first edition of the Worldwide Index of Human Freedom published today by the Fraser Institute and the German Liberal Institute with support from the American Cato Institute. This is the first study to combine both economic and personal freedoms. It is based on the annual Economic Freedom of the World by Fraser Institute and builds on them by bringing a new personal freedom component. The index for Bulgaria shows that we have more personal than economic freedoms which is typical of developed countries and especially the European ones.
IME Publishes Database on Local Taxes and Fees
In the spring of 2012 IME sent questionnaires to all 264 municipalities in the country. Our goal was to collect official information on the rates of local taxes and fees as well as on the development of e-services and one-stop-shops. The process of collecting the data, contained in the nearly 200 replies received from municipalities required no less than three months.
2013: We Will be Working for the Government until May 1st
Bulgarians will be working till the 1st of May to pay up their taxes for 2013. Figuratively this is the day when taxpayers will stop working for the government and start earning money 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 this day Tax Freedom Day (TFD). This year’s TFD bears a certain irony because it coincides with Labor Day – traditionally a non-working holiday. Usually in Bulgaria the Tax Freedom Day is in May and in the last 4-5 years it was in early May – the main reasons for this being the crisis, slow economic growth and the budget deficits that we have experienced lately. In other words it looks as if the government spends less but there isn’t much difference between now and a couple of years back.
One of the major difficulties which young people face when looking for their first jobs are previous experience requirements, which employers usually require from applicants. The currently existing internship programs, offered by various businesses, nonprofits and state administration offer an elegant solution to that problem, which benefits both sides – young people receive valuable practical skills and recommendations, employers find competent and enthusiastic employees at a very low (or sometimes no) price. So far, internship programs were not regulated by special legislation, so it was up to employers and interns to arrange this type of labor. This week, however, CEDB announced their plan to impose regulation on these activates by introducing amendments in the Labor code, to come in force in the beginning of 2014.
IME Received the Special Forbes Award for Protection of Economic Freedom
On December 5th 2012 Forbes Bulgaria gave their second annual business awards, given to those who employ the best business practices and encourage entrepreneurship in Bulgaria. At the ceremony held at Sheraton Hotel – Sofia, the Institute for Market Economics received the special Forbes award for protection of economic freedom.