In the first week of October, Bulgaria will present to the European Commission the package of implemented reforms necessary to receive the second payment under the National Recovery and Sustainability Plan. This was announced by the Minister of Finance Asen Vassilev at a meeting with businesses organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria.
"The government's goal is to fulfill the budget with the set deficit of 3% this year. We can fit into this barrier without having to make any hard choices because the money is here and there. The question is that they should be spent in a way that is best for the state and for the development of the economy," commented the finance minister. Expectations are to maintain the 3 percent budget deficit framework next year as well, with the Ministry of Finance planning to increase revenues from brightening the economy without changing tax rates.
In his speech to the representatives of American business, Asen Vasilev analyzed the reforms and changes that must be implemented in the budget sectors. According to him, it is necessary to review the entire system of concessions, the method of distribution of agricultural subsidies, the spending of funds in health care, as well as the budget of the Health Fund. He added that in relation to social payments, the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy is working on a new approach to support a database of all income that a person receives other than benefits and as additional funds from rents, annuities, etc.
"In the 2024 budget, we do not envisage dramatic and revolutionary changes, rather, where there are problems and distorted relations in the economic environment, they will be straightened out. We need to continue the direction of lightening the revenue part and we are taking measures there. Some of them are in the changes to the tax laws that we have prepared," the finance minister announced.
On the question of where he sees the balance between Europe's "green transition" and the economic cost of it, Asen Vasilev pointed out that currently there is energy in Europe that is about two to three times more expensive than in the US and about twice as expensive than the one in China. "If we talk about the gas, things go from seven to ten times difference. With such a price of energy, European industry becomes uncompetitive. This is also starting to be realized and increasingly talked about," he commented. According to him, there will be a rebalancing of European policy in this direction, so that this difference in energy prices is reduced so that European industry can remain competitive.
The "green transition" that we set in the National Plan for Recovery and Sustainability was made in a way that would not dramatically increase the price of energy in the country. If we make the greenest transition, but the price of energy jumps twice, it is suicide both for the economy and for our society as a whole," commented the minister. According to him, it is very important to think about how all countries should take action in this direction and for Europe to find options to make energy competitive with the rest of the world.