In-depth Business Intelligence
of US $
is given out of 208 nations - (data from the World Bank)
Books on Bulgaria
Update No: 133 - (30/06/08)
Crisis loomimg in Sofia, highly critical EU report
The big event this summer was the publication of a highly critical European
Commission report on Bulgaria on June 23 that puts the survival of the
government of Premier Sergei Stanishev gravely in doubt.
On June 16 President Gyorgyi Purvanov made very harsh criticisms of his own
premier, the more striking because he put him in power four years age. He
anticipated a very negative report and chastised Stanishev for appointing
political cronies to top state industry jobs.
The hinterland between industry and the state is indubitably very murky in
Bulgaria, as in many countries. It is jobs for the boys, bribes galore to keep
state officials happy notably tax collectors to look the other way, who belong
to a very lucrative profession there.
Naturally, the general population, who are finding it hard to make ends meet,
are sullenly resentful of the situation. Mayor Borissov of Sofia, the head of
the opposition Bulgaria for Europe Party, is likely to make great political
capital out of it and push for early elections, due by 2009 anyway.
BSP for the birds
The irony is that the party in power is the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP),
which is supposedly for the people. It was founded in 1891, then became the
Communist Party that ruled until 1989, then reverted to being the BSP in 1990,
entering coalition governments in the 1990s.
This somewhat restored its democratic credentials, rather marred in the
commumist period, but not for long. Despite being easily the largest party in
those days, it now faces nemesis. Borissov looks to be the likely beneficiary.
Other opposition parties have other ideas
Bulgaria would not be a democracy, which it now decidedly is, if other people
did not have other ideas. Three opposition parties, who distrust Borissov for
his stewardship of Sofia as much as Stanishev for his of the country, are
LIDER, VMRO and the Agrarian Party are in intense negotiations to form an
electoral bloc by the autumn. Individually their electoral showing is
negligible; collectively it might be impressive. The stumbling block as always
is who is to be the leader.
Tax reformer supreme
Meanwhile, Stanishev has been voted by the Doing Business 2008 report of the
World Bank as the world's Number One tax reformer. The Socialist government has,
indeed, been highly innovative in this respect, introducing the flat tax and
other measures to motivate businessmen.
But it is the people at large who count in a democracy. They are not so
appreciative of the redistribution of wealth from the poor to the rich or the