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Bulgaria keeps 2009 Budget macroeconomic framework

Date: 11.12.2008

Bulgaria’s ruling coalition decided to go keep the macroeconomic framework of next year’s Budget and the planned investment and social spending in spite of the global economic downturn. Sources familiar with the situation told Dnevnik before the December 5 coalition council meeting that party leaders would consider also a pessimistic scenario and might redraft the plan.

Farmers will get 211 million leva from the public investment spending reserve, their first state aid outside EU subsidies, under a proposal of junior partner Movement for Rights and Freedoms, whose predominantly ethnic Turkish voters live in rural areas.

A further 94.5 million leva from the reserve will go for railway infrastructure upgrades, and the rest will be spent on "socially important projects".

Maternity leave will be extended to 12 months from nine months at present, provided that the mother has paid social security contributions for the previous 12 instead of six months, under the proposal of the National Movement for Stability and Progrees party led by former prime minister Simeon Saxe-Coburg.

The cut in Government spending and the budget surplus will be enough to save Bulgaria from the ongoing economic crisis, according to the leaders of the three parties in the ruling coalition.

The three per cent budget surplus target may be slashed to one per cent to make up for a possible gap in public spending.

Macroeconomist Luchezar Bogdanov welcomed the wider scope for spending, but criticised the lack of reforms to boost public sector efficiency.

SofiaEcho

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