Tug of war: Bulgaria 2030 national development programme

Within the frameworks of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation (NCTC) representatives of the government, employers and trade unions discussed the Ministry of Finance draft of a national development programme up to the year 2030.

The national programme is regarded as a document of crucial significance as, in practice, it is to set down the directions in development policies in all sectors of governance. Called “Bulgaria 2030” it formulates strategic objectives among which technological transformation, demographic renewal, reducing inequality, restricting early school leaving from 12.7 down to 7 percent, reducing the portion of the population at risk of poverty or social exclusion – from 32.8 to 25 percent.

Overall, the business organizations represented at the NCTC say the directions of development are the right ones, though they did make a number of suggestions. The Bulgarian Industrial Association commented that as regards GDP growth, addressing regional imbalances and income inequality, besides ambitious, the aims should be realistic as well. The Confederation of Employers and Industrialists (KRIB) in Bulgaria stated their “full support” and “appreciation’ of the government’s efforts to develop a strategic document covering the next 10 years. However the Confederation wants the programme to be more “detailed” so it may correspondent to the “dynamics of societal relations”. KRIB is to take part in subsequent discussions at all levels but will refrain from any assessments whether it supports specific policies or not because no specific aims in the individual economic sectors can, at this stage, be predicted. Support for the government sector was also expressed by the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association with the proviso that the document includes targets that would be hard to achieve, while at the same time some priorities are underrated.

According to the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria (CITUB), the programme ought to be elaborated further so it may lay down the directions of development of the country whoever may be in power. The other big trade union – the Podkrepa Confederation of Labour – on its part stated that what is missing from the programme are measures for combatting the shadow economy and other important indicators such as working conditions and remuneration.

The development aims that have been set down at this time are just the first step towards the development of the final vision that would “serve not just as the basis for dreams but for real steps forward”, was the comment of the Ministry of Finance. Like some of the partners from the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation the government regards the Bulgaria 2030 draft as a “living document” that will undergo changes in the years to come. Before being adopted definitively, by the end of 2020, the strategy will, once again, be put to discussion at the NCTC.

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