Budget Consultations between President, Parties Reach Deadlock

Politics » DOMESTIC | August 1, 2014, Friday // 14:57
Bulgaria: Budget Consultations between President, Parties Reach Deadlock Photo by BGNES

Politicians remained at loggerheads over amendments to the state budget at consultations which they attended at Bulgaria's Presidency on Thursday.

Their meeting was called by President Rosen Plevneliev after GERB party announced it would withdraw his support from amendments to the 2014 budget and additional allocations to the National Health Insurance Fund (NZOK).

The center-right opposition had initially backed the move in Parliament.

Parties in Parliament, but also those who sent an MEP to Brussels in May, attended the talks.

GERB leader Boyko Borisov explained he was ready to make concessions on healthcare expenditures.

He was quoted by Dariknews.bg as saying after the talks that his MPs would back additional funding for NZOK on Monday.

Plevneliev urged political leaders to overcome differences and show unity to pass the proposals made by the Council of Ministers.

"If this budget is not given support, the situation in this state will be critical," Plevneliev told party representatives.

He reminded that the next National Assembly, which will be formed after the Octobe 5 general vote, might be "unable to create a new government" and also that Bulgaria "might not have [a cabinet] in November, December" if this scenario unfolds.

He also warned that unless they support the update, politicians might foment instability.

Center-right Citizens for European Development of Bulgaria (GERB) announced it would not renounce its decision to reject the budget overhaul at the final reading on Monday, August 4.

The Movement for Rights and Freedoms (DPS) made it clear it would not change its position in support of both the state budget update and the boosting of healthcare expenditures.

DPS leader Lyuvti Mestan declared that public interest should not fall victim to party infighting. He stressed that he could not "understand" the political game that is being played out when "everybody" would back the budget amendments at least for NZOK, but his "would not happen".

The Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP), however, does not deem it possible to back the proposals.

"In history there has never been a Council of Ministers having [BGN] 3.5 B at disposal without knowing what they would be spent on," recently elected BSP Chairman Mihail Mikov explained.

He refuted Plevneliev's warnings that Bulgaria is facing "a critical" state if the amendments are not supported by saying that future mistakes of a future "incompetent" government could not be a justification to boost the budget.

"The President's tone was surprising, it is obvious that he will be an active player in the election campaign," Mikov told the Bulgarian National Radio after the talks.

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Tags: Rosen Plevneliev, Mihail Mikov, Lyutvi Mestan, Boyko Borisov, DPS, GERB, BSP, presidency, budget, NZOK
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