Bulgaria: 2024 State Budget Faces Dissent from Social Partners, Urgent Cabinet Meeting Planned

Business » FINANCE | November 22, 2023, Wednesday // 11:45
Bulgaria: Bulgaria: 2024 State Budget Faces Dissent from Social Partners, Urgent Cabinet Meeting Planned

The 2024 state budget bill encountered resistance from several social partners on Tuesday, as revealed in a meeting of the National Council for Tripartite Cooperation. Finance Minister Assen Vassilev disclosed that objections from unions and employer organizations prompted an extraordinary Cabinet session on November 24 to address concerns about the proposed budget, along with those of the National Health Insurance Fund and the State Social Insurance. Vassilev expressed hope for legislative approval of these budgets by December 22, after necessary adjustments.

Responding to unions' calls for increased public sector funding, Vassilev emphasized the need to reallocate resources rather than conjure additional funds out of thin air.

While the minimum wage in Bulgaria is set to rise to BGN 933 from January 1, 2024, it will remain the lowest in the region.

The social partners presented divergent stances during the deliberations. The Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria urged additional funding of BGN 600 to 700 million for various sectors, citing underfunding in health, education, agriculture, and urban transport. Meanwhile, the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria (AICB) and Bulgarian Industrial Association expressed concerns about diminished reform aspirations, refusing support for the budget. Conversely, the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry offered its backing, while the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria and the Union for Private Economic Enterprise withheld full approval.

Amidst conditional support, the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions in Bulgaria signaled readiness for protests, emphasizing wage growth expectations in sectors like agriculture and transport. The Podkrela Confederation of Labour voiced support for the draft state budget.

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Tags: budget, Bulgaria, social, Vassilev

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