Bulgaria Marks Poverty Eradication Day as EU Poorest State

Society | October 17, 2010, Sunday // 09:55
Bulgaria: Bulgaria Marks Poverty Eradication Day as EU Poorest State The majority of the Bulgarians say that their incomes have shrunk over the last year, according to a poll of the Open Society Foundation, conducted in March this year. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

As the world observes the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty on October 17, statistics show that Bulgaria continues to be the European Union poorest country as more than half of the population grapple with financial difficulties every day.

Issuing a press release in view of the International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, the UN called on all nations to strive to expand job opportunities and provide safe working conditions for all.

"This year's theme – from poverty to decent work: bridging the gap- focuses attention on decent work, meaningful employment, income-generating livelihoods or in one word: jobs,"the statement reads.

"This is more important now than ever, when the global economic crisis has pushed an estimated 64 million people into poverty and unemployment is up more than 30 million since 2007. More than half of the worlds' working population continues to be in vulnerable employment, where they lack formal working arrangements and social security, and often earn little to provide for their families."

The message also emphasizes on youth employment as young people are three times more likely to be unemployed than adults.

Bulgaria is the European Union's poorest country and it is now going through its first recession in 12 years after a three-year lending boom stalled and foreign investments dried up.

Two decades after the collapse of the communist regime, the average wage in the nation of 7.5 million people was USD 411 in 2009, far below the average salaries in the Czech Republic and Poland, where it is over topped USD 1,000.

Bulgaria's per-capita GDP totaled USD 5,916 last year.

The recovery of the Bulgarian economy, which operates in a currency board regime, is lagging behind that of other Eastern European countries. The government has pledged to stick to a tight fiscal policy and keep the deficit below 3 % by the end of this year.

The cabinet adopted earlier this year a package of austerity measures, freezing public pays and pensions in a bid to reduce the bloating deficit.

It revised up to 1% its economic growth forecast for this year, pinning its hopes on a boost in exports.

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Tags: European Union, UN, International Day for the Eradication of Poverty, poorest, GDP, average wage, Bulgaria

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