The country-specific recommendations are documents prepared by the European Commission for each Member State, which analyse its economic situation and provide tailored policy advice on measures that it should adopt over the coming 18 months. They cover the particular challenges that the Member State is facing in a broad range of areas: the state of public finances, reforms of pension systems, measures to create jobs and to fight unemployment, education and innovation challenges, efficiency of the public administration, competition etc. The final adoption of country-specific recommendations prepared by the Commission takes place at the highest level by national leaders in the European Council.
Bulgaria faces a set of interrelated policy challenges to achieve sustainable, robust growth and has been identified by the European Commission as still experiencing macroeconomic imbalances that require monitoring and policy action in the 2014 in-depth review presented on 5 March 2014. Bulgaria’s economic recovery is expected to pick up in 2014. Nevertheless, the economic rebound is expected to be relatively slow and the labour market is forecast to remain in distress, with only weak recovery in employment and a slight reduction in unemployment projected over 2014-2015. Following three years of budgetary consolidation, the general government deficit increased in 2013, reflecting an expenditure-driven fiscal expansion in that year.
Overall, Bulgaria has made limited progress in addressing the 2013 country-specific recommendations. Bulgaria’s public finances are unlikely to face particular challenges over the short to medium term. The authorities have also taken some steps towards improving tax collection and the business environment. Yet, the plans to tackle challenges in education, health care and youth employment are still in preparation despite years of delays. More needs to be done in the areas of pension reform, energy, taxation and public procurement.
Apart from the fiscal situation, the most pressing challenges for the country have remained broadly unchanged since 2012 and mainly regard the labour market, education, healthcare, business environment, public procurement and energy. See how Bulgaria compares with other EU Member States in key areas.
2014 European Commission's recommendations in brief
The Commission has issued six country-specific recommendations to Bulgaria to help it improve its economic performance. These are in the areas of: fiscal consolidation; pension reform and health care; labour market and social inclusion; education and training; business environment; energy.