Bulgaria overview

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Cityscape

In Bulgaria we focus on:

  • supporting the competitiveness of Bulgarian companies by helping to improve their governance, enhance value chains, promote the knowledge economy and assist in adaptation to demographic challenges
     
  • financing infrastructure projects that enhance regional connectivity, provide green solutions to urban challenges for municipalities, promote decarbonisation and resource efficiency, and
     
  • strengthening the resilience of financial intermediation.
     

As well as being a country where the EBRD works, Bulgaria is also a donor. In 2018 Bulgaria provided €115 million of European Structure and Investment Funds to support water projects across the country.  

The EBRD’s latest strategy for Bulgaria was adopted on 15 January 2020.

Bulgaria's policy response to the coronavirus crisis

The EBRD is monitoring Bulgaria's policy response to the coronavirus pandemic. Our biweekly publication identifies the major channels of disruption as well as selected impact and response indicators.

Learn more

EBRD forecast for Bulgaria’s real GDP growth in 2022 2.5%

EBRD forecast for Bulgaria's real GDP growth in 2023 3.0%

The Bulgarian economy expanded by 4.2 per cent in 2021, driven mainly by private consumption growth. In contrast, investment declined in 2021 by 11 per cent, partly reflected by the decline in value added of the construction sector. Tourism recovered only partially in 2021, with visitor arrivals at just 57 per cent of 2019 figures. Industrial production recovered strongly in 2021, however, but the war on Ukraine poses risks for robust growth, given the country’s significant import dependency on Russia (almost 10 per cent of GDP in 2020).

Another key channel of war disruption is elevated inflation, as Bulgarian consumers will be relatively more affected than those in other EU countries by higher food and energy prices, given low average income levels. Inflation accelerated to 12.4 per cent in March 2022, with food prices up by 17.4 per cent compared with March 2021. The government has some fiscal space to adopt several short-term measures to counteract increasing prices, given low public debt levels. The government has also pledged to increase public investment, although there may be absorption capacity constraints in the short term. After delays in the Recovery and Resilience Plan’s adoption, increased EU funds will start to have an impact on the economy from 2023 onwards. The 2022 GDP growth forecast has been revised up to 2.5 per cent, as supply-side issues will likely persist, while in 2023 a modest recovery of 3.0 per cent is plausible, with upside risks in case of a faster normalisation of inflation and robust investment.

 

Bulgaria in the EBRD's 2021-22 Transition report

 

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