• © Nikolay Doychinov/AFP/Europress

    About the ILO in Bulgaria

    Will the pandemic only lead to a temporary slowdown of convergence?

    After a lost decade of transition in the 1990s Bulgaria only made progress towards economic gains and shared prosperity in the 2000s based on growth rates of 4 to 6% per year. The Covid-19 pandemic pushed the Bulgarian economy into a recession in 2020 with a decline of GDP of 4 % (EU27: 6%) Forecasts say that GDP will reach its pre pandemic level by the end of 2021. However, uncertainty is high as these predictions assume that Bulgaria will achieve a high vaccination rate and will not face more waves of the pandemic.

    The recession hit a country that anyhow has been lagging behind in terms of economic development. Income per capita is only around 50 % of the EU average, the lowest in the EU, while income inequality was the highest among all EU countries as of 2019. That year, Bulgarian regions made up half of the 10 poorest EU regions in terms of GDP per capita. One out of three Bulgarians is at the risk of poverty or social exclusion (EU27: One out of five). Continue reading