Bulgaria PM Plays Down Brussels Anger over Deficit

Finance | April 24, 2010, Saturday // 12:47|  views

Bulgaria's Prime Minister Boyko Borisov has said his ministers were kept in the dark about the additional costs to the treasury. Photo by Sofia Photo Agency

The European Commission will not punish Bulgaria despite the threats to target it with an excessive deficit procedure, the country's prime minister has assured.

“Bulgaria continues to have one of the best fiscal performance among the countries from the European Union even though its 2009 revised budget gap exceeded the thee percent EU threshold,” Boyko Borisov said on Saturday during his visit to the coastal town of Varna.

“There are countries, whose deficit is much higher than Bulgaria's. There have never been punishments because of this, nor will Brussels punish us,” Borisov snapped.

The European Union's official statistics agency Thursday said the Bulgarian budget deficit in 2009 was wider than the government had estimated, even though Sofia recently revised upwards its last year's fiscal gap due to a hidden deficit.

In the first of its twice-yearly reviews of government finances in the 27-member bloc, Eurostat said the Bulgarian government's budget deficit was 3.9% of gross domestic product last year, which is up by 0.2% over the government's revised figure.

Bulgaria's center-right government announced earlier in April a larger than expected 2009 deficit caused by unaccounted procurement deals, signed by the previous Socialist-led cabinet. The previously undiscovered expenses increased the 2009 gap to 3.7% of gross domestic product (GDP) from an initial 1.9% under the EU rules, the cabinet said.

Prime Minister Boiko Borisov has blamed the increase on extra spending due to annexes to public procurement deals the previous government had signed with some 150 contractors at the end of its term.

Borisov said his ministers were kept in the dark about the additional costs to the treasury.

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Tags: EC, budget deficit, budget discipline procedure, eurostat, Eurozone, economic growth, Simeon Djankov, Boyko Borisov, EC, European Commission, finance minister, Convergence Program, Eurozone, ERM II, budget deficit, recession, GDP


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