The first regular government formed after three extraordinary parliamentary elections, with pending reforms on the horizon, are a source of moderate optimism in Bulgaria, according to Djingov, Gouginski, Kyutchukov & Velichkov Partner Violetta Kunze.
"In Bulgaria, a new government was approved this Monday (December 13, 2021)," Kunze begins. "This year, we experienced three extraordinary parliamentary elections and we now have the first regular government since March. The new parliamentary majority formed a centrist-led coalition of political parties claiming to pursue changes in Bulgarian politics."
According to Kunze, one of the most visible and promising trends is the increased involvement of the younger generation in politics. "Issues, such as transparency, zero tolerance for corruption, green energy transition, and reforms in key sectors are more actively represented on their political agenda," she notes. "In addition, the government in power is backed by the parliamentary majority proclaiming democratic values, rule of law, and the EU principles, and we are looking forward to seeing how it develops."
"In the recent past, the country witnessed high levels of uncertainty due to pandemic-related instability, as well as issues such as hiking energy prices and problems in the supply chain," Kunze says. "The appointment of the new government has led to a cautious optimism for many considering that the coalition parties are composed of groups of people focusing on reforms specific to the Bulgarian context, who are willing to turn good ideas into policy."
As for the legislative updates, Kunze notes that different reforms can be expected in the nearest future. "For lawyers, the most important reforms are related to the judicial system, tackling corruption, reinstating the rule of law, mainstreaming compliance issues, etc. Bulgaria is also lagging behind the implementation of the key EU legislation. For instance, the Bulgarian parliament has not yet managed to adopt the law implementing the whistleblowing directive," she adds. "We expect the government to undertake the necessary political decision and the parliament to adopt the legislative framework for further enhancing the e-government and digitalization of the economy."
As for the existing legislative updates, Kunze highlights that a new Law on the provision of digital content and digital services and for the sale of goods is entering into force on January 1, 2022, transposing EU Directive 2019/770 and EU Directive 2019/771 – part of the EU strategy to create a single digital market.
"At the same time, the government also pledges to focus on improving the business environment, attracting foreign direct investment, and increasing productivity through digitalization and institutional reforms. We are all looking forward to seeing how these trends continue," she concludes.