EC recommends Bulgaria to reduce its reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the clean energy transition
The European Commission (EC) presented here on Wednesday assessments and recommendations for the economies of the EU Member States. The Commission that Bulgaria reduces its reliance on fossil and accelerate the clean energy transition through faster deployment of renewable energy sources, together with storage capacities to increase the flexibility of the energy system.
The EC has conducted a comprehensive assessment of the economies of 16 countries and has found that the deficit criteria are not met in Bulgaria and 14 other Member States.
The Commission has also made three recommendations to Bulgaria.
The first one is to wind down the energy support measures in force by the end of 2023 using the related savings to reduce the government deficit. Should renewed energy price increases necessitate support measures, ensure that these are targeted at protecting vulnerable households and firms, fiscally affordable, and preserve incentives for energy savings. Ensure prudent fiscal policy, in particular by limiting the nominal increase in nationally financed net primary expenditure in 2024 to not more than 4.6%. Preserve nationally financed public investment and ensure the effective absorption of RRF grants and other EU funds, in particular to foster the green and digital transitions. For the period beyond 2024, continue to pursue a medium-term fiscal strategy of gradual and sustainable consolidation, combined with investments and reforms conducive to higher sustainable growth, to achieve a prudent medium-term fiscal position, the document reads.
The second recommendation is for Bulgaria to ensure an effective governance structure and strengthen the administrative capacity to allow for a swift and steady implementation of its recovery and resilience plan. Swiftly finalise the REPowerEU chapter with a view to rapidly starting its implementation. Proceed with the speedy implementation of cohesion policy programmes, in close complementarity and synergy with the recovery and resilience plan.
The third recommendation is to reduce reliance on fossil fuels and accelerate the clean energy transition through faster deployment of renewable energy sources, together with storage capacities to increase the flexibility of the energy system. Strengthen the electricity grid infrastructure and improve its management by streamlining the connection procedures and introducing smart grid elements. Continue efforts to increase interconnection with neighbouring countries. Accelerate building renovation to incentivise energy efficiency and address energy poverty. Promote new future-proof solutions in district heating and sustainable urban transport as well as accelerate development of railway infrastructure. Step up policy efforts aimed at the provision and acquisition of the skills needed for the green transition, the document says.
The EC’s report on Bulgaria notes that after a contraction of 4% in 2020, the Bulgarian economy grew by 7.6% in 2021 and 3.4% in 2022. It is expected to grow by 1.5% in 2023 and 2.4% in 2024. Growth in 2023 is mainly driven by private and public consumption. Economic activity returned to its annual 2019 level in 2021.