Bulgaria improves score in economic freedom ranking.

By bne IntelliNews January 13, 2011
Bulgaria was rated 60th in a ranking by the U.S.-based Heritage Foundation, with a score of 64.9 points, up by 2.6 points, the 2011 Index of Economic Freedom report showed. The country registered progress in seven out of the 10 economic freedom categories. On a regional scale, Bulgaria ranked 26th out of 43 European countries, i.e. below average. The report praised the country for the substantial economic reforms over the past decade - especially the macroeconomic stability, maintained while making considerable progress in income growth and poverty reduction. The report attributed the success in dealing with the global crisis effects to the prudent fiscal policy and the sound public debt management. The report identified corruption and the weak rule of law as threats for a faster economic development. Regarding the overall freedom to establish and run a business, the report estimated it as relatively well protected within the regulatory framework. Launching a business has become less time-consuming, and licensing requirements have been eased, the report said. This assessment was reflected in a 75.8 score, down by 2 points. Bulgaria's trade freedom (87.6 points, up by 0.2 points) was characterised by the EU trade regulations. The country in particular was criticised for the problematic enforcement of intellectual property rights and non-transparent government procurement, as well as non-tariff foreign trade barriers. The investment freedom score improved by 5 points to 55, but the report pointed out numerous problems, including government approval for majority foreign ownership in some sectors; licensing, regulation, and arbitrary bureaucracy; corruption; clumsy judiciary; organised crime; foreign exchange and restrictions and necessary registration for some types of capital transactions. Freedom from corruption, being a reoccurring issue in the report section about Bulgaria, was scored at 38 points, up by 2 points.

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