Monday, July 6, 2009

So what does GERB want?

I have, like most outside observers, routinely described the winners in the Bulgarian elections as "right wing populists". Since they will be the dominating force, I think it is time to look into what they actually want, and what politics they see fit for Bulgaria.

On their site, a Crisis program is published, declarating how GERB will face the looming economical crisis.

First of all GERB do acknowledge that there is a sever crisis. This has been one point of the debate - the right said that the crisis is much more sever than the socialists accepted.

Here is a quick translation of the programme. My comments in italics.

Public dialogue about the crisis management.
GERB wows to invite trade unions(!) and business interest to discuss the politics needed with the political leadership.
This can of course mean anything between empty words and corporativism... everything depends on who attends these meetings, and who decides in the end. Will environmental organisations participate, for example?

Immediate actualization of the state budget
GERB wows to look over the budget and stop wasting money on stupid projects, to redirect them to where they really help. Everything of course depends on what projects are cut, but under the current circumstances my guess is that it means less social spending.

The Euro-funds, a sure way to deal with the crisis
Bulgaria lost billions of promised EU money due to corruption last year. GERB wows to fight corruption and clean up in the administration so that the money can return. Succeeding with this would obviously mean a lot to Bulgaria. It will take both guts and intelligence. I say good luck, and note that the "right wing populist" seem to trust state intervention more than free markets.

Agriculture - lets revive traditions and create work places
GERB should have praise for realizing the importance of the agricultural sector. Three ways to support this sector are pointed out: Monetary support/credit help to farmers, an animal identification system that makes possible European subsidies per animal and a petition for extra support money from the European commission 2010-1023. All these involve European money which makes me worried. First of all, if GERB for some reason doesn't manage to restore European trust these money don't exist. Second of all, European agricultural policy is horrible, and is built to help agricultural enterprise out-compete local competition.

Tax stimulus - let the money stay with people and businesses
In normal English this means tax cuts, and less state spending. I fear cuts will come in the social sector because...

Infrastructure policy
under this point, further down in the document, GERB wows to invest heavily in infrastructure projects like highways. Unlike the agriculture, these investments don't seem to depend on EU funding, and the money must come from somewhere... obviously not from increased taxes.

Improved business climate
Measures here included less red tape, lowered registration fees etc. There is probably much to be done, aide! GERB, start working!

Incentives for investments
Among other things GERB wants to give local authorities a stronger mandate to attract investments. I can not say much about this, it can be anything to me. No doubt investments are needed... but the bigger the money, and the more hands that deal with it, the more corruption, as the story with the EU money shows.

Education and social help
GERB sees a need of better education that is more fit for business needs, and opens for letting business finance students that study things that are relevant for their needs.
GERB wants to stimulate unemployed to start their own business, and mentions support to civil initiatives for poor and elderly. Less state intervention here, thus... but it is probably also a sheer necessity, as the Bulgarian state is unlikely to cover these needs.

Bulgaria is not alone
Bulgaria is not alone and GERB wants to fight the crisis together with European and International institutions. This might mean applying for an IMF loan, like Romania recently did.

More ideas are to come as we fight against the crisis, GERB promises. We look forward to that.


Anonymous said...

За всички, които гласуваха за Бойко Борисов...

Maladets! said...

For English readers: rms1928 hopes that Borisovs rule will be good for the development of a real Bulgarian left.

I think you have a point beyond the hammers and sickles in the video. It will be much easier to be left in Bulgaria with a right wing government.