(Bloomberg) -- The makeshift government in Bulgaria, the European Union’s poorest state where vaccination against Covid-19 is the bloc’s lowest, is struggling to access billions of euros of pandemic aid from Brussels as it braces for a new wave of the virus.
Along with the Netherlands, the Balkan country of 7 million people is one of only two EU members not to have submitted a final plan for how to spend their share of the bloc’s more than 700 billion-euro ($828 billion) recovery package.
At stake for the euro aspirant is 6.3 billion euros of assistance that’s becoming ever-more crucial as deaths -- already the EU’s highest per capita -- begin to tick up.
The problem for the interim cabinet in Sofia is that, with Bulgaria set for third general election in less than a year, it can’t rely on a divided parliament to help it meet demands from Brussels to revamp the judiciary and meet de-carbonization goals.
“It’s very difficult for a caretaker government with a two-to-four month horizon to settle such big issues, for example in the area of rule of law, that will require maybe a constitutional majority in a future parliament,” Atanas Pekanov, deputy prime minister in charge of EU funding management, said this week in an interview.
“Striking the right balance would have been easier if we had any vision or opinion from parliament,” he said. “We didn’t get it. So now we’ll have to see how the negotiations go. This will determine the time-frame for receiving the funding.”
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