Pro-European parties GERB and DPS joined the Eurosceptic Bulgarian Socialist Party, “Bulgarian Rise” and the openly anti-Western “Revival” party in sabotaging a key bill on Bulgaria’s path to the Eurozone, as MPs from the parties failed to show up to the vote.
The changes to the Insurance Code were supposed to be voted on by the Economic Committee, but MPs from the five parties did not show up for the session, meaning it could not take place. The adoption of the law is an essential condition for Bulgaria’a admission to the Eurozone on January 1, 2024.
The situation is similar to the amendments to the Commercial Law and the Law on Anti-Money Laundering Measures. Bulgaria’s parliament will be dissolved on Wednesday after failing to properly elect a government, and an early general election is scheduled for 2 April.
The Chairman of the Economic Committee, Martin Dimitrov (Democratic Bulgaria), was outraged that GERB and DPS are sabotaging one of the most important parliamentary initiatives on Bulgaria’s path to the Eurozone. “To fail (entry into) the Eurozone and say you are for the euro is demagoguery,” Dimitrov said.
Alexander Ivanov, who was one of the two GERB MPs present, defended the party’s behaviour with the argument that it wants to protect Bulgarian drivers from increasing the price of “Civil Liability” insurance.
The changes in the Insurance Code seriously affect the financial interests of some Bulgarian companies from the insurance sector.
European institutions are pressuring Bulgaria to resolve the problem of non-payment of part of its old obligations to the international “Green Card” system, which governs the operation of compulsory car insurance “Civil Liability” in nearly 50 countries, reports the Bulgarian news site Mediapool.
In 2018, Bulgaria requested that monitoring be imposed on it when the obligations of the Bulgarian Green Card Bureau were worth €19.6 million, announced the chairman of the board of the bureau, Borislav Bogoev.
As of 2021, the liabilities are already around €8-9 million together with interest. For the same period, the liabilities of the other countries in the system increased from €7.6 million to €49.3 million.
The Bulgarian bureau claims that domestic insurance companies are victims of serious and systematic insurance fraud, especially in Italy and Romania, where organised criminal schemes operate. The case was referred to the Bulgarian, Italian and European prosecutor’s offices.
To clear the way to the Eurozone, Finance Minister Rositsa Velkova proposes introducing an obligation in the Insurance Code for quick payment of amounts due abroad. The minister suggests that this should happen regardless of whether documents have been sent about the damages and compensations to the victims abroad.
Bulgarian insurers warn that this may lead to a drain on the funds of Bulgarian insurers and an increase in the price of “Civil Liability” for Bulgarians.
On 13 February, Bulgaria must report to the European Commission on the fulfilment of its commitments while it is still in the waiting room of the eurozone.
At the same time, the anti-Western “Revival” is gathering signatures for holding a referendum to save the Bulgarian lev and to postpone membership in the Eurozone by 20 years.