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In 2014 Bulgaria regained one position compared to the previous year in the economic competitiveness ranking of the World Competitiveness Yearbook (WCY), published by the Institute for Management Development (IMD). The country is ranked 56th, while in 2013 it was 57th out of 60 economies. This is only a marginal improvement, and remains significantly lower compared its highest achievement in 2009 – 38th place. In 2014, Bulgaria is ranked higher than Croatia, Argentina and Venezuela as in 2013, and has surpassed its Southern neighbor Greece, which has fallen to 57th place, 3 places lower than 2013. There are no significant changes among the most competitive nations in 2014. The USA continues to hold the 1st position, as its economy is successfully recovering from the crisis thanks to a favorable business environment, characterized by a strong R&D culture and abundance of skilled labor as well as to a more accommodating policy stance in providing financial stimuli and lowering energy prices.
The Center for the Study of Democracy has identified five key challenges, which hinder the competitiveness of the Bulgarian economy:
- Introduce public administration reforms, and more and better e-government services;
- Initiate performance-based financing of education;
- Reduce energy security risks through energy efficiency and diversification of supply sources and technologies;
- Improve regulatory control and compliance quality;
- Tackle high level corruption and market capture.