According to the 2017 World Competitiveness Yearbook of the Institute for Management Development (IMD, Switzerland), the Bulgarian economy, being driven by the EU, is slowly emerging from stagnation. Bulgarian politicians and business managers have failed to improve the competitiveness of the country during the 10 years of its EU membership. Bulgaria currently ranks 49th out of 63 economies in 2017, an improvement of six positions compared to 2015, but a decline compared to 2007. The Bulgarian economy remains among the most uncompetitive; however, it is still ahead of Romania, Slovakia, Hungary, Greece, Croatia, and Ukraine. The Bulgarian economy’s long-term factors of competitiveness remain stagnant, which makes the probability of change in the near future very small without substantial correction in the policies of the Bulgarian government and business leaders. This year, for the first time, IMD published the Digital Competitiveness Ranking, in which Bulgaria ranks 45th out of 63 countries.
Key Competitiveness Challenges for Bulgaria 2017
- Improve judicial performance to tackle high-level impunity.
- Modernize public administration and independent regulators to reduce corruption and improve market competition.
- Improve the quality of healthcare and education to reverse the brain drain and population decline.
- Enhance EU funding priorities and delivery system with a focus on economic and social impact, rather than absorption.
- Complete energy market liberalization and diversification with a focus on consumer engagement and low carbon emissions.