{"title": "150 000 Quit the Grey Economy","content": "
150,000 Bulgarians have got out of the shady economy within the period November 2002 - March 2003, shows a survey of the Center for Research of Democracy, made public yesterday. In end-2002, those who worked without labor contracts accounted for 25 percent of the employed. In March 2003 the share fell to 16.5 percent. Rouslan Stephanov promoted the data on a round table 'The Shady Economy in Bulgaria - Latest Trends', organized by Coalition '2000. The measures to help reducing the number of those employed in the shady economy are: improvement of the business climate and public services, interaction among the Economy, Finance and Social Ministries, and establishment of an institution to stimulate the companies activity in compliance with the labor legislation. The survey shows that in 1998-99, Bulgaria ranked second in the East European countries with a share of 30.4 percent working force in the shady economy sector. Macedonia has registered 45 percent while neighbor and fellow EU applicant Romania has 33 percent. More advanced EU applicants such as Slovakia and the Czech Republic boast only 18 percent while former Soviet republics suffer high percentages - Azerbaijan (60 percent), Georgia (66 percent), Ukraine (51 percent). According to the Bulgarian expert, the EU member countries that have the highest percentages are Greece and Italy (both 27 percent) as well as Portugal and Spain (22.5 percent).