{"title": "Shadow Economy Shrinks","content": "
The measures that Bulgaria's government had taken against the shadow economy have already yielded result according to experts. The steps made to refrain outlaw business activities, as least those introduced since the start of 2003, have had the necessary effect, pollsters and researchers said at the a round table on shadow economy organized Wednesday by monitoring NGO Coalition 2000.The pressure induced by the government is visible in three directions: the introduction of the minimum social insurance thresholds for the different occupations and the compulsory registration of labor contracts; the boost in the customs revenues, and the efforts of the Interior Ministry against the so-called black economy - a term used to describes prostitution, drug and arms trade, etc. According to Ruslan Stefanov from the Centre for Research of Democracy, the only measures that have been so far botched were those that the Economy Ministry should have taken to improve the business climate. He pointed out that vast number of firms in Bulgaria do not adhere to the entire scope of legislative rules. The expert added this showed that much of the legislation was obsolete.The shadow economy takes up to 36 percent in Bulgaria, expert Boyan Belev said. He compared this figure to the estimates in other countries stressing that next-door 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), novinite.com reports.