The first draft of Bulgaria’s national Recovery and Resilience Plan (RRP) was published in October 2020. The plan consisted of four main pillars (Innovative Bulgaria, Green Bulgaria, Connected Bulgaria and Just Bulgaria) outlining recovery measures, as well as funding estimates. The second draft (Version 1.1) of the plan was released in February 2021 which is the basis for this analysis. The Bulgarian RRP comprises measures worth €7.1bn (nearly 10% of domestic GDP) including €5.91bn from the EU Recovery and Resilience Facility. Overall, the plan makes a positive contribution.
We find that Bulgaria’s draft recovery plan achieves a green spending share of 27%, which is below the EU’s 37% climate-spending benchmark. In contrast, 3% (€0.24bn) of all measures have a negative impact. Furthermore, we find that 21% (€1.52bn) may have a positive or negative impact on the green transition depending on the implementation of the relevant measures, illustrating the importance of further scrutiny during the planning, review and implementation of the recovery measures. The draft RRP also includes some green measures (e.g. the extension of the metro lines in Sofia) that were already planned before the pandemic. Not all elements can, therefore, be counted as additional green investments. Our calculation of the green spending share aims to mirror the approach used for the official assessment of national recovery plans (find more information here).
*This report was written by Dr. Radostina Primova (CSD) and Magdolna Prantner (Wuppertal Institute). We are grateful to Martin Vladimirov (CSD), Gregori Stefanov, Apostol Dyankov (both WWF Bulgaria) as well as Johanna Lehne, Felix Heilmann (both E3G), Helena Mölter and Timon Wehnert (both Wuppertal Institute) for providing valuable inputs.
The Bulgarian RRP includes a dedicated programme to finance stand-alone house energy efficiency measures such as the purchase of energy efficient heat-pumps, solar systems for household heat supply and PV systems in buildings that are not connected to heat and gas transmission networks.
Although gas will play a certain role in the medium-term decarbonisation pathways until 2030, the strong focus on gasification of the coal regions without diversified sustainable alternatives could lead to a long-term lock-in of fossil-fuel-based infrastructure and undermine Bulgaria’s decarbonisation efforts in the long-term potentially putting its 2050 climate-neutrality target at risk.
The Bulgarian RRP includes a measure dedicated entirely to the modernization and digitalization of the power transmission system operator (€0.26bn).