Bulgaria’s Parliament voted to approve on 28th of June to increase the minimum retirement pension to 180 BGN (90 Eeuro) per month as of 1st of July and to 200 BGN (100 Euro) as of 1st of October 2017...

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Bulgaria’s Parliament voted to approve on 28th of June to increase the minimum retirement pension to 180 BGN (90 Eeuro) per month as of 1st of July and to 200 BGN (100 Euro) as of 1st of October 2017.

The decision was adopted unanimously at second reading, with 202 MPs voting in favour, no one voting against or abstained.

MPs passed at second reading amendments to the State Social Security Budget Act for 2017.

The amendments stipulate that from 1st of July to 30th of September the minimum pension will be 180 BGN per month. The Parliament rejected the proposal of the opposition BSP for Bulgaria that the minimum pension should be 300 BGN from 1st of July.

“Our priority is low-income people,” said Nadia Zhekova from BSP for Bulgaria and pointed out that obviously when GERB and the United Patriots promised BGN 300 as a minimum pension, this meant BGN 180 and a maximum of 200. She noted that the poverty line was BGN 314. Her colleague, Georgi Gyokov, said that with this proposal, the BSP helped the government to fulfill its pre-election promises.

Hassan Ademov of the Movement for Rights and Freedoms (MRF) questioned why the amount of pensions of persons with different social security contributions was being equalized. “Are you sure that those who receive a minimum pension are having income from pensions only,” he asked.

Budget Committee Chair Menda Stoyanova noted that the BSP's proposal for a minimum pension of BGN 300 would cost the state budget BGN 130 million a month. She estimated that from July to December it means over 700 million BGN, and for the next year - over a billion. “Where would these funds come from,” she asked. According to her, either taxes need to be increased, or social security contributions, or should be at the expense of other spending from the budget.

Vesselin Mareshki said that the parliamentary group of "Volya" party, whether in opposition or in government, will always support what they have promised, in this case, a minimum monthly pension of BNG 300.