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Bulgaria - European Semester

The Europe 2020 Strategy set a 3% objective for R&D intensity for the EU as a whole and most Member States have adopted a national R&D intensity target for 2020. The European Semester, the EU's annual cycle of economic policy coordination, undertakes a detailed analysis of the EU Member States’ plans for R&I investment and structural reforms of national R&I systems, and provides them with recommendations.

The Annual Growth Survey 2016 highlighted that investing in R&I at national level is critical for growth and that therefore Member States should continue to prioritise public investments in R&I, ensuring their efficiency and leverage with regard to business investment. Member States need to keep up the pace of reforms to ensure an investment-friendly environment. See more information about the European Semester.

 
 

Research and Innovation Performance

The European Semester supports Member States' structural reforms in different policy areas to promote jobs, growth and investment. Research and innovation play a key role in this context. That is why the Commission gives recommendations to and closely work with the Member States to increase the performance of their national R&I systems.
Have a look and see how the country is performing.

Report year
2016
Document type
Exercise type
R&I performance
Geo coverage
Publication date
10 November 2016

European Semester Country Report

Low technological progress and innovation performance limit Bulgaria’s growth potential. Bulgaria is a modest innovator with an innovation performance at only 46 % of the EU average (European Commission, 2016g). The research and innovation (R&I) system remains ineffective. The R&I system suffers from weak long-term financial commitment, inefficient governance structures, inadequate incentives for high-quality research, a lack of effective policies to strengthen research-business cooperation, and a weak human resources base. As a result, it does not create the necessary framework conditions to stimulate investments in business R&D and innovation.  There are still a number of shortcomings in the financing of R&I. Identified inefficiencies include the need to establish a long-lasting support for R&I investments and to ensure the independent, robust and coordinated management of national and European R&I funding. A rapid alignment with international peer review standards to guarantee an adequate evaluation of R&I projects and performance-based institutional funding would also help improve the efficiency and impact of public R&I funding. Support for firms that perform R&D&I through a wider and adequately funded portfolio of instruments and the deployment of ESIF funds are indispensable for improving the innovation landscape. The low level of R&D investment hampers competitiveness. Investment in R&D increased by more than 21.5 % in 2015 to 0.96 % of GDP. However, it is still well below the national target of 1.5 % of GDP. Higher business R&D (representing 73 % of total R&D expenditure) explains most of the growth. Foreign companies are the largest sources of funds for business R&D. Universities' R&D funding is the lowest in the EU. Preliminary data from the NSI points to a further decline of 0.02 pp. in 2015, to 0.05 % of GDP. Business investment in the higher education R&D sector is low, which suggests insufficient interest for cooperation. The impact of ESIF and the development of the science base are limited by structural weaknesses in the R&I system. Policy initiatives such as the updated National Strategy for the Development of Scientific Research and changes to the Law on the Promotion of Scientific Research do not sufficiently address the systemic shortcomings of R&I.

Report year
2017
Document type
Exercise type
European Semester Country Report
Geo coverage
Publication date
22 February 2017

European Semester - Country specific recommendation

No Country specific recommendation for Bulgaria on research and innovation in 2016.

Horizon 2020 Policy Support Facility (PSF)

Last update: 17/07/2018 | Top | Legal notice | Contact | Search