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Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert and Keyra Primus

Fostering Inclusive Growth through Pre-Distributive Policies i Education ii Health V. Conclusion References BOXES 1. Relying on External Support to Fight Extreme Poverty: The Case of Food Aid 2. Benchmarking Bulgaria’s Human Capital FIGURES 1. Fiscal Developments 2. Change in Total Public Spending 3. Public Investment 4. Public Investment: Sources of Funds 5. EU Fund Absorption Rates 6. Public Investment and Public Capital Stock in Bulgaria and Comparator Countries 7. Public Capital Stock per capita in Newer Member States 8. Public

International Monetary Fund. Western Hemisphere Dept.
This paper discusses recent economic developments, the outlook, and risks for the Czech Republic. The economy has been growing at an exceptionally strong pace. Driven by robust domestic demand, output expanded by 4.2 percent—the highest rate in the central and eastern European region—in 2015. Labor market performance has been strong. Fiscal performance was better than budgeted in 2015. The banking sector is stable, and credit growth continues to strengthen. However, economic activity is expected to slow in 2016. Private consumption will remain robust on the heels of higher disposable income and employment, but the projected slowdown in EU-fund absorption will weigh on growth.
International Monetary Fund

base for health contributions, improve revenues and control expenditures. The accelerated absorption of EU funds remains a focal objective of the government. Under the new program the authorities will focus on strengthening the administrative capacity of units managing the funds, will modernize and consolidate the legislative regulatory framework for public investment, and will prioritize investment in order to assure sufficient financing for key projects. To better coordinate EU fund absorption, the EU funds unit will be moved to the Prime Minister’s office

International Monetary Fund

collection. The authorities will institute simplified taxation for smaller taxpayers requesting a shift in the VAT mandatory threshold from the EU Council of Ministers to EUR 50,000. Accelerated absorption of EU funds remains a focal objective of the government. The program focuses on strengthening the administrative capacity of units managing the funds, including the efficiency of the public procurement process by developing standard bidding documents. To better coordinate EU fund absorption, the government has moved the EU structural funds coordination unit from the

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

account surplus widened in 2015, on account of an improvement in the income account mainly due to stronger EU transfers. Headline inflation remained subdued in 2015, as positive domestic developments were offset by external disinflationary factors. Fiscal performance was better than expected in 2015, on account of robust tax revenues and spending discipline. But, the main driver was a significant shift in the structure of funding of public investment during the transition between EU fund cycles. To maximize EU fund absorption, government units shifted its focus to EU

International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
A favorable external environment, high utilization of EU funds, and supportive macroeconomic policies have boosted economic growth. The authorities’ medium-term fiscal objective is appropriate, but fiscal framework legislation that would anchor policy is yet to be approved by parliament. The central bank’s use of an exchange rate floor to achieve its inflation target has helped stem deflationary pressures, but inflation is still well below target. The financial system is sound and resilient to shocks. Policy recommendations. Policies should aim at comprehensively addressing obstacles to strong and sustained growth, while safeguarding macroeconomic stability.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

boomed in the transition between EU-fund cycles. Higher EU-fund absorption also boosted the capital account. Foreign direct investment was weaker than in previous years, while portfolio inflows increased significantly. The net international investment position improved to –31 percent of GDP, on the back of higher official reserves. 9. Staff’s assessment is that the external position is broadly in line with fundamentals and desirable policies . The EBA methodology yields mixed results for the Czech Republic in terms of the current account and the real effective

Mr. Jean-Jacques Hallaert and Keyra Primus
The scope for increasing public spending to meet Bulgaria’s development needs is limited by low revenue. Increasing the efficiency of spending is, therefore, crucial. This paper discusses how this can be achieved in four areas (public investment, social protection, health, and education). The methodology is based on a triple benchmarking. First, the level of public expenditure in each category is compared to other European countries. Second, the impact of spending is assessed against other European countries. Third, the input mix is analyzed to understand what components are responsible for the level of spending and for the quality of outcomes. Based on these results, the paper provides policy options for expenditure reform.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.
International Monetary Fund. European Dept.

A favorable external environment, high utilization of EU funds, and supportive macroeconomic policies have boosted economic growth. The authorities' medium-term fiscal objective is appropriate, but fiscal framework legislation that would anchor policy is yet to be approved by parliament. The central bank's use of an exchange rate floor to achieve its inflation target has helped stem deflationary pressures, but inflation is still well below target. The financial system is sound and resilient to shocks.