BCCI is among the most zealous supporters of Bulgaria’s European integration. We remind you that back in 1994, BCCI became a member of the Association of the European Chambers of Commerce and Industry EUROCHAMBRES – several months before the start of Bulgaria’s EU accession negotiations, which was an exception to the practice and an undeniable recognition of BCCI’s authority and role. Since 2000, an EU Club has been functioning at BCCI, actively supporting the process of Bulgaria’s EU accession and the integration of Bulgarian business in the single European market.
According to BCCI, one of the most important benefits for Bulgarian companies after the country’s accession to the EU, is the facilitation of trade with the other member-states – Bulgarian exports have increased significantly, from EUR 13 billion (in 2007) to EUR 23 billion (in 2015).
Secondly, EU membership has facilitated the establishment of new partnerships between Bulgarian companies and businesses from the other EU member-states and successful economic integration, which is evident from the investments made in Bulgarian economy, especially during the first year of the country’s EU accession – with a record of more than EUR 9 billion. Investment in the country by 1 January 2007 amounted to a total of EUR 17 billion, compared to EUR 39 billion by September 2016.
Undoubtedly, another positive aspect for Bulgarian businesses is the possibility to participate in EU programmes and benefit from the funding they provide, with which Bulgarian companies have modernised their production facilities and improved the quality of their products. The managers have also built on their entrepreneurial skills.
We should not forget the development of major infrastructure projects with funding from the European Union, which have had an overall positive effect for the business and citizens.
The support of EU integration does not mean uncritical acceptance of everything. BCCI is still dissatisfied with the attempts to regulate all processes and activities, the attempts to limit the aspirations of new member-states with lower tax rates to become more attractive for investors by unifying the tax legislation.
As a shortcoming, the Chamber considers the fact that Europe has made no visible progress in reducing administrative burdens for businesses – there are many directives and regulations. The companies are overstretched and are not able to constantly follow the multitude of public consultations, most of which do not take place at the most important stage of the legislative process or merely have formal character.
According to BCCI, the attempt of the EU to restrict self-regulation of certain sectors or activities is also negative for businesses.
We should not overlook the absence of measures and incentives towards the retention of qualified personnel in the EU, which for Bulgaria is an even more acute problem.
In conclusion, the balance for Bulgaria is more than positive – not only in economic terms, but also in a wide range of aspects of everyday life.