Conference “10 years Bulgaria in the EU – benefits and challenges. The added value of cooperation with CEFTA countries” at BCCI brought together ministers, diplomats, businessmen, students and journalists.
The event was organized in cooperation with the DIHK-CEFTA partnership project, Enterprise Europe Network at BCCI, and UniCredit Bulbank.
The purpose of the conference was to present the results of Bulgaria’s membership in the European Union over the 10-year period, the progress of the preparations for the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU, prospects and challenges facing Bulgaria and the European Union – including Brexit, as well as the experience of Bulgaria and the advantages for the development of regional cooperation. The overall progress of the CEFTA Agreement over the past 10 years was also presented.
In his opening speech Tsvetan Simeonov, President of BCCI, outlined the benefits from the country’s EU membership, including the transformation of the legal framework and democratization of legislation. He expressed the need for European integration, strengthening of EU membership and enlargement of the European Union, and said that in recent years 60% of our country’s foreign trade turnover has been within the European Union. He also pointed out the shortcomings, including the failed Lisbon Strategy adopted at the Lisbon meeting of the European Council in 2000, which intended to turn the EU into the world’s most dynamic and competitive economy by 2010.
The Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov explained that Bulgaria’s EU membership is a positive factor for the country’s economic development and for turning Bulgaria into a recognisable and attractive business location, which is evidenced by the country’s nomination in 2016 as one of the top 10 destinations in the world to launch an innovative business by “Forbes” magazines.
During the conference a meeting of the EU Club at BCCI was held. Lilyana Pavlova, Minister for the upcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU said that on 31 May the Ministry which will be tasked with organizing the Bulgarian Presidency will officially star work. She also announced the priorities such as economic growth, single market, energy union, security and migration, and said that the priorities would become clear at the end of the year.
The proximity in the opinions of the business and the government regarding the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency was noted, and the insistence of DIHK and BCCI on the integration of the Western Balkan countries was supported by the position of Lilyana Pavlova, who pointed out that it would be among the priorities of the Ministry.
Special sessions during the conference were dedicated to EU programmes and regional cooperation.