Tsvetan Simeonov opened the first meeting of the calendar of events of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) Business Council. Bulgaria holds the Chairmanship-in-Office of the organization for the period 1 January – 30 June 2019. “The potential for development of cooperation in the region is great. We hope that the European institutions will be more interested in the Black Sea region and that there will be opportunities for joint projects and development of all possible perspectives”, Simeonov said.
The President of BCCI presented the priorities of the BSEC Business Council: blue economy, connectivity /transport, energy, infrastructure, culture, wine and traditions/, digitalization. He emphasized the business events laid down in the programme of the Chairmanship-in-Office.
The Ambassador of Romania to Bulgaria H.E. Mr. Ion Galea, the Ambassador of Georgia H.E. Mrs. Tamuna Liluashvili, representatives of the embassies of the BSEC countries: Armenia, Azerbaijan, Greece, Russia, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine; Mrs. Tonka Kostadinova, Third Secretary at “Southeastern Europe” Directorate of the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and Mr. Teimuraz Antelava, Legal Advisor at the Permanent International Secretariat of the Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC PERMIS) in Istanbul took part in the event.
Tonka Kostadinova presented the priorities of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office of the organization. Under the motto “Sea of Opportunities”, the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office of BSEC will strive to give new impetus to the multilateral economic cooperation in the Black Sea region and will seek to further enhance the effectiveness of BSEC through emphasizing the project-oriented cooperation. She pointed out that during the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office our country will work to deepen the cooperation between the BSEC member countries in all spheres of mutual interest. Emphasize will be placed on several priority axes, including: transport - development of road and maritime infrastructure in the Black Sea region; culture – joint initiatives and local projects; and environmental protection - cooperation between BSEC and the EU in the framework of the Integrated Maritime Policy. As one of the three EU member states in the Black Sea region, Bulgaria will continue its efforts to further develop the productive interaction between BSCE and EU.
The Romanian Ambassador said that the three priority sectors are promising to create bridges for cooperation between the countries in the region. In the programme of the Romanian Presidency of the Council of the EU, the Black Sea has a strategic place - it is one of the country’s priorities - to focus the attention on the Black Sea and regional organizations such as BSEC. He stressed that the country will work for an Integrated Black Sea Agenda.
The Calendar of events of the Bulgarian Chairmanship-in-Office was presented with emphasis on a number of high-level events in different areas of cooperation: the upcoming meeting of the Ministers in charge of culture of the BSEC member states in May in Plovdiv; informal meeting of the Ministers of Transport during an international events in Leipzig, Germany in May, and a meeting of the Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the BSEC member states and the EU in June.
The diplomats received information on the planned events with the participation of the BSEC Business Council.
On 4 April, an international conference “Cooperation in the field of environment protection – waste in the Black Sea and the Danube River” will be held in Sofia.
In the period 16-18 April in Sofia, the 15th South-East European (SEE) Exhibition and Conference will be held with an accompanying business event focusing on renewable energy.
Cooperation in tourism and wine sector in the region will be covered by the upcoming Balkan International Wine Festival, 5-9 June in Sofia, at which there will be an additional area for the Black Sea countries. The event will be held for the seventh time in cooperation with BCCI and has two parts - a wine contest and a festival, with the support of the Bulgarian Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Forestry and the Mayor of Sofia. More than 1000 wines are expected to participate.
Other activities of the BCCI, including the updating of the website of the BSEC Business Council, were discussed during the meeting. BCCI, along with the Permanent Secretariat, are planning to activate council members in order to bring synergy and added value to the organization and to attract companies into its work and projects, which in turn will encourage new business partnerships.
The representatives of the embassies expressed their satisfaction with the active programme of the Chairmanship-in-Office and confirmed their willingness to provide the necessary assistance to the BCCI for the successful conduct of the events.