BBLF Held Its Annual Meeting With Ambassadors
Earlier today the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum (BBLB) held its traditional annual meeting between between responsible business, state institutions and foreign ambassadors accredited in Sofia. The unique discussion mottoed Bulgaria’s Potential: Practical Approach to Economic Partnerships took place with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and in partnership with the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria.
Guest speakers of the second edition of the BBLF initiative included Minister of Foreign Affairs Radi Naidenov, Bulgarian Investment Agency Director Stamen Yanev, BBLF Chairman Iravan Hira and Austrian Ambassador to Sofia H.E.Roland Hauser. The event was attended by ambassadors and senior diplomats from 25 embassies and as well as CEOs and top executives from over 30 BBLF member companies.
"BBLF’s vision is to make Bulgaria an even better place to invest, work and live in and I am quite pleased that our vision is embraced by all of you who are here today. A year ago when we launched our initiative, the only one of its kind, we focused on the Bulgaria we would like to see 20 years from now. Our discussion today will hopefully outline the steps we need to take to make our dream come true”, BBLF Chairman Iravan Hira said at the opening of the meeting.
„The comments and experience shared by our partners and friends from the diplomatic corps are invaluable both for businesses and for the public sector”, said Maxim Behar, BBLF Board member who moderated the discussion.
„The opportunities for success in Bulgaria outnumber the risks,” Foreign Minister Radi Naidenov said in his speech adding that this country’s consistent and stable development is of paramount importance for investors. He stressed the successful implementation of various financial instruments in support of businesses that are alternative to the EU grant schemes, and emphasised the consensus in Bulgaria on joining the Organisation for Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) which would serve as evidence for successful reforms in all sectors of this country’s social and economic life.
„Bulgaria has enormous potential to develop its economic partnerships, yet that will not happen without its own efforts. Foreign investors are looking for political stability and predictability, transparency and accountability of services offered by the state administration, a legal framework that guarantees investment, fair competition,” said H.E. Roland Hauser, Austrian Ambassador to Sofia. He added that according to statistics, Austria again is the largest foreign investor in Bulgaria.
Stamen Yanev, Director of the Bulgarian Investment Agency, reported that since the beginning of the year, BAI had certified and supported 9 foreign investment projects totalling BGN 160 million that would open 3800 new jobs. 21 applications for similar projects are underway, and so are 36 potential projects totalling over BGN 1 billion and 600 million, he added.
Speakers also included Vladimir Penkov, Chairman & Senior Partner of Penkov, Markov & Partners, Vladislav Mihov, Country Manager of Japan Tobacco International Bulgaria, and Levon Hampartzoumian, CEO and Chairman of the MB of UniCredit Bulbank.
The discussion was joined by ambassadors and senior diplomats with the diplomatic missions of Algeria, Argentine, Austria, Brazil, the Czech Republic, France, Germany, Greece, Hungary, India, Ireland, Japan, Kazakhstan, Korea, Moldova, the Netherlands, Romania, the Russian Federation, Slovakia, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, the UK, Ukraine, the U.S. as well as by representatives of the NGO sector.
The Second Annual BBLF Ambassadors meeting sought to provide a platform for dialogue between responsible companies, senior diplomats from this country’s main and potential economic partners and members of the government on policies and measures that will contribute to the progress and prosperity of Bulgaria.
The discussion focused on steps to improve the business environment, reduce administrative burdens on business, ensure the rule of law, reform the judiciary and education systems, promote innovation and entrepreneurship. Participants in the discussion supported the view that fostering partnerships across sectors – between companies, between countries and between all stakeholders – offers a sound foundation for long-term success.
BBLF appreciates the support of general sponsors Penkov, Markov & Partners law firm, Arteks Engeneering, JTI Bulgaria and sponsors UniCredit Bulbank, Vivacom.