Deepening Bulgaria’s cooperation with the OECD is essential for Bulgaria’s small and medium-sized enterprises, which are the backbone of the Bulgarian economy. This was said by Minister of Economy and Industry Bogdan Bogdanov during a meeting of ministers from the Committee on SMEs and Entrepreneurship of the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), which is being held at the organisation’s headquarters in Paris. The ministers discussed best practices and mechanisms to increase the competitiveness of SMEs. Bulgaria is represented at ministerial level in the Committee for the first time, which significantly increases OECD’s confidence in our readiness to become part of the organisation.
Minister Bogdanov clearly expressed his position that Bulgaria’s accession to the OECD is a key priority for Bulgaria and all steps will be taken to accelerate the process.
During the Forum, the Economy Minister also held key bilateral meetings with David Clarinval, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for the Middle Class, SMEs, Agriculture and Institutional Reform of Belgium, Kevin Hollinrake, Minister for Enterprise, Markets and Small Business of the United Kingdom and others. At the meetings, Minister Bogdanov clearly outlined Bulgaria’s priorities and the support we will expect to join the Schengen area, the euro area and the OECD: Joining the OECD is a key priority and all steps will be taken to accelerate the process
At the plenary sessions, Minister Bogdanov stressed that up-skilling and re-skilling of SMEs is the key to their competitiveness and sustainability. He also pointed out that the digital and environmental transition of the economy poses serious challenges for SMEs in terms of providing staff with the necessary skills and qualifications. ‘Dual training is one of the solutions that could help SMEs successfully overcome the shortage of skilled labour,’ he said.
Minister Bogdanov highlighted the aggressive policy of some countries to encourage investment through state subsidies, which mainly attract international corporations. ‘In these cases, small and medium-sized enterprises, which could not compete with large enterprises, are affected,’ the Economy Minister said. He drew particular attention to the ‘think small first’ principle and the importance of conducting SME-testing when drafting regulations, strengthening consultation processes, and undertaking ex-post evaluations of the effectiveness of policies and programmes.
The SME and Entrepreneurship Ministerial Meeting concluded with the adoption of a Declaration on Enhancing SMEs and Entrepreneurship Policies for Greater Resilience and Successful Transitions.