Minister Nikolov: Bulgaria consolidates its role as an active participant in regional economic cooperation

Minister Nikolov: Bulgaria consolidates its role as an active participant in regional economic cooperation

Bulgaria has consolidated and continues to consolidate its role as an active participant in regional economic cooperation and its position as a key factor for stability and security in our region. This is what the Minister of Economy and Industry Dr Petko Nikolov said in his speech during the Vienna Economic Forum, which is held in Sofia under the motto ‘We continue to build economic bridges in difficult times’.

‘Eastern Europe offers many opportunities for economic growth and I believe that Bulgaria will continue to play a major role in this process’, Dr Nikolov further said.

The Economy Minister stressed the need to increase production capacity along value chains and upgrade production technologies. ‘Investments in human capital, which is the basis of industrial success, are very important in these processes, as well as investments in infrastructure, in green connectivity, in industrial zones, which are an important aspect of the region’, he pointed out.

According to him, strengthening and expanding regional, transport and energy connectivity is of key importance. ‘That is why the countries of the region need to respond quickly to this challenge by implementing more projects of regional connectivity and cooperation in energy, transport, digital connectivity and many others’, Dr Nikolov said.

In his words, by entering with sea and air borders, Bulgaria and Romania have become part of the Schengen area, but full integration will contribute to more effective connectivity. ‘Our full accession will also increase the economic security of the countries in the region. Any postponement of our full accession will cause greater lost benefits for the Bulgarian and Romanian economies as well as for the economies in the region’, Dr Nikolov added. He stressed that according to various studies and analyses, the total effect of Bulgaria’s full accession to Schengen is estimated at over BGN 1 billion per year. ‘With every year of delay, businesses operating in our country and citizens lose these funds’, the minister said.

In conclusion, he underlined that the Vienna Economic Forum Initiative is an opportunity for economic development not only for the region but for the whole EU.

The forum was also attended by the Minister for Economy of Kosovo, Ms. Artane Rizvanolli, former Foreign Minister Mariya Gabriel, world leaders, business experts and entrepreneurs.

Participants in the meeting discussed the challenges and opportunities facing the regional and global economy. The success and huge role of economic cooperation between the entrepreneurs of the Initiative member countries was also underlined. The Vienna Economic Forum is regularly organised in the spring in each member state, including Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Kosovo, Moldova, Montenegro, the Republic of North Macedonia, Romania, Slovenia, Türkiye and Ukraine.