The Minister for Economy and Industry Bogdan Bogdanov held an online meeting with the Austrian Minister of Labour and Economy Martin Kocher, where they discussed the opportunities for more active economic cooperation and the expected benefits for investors and businesses from the accession of Bulgaria to Schengen. Minister Bogdanov stressed that our country’s accession to the Schengen area is a chance for a new boost in the ties between the two countries.
The two ministers talked about the key sectors of interaction where the partnership should be strengthened — microelectronics, automotive and green energy production.
Minister Bogdanov assured his Austrian counterpart that Austria is a strategic partner for Bulgaria and economic relations are a priority for our country.
‘Austrian companies are among the largest investors in Bulgaria — foreign direct investments from Austria amount to more than 5 billion euros, and 350 Austrian companies work in Bulgaria’, Minister Bogdanov pointed out. He emphasized that Austrian companies work in all sectors of the Bulgarian economy and that Bulgaria’s Schengen membership is important for Austrian business.
The Minister for Economy and Industry added that among the main priorities of the government are also Bulgaria’s accession to the Eurozone and the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD).
Bogdan Bogdanov invited the Austrian Minister of Labour and Economy to visit our country this year and during the visit meetings will be organized between the businesses and between the institutions of the two countries.
‘We value the existing economic relations between our countries and we are interested in this cooperation’, Minister Martin Koch said.
Minister Bogdanov guaranteed to make every effort for the smooth functioning of business in Bulgaria and highlighted the preservation of the existing tax model in Bulgaria as one of the biggest advantages of the Bulgarian economy for attracting investments. In his words, investment will be made in the development of industrial zones in the country, which will be linked to specific sectors.
The two also talked about inflation rates, with Minister Bogdanov pointing out that the macro framework of the budget envisages an average annual inflation of 8.7% in Bulgaria, with inflation expected to fall to 5.6% by the end of the year with a downward trend.
For the first quarter of 2023, trade with Austria was 587.4 million euros, an increase of 22.8%. Bulgarian exports reached 255.6 million euros, an increase of 27%, while imports grew by 19.8% to 331.8 million euros.