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STAMEN YANEV: Balkans will be next leader in Europe

June 24, 2016

“First Balkan Conference shows clearly that the Balkans have the potential to be leaders in Europe. In order to achieve this result, we must be leaders in innovation and must invest in small and medium enterprises, " said Executive Director of the InvestBulgaria Agency. InvestBulgaria Agency was a co-organiser of the “Balkan Conference on small and medium enterprises – Sofia 2016” held on 23 June in Sofia. The aim of the forum is to establish a common Balkan industrial area, where thanks to correct public and private partnership, an advantageous economic and social environment is to be guaranteed.

The conference was attended by representatives of small and medium enterprises and local authorities (municipalities) of all Balkan countries that held discussions regarding “European funds and programmes – partnership between Balkan SMEs, local authorities, universities and research centres; preparation and management of common projects.” “European funding for SMEs in the field of security and fighting terrorism”; “Juncker Plan and the European Fund for Strategic Investments (EFSI)”; “Financial institutions assisting internasionalisation of SMEs”; “Tourism – the third most important economic sector in Europe; cooperation between SMEs and municipals on the Balkans in the field of tourism.”

Official guests of the ceremony were representatives of the European Commission (EC), the European Parliament (EP), the foreign diplomatic corps in Bulgaria, presidents of Pan-European, European, international and Bulgarian business organisations. The host of the one of the most important economic events on the Balkans was the association United Business Clubs (UBC), leaded by Mr Veselin Halachev, President of the UBC and member of the of the Board of Directors of the European Alliance of SMEs in Brussels, in charge of the European funds and programmes.

Deputy Minister of Economy, Daniela Vezieva, who also took part in the forum, noted that the export is expected to be the growth’s main driving force, which in 2015 has the highest contribution for the GDP’s growth. “We succeeded in restoring growth. Last year we signed a growth of 3%. Domestic consumption has increased, a fact that gives us a right to compare to other countries and will help us achieve higher growth. European forecasts regarding Bulgarian economy in the spring season are progressive. They forecasted a growth of 2%, and a growth of 2.4% for the next year. Bulgaria has set some basic priorities: we are focus on entrepreneurship and implementation of innovations in the SMEs, and the improving of the access to financing,” said Mrs Vezieva.

The next regional conference will be organized in 2017 in another Balkan country.