The President and Austrian Investors Discussed the Necessary Measures to Improve the Business Climate in Bulgaria
President Rumen Radev received today at 2 Dondukov street representatives of the Austrian business in Bulgaria, with which he discussed the difficulties the companies encounter in doing business and the opportunities for improving the business climate in Bulgaria and boosting competitiveness. Andreas Wicke, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Austria to Bulgaria, attended the meeting.
The meeting is part of the talks the Head of State holds with representatives of foreign companies from countries that rank high in terms of investments in Bulgaria. With a total amount of investments worth 5.7 billion euros or 11.7 percent of the direct foreign investments in Bulgaria, Austria comes second in the ranking following the Netherlands.
During the talks the Austrian Commercial Representation in Bulgaria presented a survey among 96 Austrian companies with branches in Bulgaria, which indicates that fighting corruption and crime, ensuring legal security and the rule of law and reducing red tape are the regulatory areas which need improvement and would make Bulgaria a more attractive destination. According to the respondents, the skills of staff, the sufficient supply of employees, infrastructure and the high-quality elements of the labor market should also be improved. At the meeting the Austrian business representatives highlighted the need for more practice-oriented education in Bulgaria and voiced fears that in the short term Bulgaria will experience an acute shortage of workers. Transparency and predictability of the legal framework were identified as a key factor for improving the business climate.
The declining trend of foreign investments in the past years showed that serious efforts and resolve are needed to improve the investment environment in Bulgaria, the Head of State emphasized. President Radev highlighted that the cooperation with Austria is strategically important and therefore the opinion and the experience of the Austrian companies in Bulgaria are vital for our country so that a comprehensive approach be adopted to improving the investment climate, including a number of economic, financial, administrative and legislative measures. The Head of State stressed that he supports the efforts to efficiently fight corruption and to implement initiatives on improving the business environment. It is essential that we ensure the rule of law, Rumen Radev said. The President noted that labor shortage can be overcome with competitive conditions at work and higher pay.