Date: 08.08.2017

Source: Bulgarian Industrial Association

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On the 8th of August 2017 a meeting was held in the BIA with the President of the Employers’ Group (Group I) of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC), Mr. Jacek Krawczyk on the preparation and implementation of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU in 2018. The participants from the BIA were Mrs. Margarita Popova – Vice President and General Secretary, Mr. Kamen Kolev – Vice President and Mrs. Lyudmila Metsova – Director of the International Organizations and Programmes Center.

One of the discussed topics was the meeting of the European employers’ organizations in March 2018 in Sofia. The proposal for the forthcoming meeting originates from the BIA and the initiative was supported by the EESC. The formulation of the specific title for the meeting is under discussion but the theme is going to be connected to skills and competences, perspectives for the labour market and opportunities for new working places.

The issue of binding the Danube Strategy to the Black Sea Region’s significance for affiliating and encouraging the cooperation with third Eastern parties was also discussed during the meeting.  

“I believe that the link between the Danube Strategy and the Black Sea Region and bringing this topic at the center of attention of the discussions during the Presidency is a visionary perspective both in political and economic terms. This is a prospect for development not only between individual EU Member States, but also a possibility of including and promoting business cooperation with third countries from the East through the Black Sea ports and the Danube River. The question of the Black Sea region is an extremely significant topic. It will certainly be continued by other Member States that will hold the Presidency of the Council after us”, says Vice President and General Secretary of BIA Mrs. Margarita Popova.

“The Bulgarian business has the opportunity, within the framework of the Bulgarian Presidency, to open the discussion and to devise ways to work for a long period of time. One of the issues to be considered in the long term is the integration of the Western Balkans into the EU and NATO. Vision means to look and work for the development of the European continent as a whole, not just for a part of it”, Margarita Popova added.

In this regard, Mr. Jacek Krawczyk commented that there is a very serious debate in the EU about the future of the Union and the decisions after Brexit, which will have a serious impact on EU’s agenda. “It's time for tough decisions. At the moment, it is very important to define our values in the EU because if we lose direction and values, for example the Single Market, it will have a serious negative impact on the development of the Union as a whole”, said the chair of the Employers’ Group of the EESC.

Both parties agreed that the Presidency gives a unique opportunity for the hosting Member State to present itself to other EU members, to send messages and to raise important issues related to the agenda and the future of the EU.

Jacek Krawczyk expressed the strong willingness of the Employers’ Group to support, as a co-organizer, together with the BIA, the meeting of the European employers' organizations in March 2018. “We believe that this is a good opportunity for Bulgarian businesses and employers to send their messages to their colleagues in the EU. We are ready to be a bridge between the Bulgarian business and the European institutions”, said Mr. Krawczyk.