Date: 17.05.2018

Source: Bulgarian Industrial Association

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The participants in the BusinessEurope’s Council of Presidents were adopted today, 17 May 2018, by the President of the Republic Rumen Radev. More than 40 representatives of 30 business organizations from all over Europe shared with the Bulgarian head of state the key issues and expectations for the development of the European economy in the context of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

BusinessEurope's delegation is led by Emma Marcegaglia, president of BusinessEurope. Speaking to the meeting, Mrs Marcegaglia stressed that, given the growing international tensions and the many important issues that need to be resolved during the Bulgarian Presidency, there is hardly a more appropriate motto than “United we stand strong”. “Trade wars are damaging to everyone, so we have to be strong and united against protectionist trends across the world and within the EU,” said Emma Marcegaglia.

In her view, in order to ensure that Europe remains one of the best places to live and work in the world, it must maintain its competitiveness and strengthen the ability of companies to cope with global competition. “Economic and social reforms are needed. Economic and social challenges need to be addressed in a coherent way, recognizing that economic progress is the basis for social well-being. The program of the Bulgarian Presidency has key priorities that are crucial in this respect”, said Mrs Marcegaglia.

Among the key issues awaiting their decision are the strengthening of the monetary and economic union in the EU, the next Multiannual Financial Framework of the Union, and accelerating the adoption of single market proposals that reduce regulatory barriers to business. Last but not least, the topic under discussion was Brexit. “BusinessEurope welcomes the achieved in March this year political agreement for a transitional period following the departure of the United Kingdom in March 2019”, said Emma Marcegaglia and called for an acceleration of the negotiation process for future EU-UK relations in the post-2019 period in order to have clearer perspective for companies and citizens.

President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev highlighted the role of BusinessEurope in supporting SMEs in Europe. “Life is changing dramatically and the time has come for long-term strategies and new priorities. Every single sphere in life - education, environment, trade - all correlates with the industry. That is why we rely on the support of European business to make progress on global social and economic prospects”, said President Radev.

Asked about the future of the Eurozone, the Bulgarian head of state stressed that this is one of the most important topics for deepening the integration of Bulgaria into the European Union, since the single currency is part of the unity of Europe. According to him, our country needs to make a careful risk analysis and be fully confident about its readiness to adopt the euro and the impact it will have on the incomes of citizens. “We need a purposeful policy on this issue, your help and a secure banking system”, Rumen Radev said.

The subject of the Euro-Asian partnership was also touched upon during the conversation. In this regard, President Radev stressed that every opportunity for cross-border cooperation should be used, but it should be done under EU rules, with the extension of infrastructure connectivity and technology transfer being of particular importance.