“Bulgaria has the chance to be one of the few countries that intersects both the Black Sea and the Danube region. More than 300 million people live in the Black Sea region and over 115 million in the Danube region. These are countries with different economic development that have good cooperation but also the corresponding differences. Bulgaria is an active participant in both multinational initiatives – the Organization for Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) and the Danube Strategy. As the coordinator of Priority area 3 of the Danube Strategy “To promote culture, tourism and people to people contacts” and as a coordinator of BSEC Working Group on Cooperation in Tourism, the Ministry of Tourism works to deepen the regional cooperation in the field of tourism and developing different projects and initiatives to contribute to the greater recognition of the region” said the Minister of tourism Nikolina Angelkova during the International conference “Role and significance of the Black Sea region and its connection to the Danube strategy”, which was held on the 14 and 15 June in Albena resort.
The forum is organized by Bulgarian Industrial Association, Association of the Organizations of Bulgarian Employers and the European Economic and Social Committee. The goal of the forum is to accentuate the role and significance of the Black Sea region and to connect the priorities of the Bulgarian to the following Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU in regard to the policies for the Danube and Black Sea regions.
“BIA, AOBE and the EESC have made efforts to initiate this debate, recognizing one of the topics of the first Bulgarian Presidency – sustainability and an integrated approach for the Black Sea and the Danube Region,” said Oleg Petkov, Deputy Minister of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU. According to him, the Danube and Black Sea regions have enormous potential for development and the Bulgarian Presidency is actively working to enhance their visibility and to increase their connectivity.
According to Michael B. Christides, Secretary General of BSEC, the importance of the Black Sea region will be increasing more and more since it connects three continents – Europe, Asia and Africa. “Unfortunately, there is no stability and security in certain parts of the region, so we have to work together to tackle the problems”, said Michael B. Christides. He reported that, according to the latest statistics, the growth in the tourism sector in the Black Sea region is almost twice as higher than the growth in the tourism sector on a global basis – tourism revenue in the Black Sea region increases by 12% in the Black Sea region and by 6.8% worldwide.
“Over the last 7 years, due to the crisis in Greece, many Greek SMEs have transferred their business to Bulgaria because of the better tax system and because they feel more comfortable working in Bulgaria”, said Dimitris Dimitriadis, member of the Employers’ Group of EESC. He emphasized on the important role of small and medium sized companies in the region for the economic and social development, highlighting the growing opportunities for joint business initiatives.
The conclusions and recommendation of the forum will be handed over to the upcoming Austrian Presidency of the Council of the EU to ensure the continuity of the activities.