An Austrian-Bulgarian business forum in Vienna heard Bulgarian President Rossen Plevneliev underline his message that his country is a stable and reliable partner to foreign investors and will do all it can to encourage them.
At the forum, attended by 400 Austrian and 30 Bulgarian business representatives along with Bulgarian Regional Development Minister Liliana Pavlova and Transport Minister Ivailo Moskovski, a Bulgarian and an Austrian company signed a 30 million euro contract on the manufacture of cast-iron components for the water and sewerage sector, Bulgarian news agency BTA said on September 18 2012.
The Bulgarian company could reach agreement with another Austrian company on the manufacture of parts and components for railway carriages and engines and for railway infrastructure, the report said.
Austria is the second-largest investor in Bulgaria.
On September 17, the first of the two days of Plevneliev’s visit to Austria, he met – among others – his counterpart Heinz Fischer and the premier of Lower Austria, Edwin Pröll..
In recent years, more than 450 companies from Lower Austria have started operating in Bulgaria, 50 of them last year, Pröll said, quoted by news agency Focus.
Plevneliev said that the co-operation between Bulgaria and Lower Austria was widening every year. He said that Bulgaria’s business climate was improving and said Bulgaria was an example of successful use of European funds.
Plevneliev and Pröll agreed that co-operation between Bulgaria and Lower Austria to further develop the Danube region should be strengthend. More than 100 million Europeans live in the region and the economic potential is huge, Pröll said.
A conference of leaders from the Danube region is to take place inBulgariain October 2012, to discuss co-operation among the countries of the region. In 2013 there will discussions on opportunities to enlarge shipping along the Danube and co-operation between the Black Sea and Danube ports. The goal is to double the transport along the Danube in the coming years, Pröll said.
Speaking on September 17, Plevneliev said that the growth and cohesion policy was the way out of the crisis inEurope. He said that the resources of the EU’s cohesion policy should not be merely distributed and spent but should be put to the use of “intelligent investments”.
Plevneliev said that Europe should have reasonable instruments for growth, one of them being the Danubean Strategy for implementing common policies on a regional level. The development of the regions and co-operation among them is Europe’s future, Plevneliev said.
After talks with Plevneliev, Austrian president Fischer said that his country has a positive attitude toBulgaria’s accession to the EU Schengen visa zone.
Fischer said that his country would backBulgariaat the EU justice and home affairs council in October, which is expected to take a decision onBulgaria’s membership of Schengen (separate reports have indicated that the agenda item or the meeting itself could be postponed because of continuing lack of agreement on admittingBulgariaandRomaniato Schengen). “We are aware that this is an important foreign political and European objective for Bulgaria,” Fischer said. He said thatAustria’s government and interior ministry had considered very seriously the issue ofBulgariapreparedness for the visa-free area and hold the opinion that they will backBulgariain October because it had fulfilled the set requirements for accession.
(Photo, of presidents Plevneliev of Bulgaria and Fischer of Austria, by V Nikolov/president.bg)