Sanctions ‘spoke in the wheel’ of business, Bulgarian PM tells 16+1 meeting in Sofia

When intergovernmental relations are good, the possibility to develop investments depends directly on the local government, Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said on October 20.

Borissov was speaking at the opening at Sofia’s National Palace of Culture of the “16+1” fourth local leaders meeting of the Central and Eastern European countries and China, which has the theme “global thinking, local action”, a Bulgarian government media statement said.

He said that local authorities are “engines for investment” and noted that Bulgaria had dozens of cities twinned with Chinese ones.

Borissov said that at the November 18 and 19 Europe – Asia meeting (ASEM) in Brussels, the huge opportunities of the market had been emphasised, but at the same time, there were sanctions – by the US against China and Russia, as well as by the EU against Russia. This was why at the Brussels meeting, even though there was a lot of optimism, there also was a lot of pessimism, Borissov said.

Assuming that the free market and competitiveness are the driving forces behind successful business and co-operation, sanctions are the spoke in the wheel that prevents the competitiveness of business in countries where they are applied, Borissov said.

Borissov said that the US quitting the climate change agreement was not a unique act, while every day nature gave a reminder that climate change is a fact. “That what is happening today – floods, droughts, earthquakes, tsunami, is also a reason for the migration wave that is going on the world,” Borissov said, adding that he was firmly convinced that the whole world should make a huge effort.

Digitisation was a reality and led to the need for relevant cyber-protection and the fight against cybercrime. He said that during his visit to Brussels, he had been in a group with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang and German Chancellor Angela Merkel, where there had been an opportunity to discuss all these topics.

The “16+1” Fourth Local Leaders’ Meeting of the Central and East European countries and China is co-organised by the Ministry of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU and Sofia Regional Governor in partnership with Sofia Municipality, the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria and the National Palace of Culture.

It is being held three months after the Seventh “16+1” Summit, held in Sofia on July 7 2018, and is intended to advance the outcomes of the summit as summarised in The Sofia Guidelines, the organisers said.

According to the website of the October 20 event, “the ’16+1′ Initiative for co-operation between China and the 16 countries of CEE is an important mechanism for stimulating political dialogue, investments, trade and economic relations and co-operation in a wide range of areas.

“In recent years the ’16+1′ local level co-operation has been gaining popularity through supporting the twinning of capitals, provinces, regions and municipalities between China and CEECs, and visits of delegations in order to foster direct exchanges and co-operation at the local level.”

The programme includes a plenary meeting of the “16+1” local leaders and business delegations; the Fourth Working meeting of the CEEC-China Association of Provincial Governors, and B2B meetings at the side-lines of the meeting.

Ahead of the opening of the October 20 meeting, Borissov held talks with the Vice Chairperson of the Standing Committee of China’s National People’s Congress, Cao Jianming, a government statement said.

Borissov voiced confidence that the meeting of local leaders would contribute to the deepening of the bilateral relations between Bulgaria and China.

“Representatives of all Bulgarian regions as well as a large number of municipalities will participate in the forum. I hope they will establish contacts and cooperate on concrete projects,” Borissov said.

The statement said that Borissov emphasised Bulgaria’s desire to expand its comprehensive friendly partnership with China by deepening political and economic contacts, and emphasised that in 2019 Bulgaria and China would mark the 70th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations.




The Sofia Globe staff

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