The General Assembly of the Association of Balkan Chambers
The General Assembly of the Association of Balkan Chambers took
place on the 7 - 8 December 2005, in Athens, Greece, under the
presidency of the Union of Hellenic Chambers of Commerce. The main
topics of the agenda referred to: promotion of the regional economic
cooperation, tourism-important field of cooperation for the region,
ABC chambers as consultants on the EU structural and cohesion funds
for companies, partnership project ABC-DIHK.
On this occasion the new president and vicepresident of ABC were
elected: Mr.Branko Azeski-president of the national Chamber in
Skopje and, respectively, Dr. Victor Babiuc-president of the
national Chamber in Bucharest
CCIR awarded the
top Romanian companies
The Chamber of Commerce and Industry of Romania (CCIR) organised on
28 November 2005, the 12th National Chart of Top Companies—a
reference event for the business environment in Romania.
The 12th National Chart of Top Companies included economic actors
that scored exceptional economic results in 2004 and showed interest
in the promotion of market economy values.
The evaluation base consisted in the processing by the county
chambers of commerce and industry of data about 505,922 companies
that deposited their balance sheets with the internal revenue
services in 2004, with a total turnover of RON 453.3 billion and a
payroll of 4,133,360. After assessment of the performance of these
companies, the county chambers of commerce and industry awarded
21,590 companies that fulfilled the eligibility criteria set by the
Chart methodology. The first ten companies from each county and from
Bucharest, respectively were eligible for the National Chart,
classified on six domains: • R&D and High-Tech • Industry •
Agriculture, Silviculture and Food Industry • Construction •
Services • Commerce, Export, Tourism. After successive assessments,
2,803 companies qualified for the National Chart, with a total
turnover of RON 108.8 billion (24 per cent of the total turnover of
the companies initially evaluated in the Chart at national level).
The first five most performing counties in terms of number of
companies awarded are Bucharest Municipality (928), Timis County
(170), Brasov County (137), Constanta County (133), and Prahova
Other awards were also granted within the National Chart of Top
Companies event: the Trophy of Excellence to 20 companies that had
ranked among the top three companies for the last five editions of
the Chart; the Award of Excellence to 69 companies that had ranked
among the top three companies for the last three editions of the
Chart; and the Creativity Trophy (organised jointly with the State
Office for Inventions and Trademarks) to 30 companies that showed
interest in such activities as those related to patents and the
protection of industrial designs.
Source: CCIR press release
The 2nd Edition of
the National Forum on KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY
December 12-13 2005
The Chamber of Commerce and industry of Romania in cooperation with
Human Resource Training Centre and having as main sponsors ORACLE
ROMANIA and MICROSOFT ROMANIA, has organized the second edition of
National Forum on KNOWLEDGE BASED ECONOMY. The main objectives of
this event was:
● To debate the coherent, systemic strategy for the 2007 year when
Romania is aiming at EU integration
● To consolidate the partnership between academic offer and high
priority needs supporting the re-launching the Romanian industry
● To discuss the key human issues with the coming paradigm of
knowledge based Economy in Common Europe
● To prepare the partnership between Romanian local networks and
European IST projects that are to be proposed for the IST 7th
Framework 2007 – 2010.
BCCI to Further the
Economic and Trade Relations Development with Lithuania
An economic and trade agreement between BCCI, the International
Chamber of Commerce in Lithuania and the Association of Lithuanian
Chambers of Commerce, Industry and Crafts was signed on 21 November
during the Bulgaria-Lithuania Business Forum. Under the agreement
the three organizations will further the development of business
relations between entrepreneurs from both countries by organizing
seminars, business forums, conferences; they will exchange
information about the economic and export possibilities and changes
in the business legislation.
The forum was organized on the occasion of the Lithuanian President
Valdas Adamkus’ visit to our country. Over 50 Bulgarian and
Lithuanian companies from the finance and banking business,
building, machinery and plant, legal services, real estates
investment projects sectors took part in the forum.
Source: Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry –
BCCI Celebrated its
110 Anniversary and Awarded the Annual Prizes
On 17 November BCCI officially celebrates 110 years of its
establishment. The event was marked by an official meeting of the
BCCI’s Board of Directors and a formal ceremony. During the
celebration the 2005 annual prizes were awarded. Businessmen,
ministers, MPs, diplomats, representatives of the media attended the
BCCI’s tradition of awarding annual prizes dates back to 1994. The
prizes are given to diplomats – for contribution to the Republic of
Bulgaria economic relations development, to leading companies and
holdings – for business achievements, to regional chambers,
sectorial organizations and others – for active participation in
achieving the BCCI’s objectives, to journalists and media – for
publicizing BCCI’s activity in service to Bulgarian business with
news, reports and interviews.
The companies were awarded prizes on the basis of the BCCI’s Top100
classifications. BCCI’s annual prizes are a specific indicator of
the entrepreneurial activity and an impetus to the Bulgarian
business. The list of the prize winners can be found on the BCCI’s
The Vice-President Angel Marin congratulated BCCI on its anniversary
and praised highly its contribution to the dialogue and cooperation
between government and business.
The prize winners in the Companies, Regional Chamber of Commmerce
and Industry, Sectorial Organization categories.
The prizewinners in the Ambassador, Trade Representative and Foreign
CCI or a Related Organization – Partner categories.
BRIDGE” FOR LINKING MARKETS
Within the third meeting of the businesspeople of Western Balkans,
held in Serbian Chamber of Commerce, 16 November 2005, organized by
Media Invest, Novi Sad, the award “Golden Bridge” has been given to
the fallowing officials, companies and businessmen:
· H.E. Aleksandar Aleksejev, Ambassador of Rusia in Serbia
· H.E. Stanimir Vukićević, Ambassador of S&M in BIH,
· H.E. Josip Vrbosić, Ambassador of Croatia in BIH,
· Ms. Marija Enrjuz, Attaché in USA Embassy in S&M,
· IGM Trade Dooel, Kavadarci, Macedonia,
· MZT Hepos, Skopje, Macedonia,
· Tobacco Factory, Sarajevo, BIH,
· Feal, Siroki Brijeg, BIH,
· Montenegro Airlines, Podgorica,
· Plantaze “13 juli”, Podgorica,
· Mr. Duško Knežević, Manager of Atlas Group, Belgrade
· Dmitar Poloviva, Director, Slovenia Chamber of Commerce,
represenatative office in Belgrade,
· Elektroprivreda Srbije,
· Elektromontaža, Serbia
· Vunizol, Surdulica, Serbia,
· Aleksandrija, Belgrade, Serbia,
· Henkel-Merima, Kruševac, Serbia,
· IMPOL-SEVAL, Sevojno, Serbia,
· Lukoil, Belgrade, Serbia
· Jugosever, Belgrade
· Mr. Miloš Tankosavić, journalist from Belgrade
The representatives of the chambers of : Serbia, Macedonia,
Montenegro, Slovenia and BIH have stressed that regional cooperation
is the only road towards stabilization, development and EU
Next meeting of the businessmen of Western Balkan will be held in
Podgorica in 2006.
Romanian and Bulgarian companies are the most optimistic in
Eurochambres Economic Survey (EES) 2006
“Business confidence in Europe remains continuously positive, but
this is not clearly sufficient for a sound economic recovery. We do
not need stabilisation and a wait-and-see approach, but clear upward
trend” – said Eurochambres President Cristoph Leitl with the
occasion of EES presentation. Results of this year’s Eurochambres
Economic Survey suggest that on average the European economy will
continue to grow next year on a stable, but not very steep path.
Business confidence, domestic demand and export sales are expected
to decline in 2006 compared to 2005. Only total turnover and
employment are expected slightly increase. More than 90,000
companies from 27 European countries were polled.
For Romania and Bulgaria (countries in course of integration),
Croatia 9in the middle of negotiation process) and Turkey (at the
beginning of negotiation) the provisions are more optimistic than
Source: Eurochambres press release
Balkan Accession fund bags EUR 10 million for Romania and Bulgaria
The International Finance Corporation (IFC) plans to contribute
around EUR 10 million investment fund targeting Romanian and
The fund is managed by the administrators of the Romanian-American
Investment Fund (FRAI) and the Bulgarian-American investment Fund (FBAI).
A corporation press release puts the IFC’s contribution at 13.3
percent of the overall capitalisation of the fund, which will be
named the Balkan Accession Fund.
The new fund’s primacy will be mezzanine finance operations and
targets investments in medium sized companies in Romania and
Bulgaria. For the short term the fund is addressing expansion to
Croatia and Serbia-Montenegro.
So far, the Balkan Accession Fund has raised some EUR 20 million, of
which FRAI contributed EUR 5 million and FBAI EUR 1 million.
The fund was launched early in the year by the Balkan Accession
management Company. The main FBAI, are the German Investment and
Development Company, the Dutch Development Financing Fund and other
firms and individuals from Romania, Bulgaria and the United States.
The fund targets the growing sectors of the industry, while the
value of an investment is between 3-8 million.
Source: Business Review
Contract on formation of Southeast Europe energy union signed
Belgrade/Athens, Oct 25, 2005 - Serbian Minister of Energy and
Mining Radomir Naumov said that a contract on formation of an energy
union between the countries of Southeast Europe was signed today in
Athens, marking the creation of the first integrated, regulatory and
stable energy marke.
In a statement to the Tanjug news agency, Naumov said that the union
consists of ten Southeast European countries, including Albania,
Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Greece, Italy, FYR of
Macedonia, Romania, Serbia-Montenegro, and Turkey, adding that these
countries have accepted all current regulations regarding the energy
and environmental protection sectors, as well as those concerning
According to Naumov, the contract on formation of the energy union
crowned nine years of work, and its signing, regarded as historic
for Europe, is as significant as the day when the agreement on the
formation of a steel and coal union was signed in 1951.
Naumov said that the contract on formation of the energy union,
besides improving energy functioning of the entire region, should
add to its economic progress, stressing its political content.
Naumov recalled that the contract’s signatories include countries in
the process of accession to the EU and stressed that, in the energy
sector, Serbia-Montenegro became a part of the European Union, which
is highly important when it comes to investment in the forthcoming
The minister pointed out the plan of investing more than €21 billion
in the electric power sector in the region in the next 15 years. He
also said that present at the signing of the contract were Greece’s
prime minister, minister of foreign affairs and speaker in the
parliament, the mayor of Athens, ministers and deputy prime
ministers of many Southeast European countries, as well as numerous
representatives of banks and embassies.
Good start to EU negotiations
Belgrade, Nov 08, 2005- The first round of Serbia-Montenegro’s
negotiations on stabilisation and association with the European
Union began in a good and constructive atmosphere, negotiators said.
The introductory round was held with a team led by the European
Commission’s Western Balkans director, Reinhard Pribe and three
local teams of delegates, one each from Serbia and Montenegro and a
Serbia’s team leader, deputy prime minister Miroljub Labus said that
he is satisfied with meeting.
Despite the delays, European Commission’s Western Balkans director,
Reinhard Pribe was positive about the beginning of the negotiations.
“The EU delegation is very satisfied because everyone on the other
side of the table was well prepared. We mainly discussed the
preamble to the Agreement on Stabilisation and Association and
touched on some key issues,” he told media.
The second round of negotiations will be held in the second half of
Balkans edging closer to the EU
London, Nov 07 – An article published in the London weekly Economist
states that nations of the western Balkans are taking noticeable
steps towards European integration.
Even though most Balkan nations have many more obstacles and years
ahead of them before becoming members of the European Union, it
seems that European politicians have decided that it would be better
to make these countries a part of the team instead of letting them
make problems outside of it, according to the article.
One of the main problems of this plan mentioned in the article is
the fact that EU candidate nations receive a lot more financial help
than nations that are still not official candidates. For example,
Bulgaria received 300 million euros from the EU in 2003, but will by
2009 be receiving 1.6 billion euros in aid. Serbia on the other
hand, which has a similarly large population as Bulgaria, will see
its financial help in this same period fall from 240 to 117 million
Economist states that these are the consequences of the EU’s
short-term thinking which won’t help to stop the piling up of new
problems for the Balkans, and for the collective EU as well.
The Government Adopted Its Governance Programme
Acceleration of the process of preparation for Bulgaria’s accession
to the European Union, achievement of high and sustainable economic
growth and social responsibility so as to offer solutions to
citizens’ problems – these are the three major goals outlined and
specified in the government’s programme adopted at the emergency
session of the Council of Ministers.
The draft programme was developed on the basis of the political
priorities that are expressed in the programme declaration signed by
the coalition partners in August this year. The draft document takes
into consideration the National Development Plan for 2007-2013. The
government’s term of office, covering the period from 2005 to 2009,
coincides with the years prior to and after Bulgaria’s EU
membership. Therefore the programme provides for the steps to be
taken before our country joins the Union and in the first years
after it becomes a EU member, taking into account the financial
framework that the EU adopted for Bulgaria for 2007-2009.
The governance programme tries to strike a balance and to combine
the commitments taken to the voters. It is based on the principles
of good state governance, commitment and coordination between the
policies followed by the ministries. Among the programme’s merits is
also its unique structure, applied for the first time in Bulgaria.
It introduces the principle of integrated state governance and
correlation of the policies of the ministries. This will ensure
better coordination in the implementation of the government’s
priorities. All respective ministries have drafted their strategic
objectives and programmes in line with the government’s priorities.
The newly adopted ruling programme of the coalition government will
serve as basis on which the different ministries can come up with
their concrete programmes. We will seek new flexible financing
mechanisms, including the state budget, European funds,
international financing institutions, public-private partnership,
Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said at a press-conference after the
cabinet’s session. The governance programme offers a completely new
matrix, where the concrete policies, financing mechanisms and
commitments of the relevant ministries, as well as tentative
timetables for their implementation, are written down against each
priority. The Prime Minister pointed out that the programme is open
and can be updated in the future.
Another distinctive feature of the government’s programme is the
fact that it was widely discussed not only within the ruling
coalition but also among society, with trade unions, employers’
organizations and NGOs contributing a lot.
One of the concrete measures laid down in the programme as
imperative to be undertaken in the next year is the construction and
putting into operation of 60 km of the highways.
The document outlines concrete action and measures to be taken with
regard to keeping up with the EU economic growth, rise in the income
and cohesion in the quality of life; maintaining high and
sustainable economic growth, encouragement of private initiative and
continuation in the processes of privatization, concessions
granting, development of public-private partnership. Other
priorities as expressed in the programme are: modernization of the
state, establishing knowledge-based economy, increase of employment
rate and training of the workforce in line with the EU’s Growth and
Jobs Strategy; education and culture development; guaranteed and
accessible healthcare system; elimination of regional discrepancies,
and maintenance of the dynamic regional development; decisive
measures against organized crime and corruption; enhanced judicial
reform, ensuring fast, efficient, transparent, fair and accessible
justice; Bulgaria’s accession to the EU on 1 January 2007 and full
participation in the union’s bodies and institutions.
THE FIFTH DANUBE REGION BUSINESS CONFERENCE (DRBC 5)
The Fifth Danube Region Business Conference was held in Sava Center
in Belgrade, 10- 11 November 2005. It was organized under the
patronage of their excellences Mme. Benita Ferro- Waldner, member of
the European Commission responsible for external relations and the
European neighborhood Policy and Mr. Vuk Drašković, Minister for
Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro, under the auspices of the
Danube Cooperation Process. The organizers were the Ministry for
Trade, Tourism and Services of Serbia and Serbian Chamber of
Commerce. Co organizers were GTZ, BMZ and Serbian Tourist
Organization in cooperation with City of Vienna, TINA
Vienna-Transport Strategies GmbH, Bank Austrian Creditanstalt, The
Austrian Federal Economic Chamber and AOC.
The Motto of the conference was “The Danube Cooperation Without
DRBC 5 brought together representatives of the business community,
governmental, regional and municipal administration, economic,
science and research institution, legislators, NGOs and civil
society representatives, as well as professional associations from
all neighboring and some EU countries: Austria, Germany, Hungary,
Slovakia, Slovenia, etc.
At the plenary session introductory speeches were given by: H.E.
Milovan Bozinovic, Ambassador, President of Danube Commission, H.E.
Vuk Draskovic, Minister FER, H.E. Mihail Razvan Ungureany, Minister
for FER of Romania, Mr. Bojan Dimitrijevic, Minister for Trade,
Tourism and Services of R. Serbia, Mr. Leo Kruecz, Regional Director
for SEE, Kuakas and Central Asia, Federal ministry for ECD of
Germany, Mr. Otto Schwetz, Chairman of Pan-European Corridor VII,
Ms. Gabriela Konevska, SECI.
It was stressed that cultural, touristic, and economic roles of the
Danube are of the great importance for the region, having in mind
that it is the most European river of all. The Danube is used by
more than 2 mil. passengers per year. Regarding Serbia Mr.
Dimitrijevic, Minister for TTS highlighted that the investments
expected to be made in Danube region in Serbia, which includes the
length of about 600 km, are mostly needed for construction of ports
and marines. He concluded that for further development of the Danube
region a public campaign is needed with full participation of the
public and private sector.
Mr. Aziju Leo Krojc, Regional Manager for SEE, Kuakas and CA said
that the Danube is the corner stone for regional cooperation of all
Danube countries. He also said that by opening of the Freedom Bridge
in Novi Sad all obstacles lifted at the 2.888 km long route of the
Mr. Oto Schwetz, Chairman of Pan-European Corridor VII stressed that
the investment of about 1,2 billion EUR is needed for solving all
transport problems on the Danube.
All aspects of cooperation in the Danube region were discussed at 5
· Investments, SMEs and Financial Services,
· Infrastructure and Transport,
· Tourism and Culture,
· Environmental Protection and Water Management,
· Cooperation between Science and Business: Obstacles and
Furniture Makers to Test Products in Bulgaria
Bulgaria's first laboratory for furniture testing and certification
will start operating by the end of 2006. This will facilitate local
manufacturers, who now send their products for certification to
Italy and Hungary. The financing for the laboratory has been secured
by the Italian government.
The construction and equipment of the centre will cost about BGN 1
million. The laboratory will test the products of local
manufacturers and will issue different types of certificates,
depending on the requirements of foreign partners, including
certificates for children's furniture. The prices will be half the
rates charged by the European laboratories, the Bulgarian chamber of
the wood-processing and furniture industry said.
Furniture production in Bulgaria surged by 18% in 2004, a similar
increase is expected this year, too, the chamber said. The volume of
the output reached EUR 280 million, with exports accounting for EUR
200 million of the sales (20% higher than in 2003).
Source: Ministry of Economy and Energy of Bulgaria,
New Vehicle Inspection Shed is Opened at Malko Tarnovo Border
On 25 November 2005 Minister of Finance Plamen Oresharski and H.E.
British Ambassador Jeremy Hill opened new facility for close
examination of vehicles at Malko Tarnovo Border Checkpoint.
The construction of the new facility is financed by the British
government through the British Embassy in Sofia which coordinates
and manages the project. The new vehicle inspection shed at Malko
Tarnovo Border Checkpoint is situated on an area of 500 sq.m. and
has two levels.
The money amounting to BGN 1,076,000 is extended by the Foreign and
Commonwealth Office Drugs and Crime Fund.
The construction of this facility was part of the long-lived
co-operation between Bulgaria and the United Kingdom in
counteracting drug trafficking.
A cold storage shed for searches of lorries suspected of drug
trafficking along the so-called Balkan road to the amount of
£120,000 was opened at Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint in 2002.
In 2003, the British Government ensured the supply and the
installation of a system for automatic scanning of the registration
numbers of heavy-freight lorries that enter Bulgaria from Turkey
through Kapitan Andreevo Border Checkpoint to the amount of £40,000.
A highly protected specialized information system for real-time data
exchange among drug traffic divisions within the National Customs
Agency was also built under a project funded by the British
Government totalling £36,700.
Source: Ministry of Economy and Energy of Bulgaria,
Bulgarian National Bank registered a 11.5% FDI growth in Bulgaria
for the period January-September 2005
According to the preliminary records of Bulgarian National Bank
(BNB) the foreign direct investments in Bulgaria for the period
January-September 2005 account for EUR 1322.8 mln. The FDI register
a 11.5% growth in comparison to the same period last year, when the
investments in the country account for EUR 1187 mln. No significant
privatization projects have been completed in the first three
quarters of 2005.
“In compliance with the most recent analysis of the experts in
InvestBulgaria Agency (IBA) and the data on behalf of the investors,
the greenfield investments in the Bulgarian economy up to this
moment exceed EUR 1.5 bln. BNB has not yet registered the
investments on the projects certified with a First Class Investor
Certificates. By the end of the year another two investment projects
will be awarded with First Class Certificates”, announced Mr. Pavel
Ezekiev, Executive Director of InvestBulgaria Agency.
InvestBulgaria Agency has certified 10 investment projects so far in
accordance with the Investment Encouragement Act. Eight projects
received certificates for a First Class Investor, guaranteeing
investments in Bulgaria for over BGN 70 mln. each. Their complete
realization will create some 10,500 new working positions.
Regarding our forecasts for the investments volume, the analysis of
IBA show that the investments attracted in Bulgaria for 2005 will
account for a total of EUR 6 bln. The FDI will reach the record
volume of 2004 accounting for about EUR 2.5 bln. We develop our
forecasts based on the recent rates of investing in the Bulgarian
economy, as well as on the trends and results in the international
investment environment”, explained Mr. Ezekiev.
The preliminary data of BNB on investments by countries for the
period January-September 2005 show that the most investments have
been attracted from Austria (32.5% of the total volume of FDI in
Bulgaria), Switzerland (14.2%) and UK (13.5%).
Source: Bulgarian National Bank
Vignette Sale for 2006 Starts
On 5th December starts the sale of all types of vignette stickers
for 2006. By the end of the year continued the sale of vignettes for
2005. The parallel sale will not change the validity term of the
vignette types now offered.
The sale of vignette stickers this year will be again through the
Road Executive Agency distribution posts in the District Road
Offices and in 23 specialized units of the Agency at the
Vignette stickers can be bought as well from the sale posts of DZI –
Trans, Bulgarian Posts – EAD, DZI Bank as well as from the SHELL and
OMV petrol stations.
Cabinet Raises Quota for Low-duty Sugar Import
The annual quota for import of raw sugar charged a preferential 5%
customs duty will increase by 20,000 tonnes, the Bulgarian cabinet
decided at a meeting Thursday, finally satisfying the request of the
sugar refinery in Gorna Oryahovitsa. Earlier this year the company
accused the authorities of favouring Litex Commerce, which won 87%
of the low-duty quota. The Gorna Oryahovitsa-based company requested
89,000 tonnes of raw sugar but received just 27,000 tonnes.
The battle has not been won yet, the plant's executive director,
Georgi Uzunov, said. We are yet to see how the additional quota will
Source: Ministry of economy and Energy,
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