Category Archives: Events

SOCIAL PARTNERS WITH A LETTER TO THE PRIME MINISTER ON BULGARIA’S APPLICATION FOR ERM II

ERM
TO

MR BOYKO BORISOV
PRIME MINISTER OF BULGARIA

MR DIMITUR RADEV
GOVERNOR OF THE BULGARIAN NATIONAL BANK

COPY:

MR VLADISLAV GORANOV
MINISTER OF FINANCE

Subject : Take the necessary steps for applying for accession of Bulgaria into the ERM – II / ERM II /

 

Dear Mr. Borisov,
DEAR MR Radev,

Conducted numerous public debates in connection with the Bulgarian presidency of the European Council reaffirmed the need to immediately initiate all necessary procedures for accession of Bulgaria to the ERM II, and accelerate all preparatory steps for subsequent accession to the Eurozone.

As you informed on these issues nationally represented employers and trade unions have expressed their categorical common positions, incl. in November 2014, in the accepted opinion of the Economic and Social Council of December 2017 and other self-declarations.

In a letter to you on 14.06.2018, the social partners proposed holding an emergency meeting on repeatedly stated commitments to quickly join the ERM II. The busy schedule of the Bulgarian presidency of the European Council clearly hampered the timely holding of this meeting and full discussion in our proposed format.

Insofar as these matters are highly attractive both for our members and for the whole society, the institutions of legislative and executive power, banking and actions in key areas of responsibilities exercised policies, hereby reiterate strong support of all social partners in the face of nationally representative organizations of workers and employers in Bulgaria, a Bulgarian official presentation of the candidacy to join the ERM II, immediately after etc. Key Bulgarian presidency of the European Council in the first week of. July 2018

In this regard, we express again the expectations of the social partners to take all necessary steps immediately within the responsibilities and powers of the Government and National Bank, and requested preliminary positions.

 

BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL ASSOCIATION

BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION

BULGARIAN CHAMBER OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRY

CONFEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS AND INDUSTRIALISTS IN BULGARIA

THE CONFEDERATION OF LABOUR PODKREPA

CONFEDERATION OF INDEPENDENT SYNDICATES IN BULGARIA

 

AOBE position on the resumption of the project “Belene”

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REPRESENTATIVES TO NATIONAL

44-TO NATIONAL ASSEMBLY

OF THE REPUBLIC OF BULGARIA

Dear Ladies and Gentlemen,

In recent days, public opinion in Bulgaria is very excited by the proposal for a “reset” of NPP “Belene”. On June 7, 2018 pending the National Assembly to take a very responsible decision on the return of this project on the agenda of the Bulgarian energy sector and under what conditions to do this or, respectively – to continue the moratorium.

Association of Bulgarian Employers (AOBE) has repeatedly expressed its position is regarding the development and implementation of new energy projects – this is acceptable under the explicit condition to be entirely on market principles, without commitments for guaranteed quantities and the discounted prices.

Petkov announced that the project “Belene” will be performed at “market conditions” but as such it made public so far only two requirements:

no state guarantees for the project;

no long-term contracts for the purchase of electricity produced.

Not openly stated publicly express prohibition on:

preferential pricing;

possible additional payment of price differences and / or written;

corporate guarantees from state-owned companies in the energy sector, for example, Bulgarian Energy Holding, National Electric Company, Kozloduy NPP.

In fact, the above requirements hardly exhaust the possible non-market ways of defrauding taxpayers – corporate and individuals. Therefore, relying on the goodwill of both the legislative and the executive, we insist on a clear and unambiguous statement that will be traversed all possibilities “Innovation” and implementing schemes for non-market revenue.

Transparency, marketability, economic consistency – these are basic principles that can ensure long-term sustainability of a project. Considering these principles, the investments made to date and the scale of the project “Belene”, a successful scenario for implementation may include the following steps:

State retrieve a public company existing tangible and intangible assets, including engineering, licensing rights, playground, performed works, and all received or intended to be received equipment, which Bulgaria is the legal owner;

Make a prospectus for public offering of shares of this public company on the stock exchange in volume, securing raising sufficient capital to implement the investment program – so in the most transparent manner and the market will be assessed the economic solvency of the project;

The public company, which after the capital increase involving relevant investors – strategic, institutional, and perhaps smaller ones (if the business audience really believes that the project is profitable) completes the construction site NPP “Belene” and is likely be necessary commitment and debt;

As an investor and operator of the plant “Belene” public company realized electricity produced energy market – from the first to the last megawatt of market prices.

What we think is realistic scheme that could implement the project “Belene” NPP – led by economic logic and pragmatism – without ideological, geopolitical interpretations pathetic phraseology and seeking political gain. At the same time, taking into account the stated official intentions to launch a procedure for selecting a strategic investor, we believe that the preconditions for negotiations with potential candidates should include as basic requirements – ensuring transparency, implementation of the project on market principles and other applicable conditions, some of which are listed above.

We believe that we need a public discussion involving all stakeholders, not disseminate false information – about the price of electricity produced by NPP “Belene”, the volume of future electricity demand, the lack of alternatives.

By arguing that such was the price of electricity produced by NPP “Kozloduy” in the public media space boldly comment on prices generated by the future nuclear power plant “Belene” power ranging between 25 and 50 euros per megawatt hour. Thesis, which we define as inconsistent and inadequate information available – in comparison, the project Hinkley Point C, Britain declared price of 92.50 pounds per megawatt hour, a contract for 35 years. In 2019 Belarus is expected to start operating new nuclear power plant, the prices of which range from 110 euros per megawatt hour. The project Akkuyu, Turkey assumes a price of 124 US dollars per megawatt hour, and estimates for the project of expansion with two new blocks Paksi, Hungary are in the upper range of 80-110 euros per megawatt hour.

The National Statistics Institute systematically develop and publish energy balances, including Overall energy balance, primary energy consumption, energy intensity of the economy. Their analysis shows unequivocally improve energy efficiency – for comparison, 0,470 tonnes of oil equivalent per 1000 euro GDP in 2012., The same indicator for 2016 is 0.423. The same conclusion can we do for electricity intensity – while in 2012 GDP for 1000 euros have been invested over 820 kwh in 2016, the electricity is 765 kwh. However, net electricity consumption in the country (taking into account net production and physical import deducting losses in the grid the need to regulate the electricity system and physical exports) in recent years is sustainable in the range of 31-32 TWh (data of ESO KEVR and NEC), at 3-4 percent economic growth annually. Naturally, there is considerable untapped potential for improvement in this regard.

There are alternatives – both in the field of energy, and in terms of energy consumption and energy efficiency. Examples – new generations renewables already generate electricity with significantly lower prices compared to the recent past, the growing consumption of natural gas will inevitably replace part of the consumed current electricity (trend among household subscribers), develop intelligent networking solutions that optimize bidirectional elektrosvarzanost , is a significant technological progress and possible solutions for efficient storage of electricity and balanced electricity, the voltage at optimal.

In realization of the project “Belene” should be eliminated all the risks associated with the dominant ‘ours’ understanding of quality control and performance, the product of corruption and political interference environment, including purely technical matters. With additional guarantees for the effective implementation of norms for procurement of high public importance and spending significant funds for high quality performance, an objective assessment of the technology of reactors and risk management at the highest achievable level acceptable to our society, our European partners and neighbors.

Last but not least, the vote on the resolution on the moratorium of the National Assembly should proceed in parallel with the discussion of the strategy for sustainable energy development until 2030, the drafting of which was entrusted to the Ministry of Energy.

KIND REGARDS,

 

BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL CAPITAL ASSOCIATION

BULGARIAN INDUSTRIAL ASSOCIATION

BULGARIAN CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE AND INDUSTRIAL

CONFEDERATION OF EMPLOYERS AND INDUSTRIALISTS IN BULGARIA

ICCEU Supports Bulgaria’s Membership in OECD

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The International Coordinating Council of Employers’ Unions (ICCEU) supported Bulgaria’s bid to become a member of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD). This was announced by the ICCEU Chairman Andrzej Malinovski at the General Assembly of the organization hosted by the Association of Industrial Capital in Bulgaria (BICA).

“As always, it is the business that paves the way for our country’s membership in significant international organizations. As you know, at the beginning of this year, the Association of Bulgarian Employers’ Organizations became an associate member of the OECD Advisory Committee on Business and Industry. Our country meets the requirements for membership in one of the most important economic organizations in the world, which signals to foreign investors that the economic situation in Bulgaria is good”, BICA’s Chairman Vasil Velev declared.

During the General Assembly, the next ICCEU chair was also nominated. This is very likely to be the President of the Employers’ Association of Georgia, Elguja Meladze. ICCEU is expected to officially announce its decision at its next meeting, which will take place on 19-21 November this year in Krakow, Poland.

Among other topics discussed by the members of the International Coordinating Council of Employers’ Organizations were priorities of the G-20 Business Council. Those included the development of small and medium-sized enterprises, labour market and education, digital economy, etc. Information was also provided on the National Qualifications Framework of ICCEU, CIS and BRICS.

The official site of the organization was also presented to the participants in the General Assembly.

The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) Associates AOBE’s Signal to the Procedure of Analyzing Competitiveness on Local Electricity Market

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The Commission for Protection of Competition (CPC) will join the AOBE’s signal to the formal procedure it has already started to conduct a sectoral analysis of the competitive environment on the electricity market. This becomes clear from CPC’s response to the AOBE‘s signal related to wholesale electricity prices on the market.

In its letter, CPC informs that in the framework of the proceedings of the Commission № CPC / 82/2018, a comprehensive and in-depth analysis of the competitive environment on the electricity market, as well as of AOBE statements, will be carried out in order to identify existing or possible anti-competitive agreements or practices. Within the framework of the analysis, CPC will define relevant markets, their characteristics and structure, barriers to exit, market participants, degree of market competition, regulatory framework, etc., and will draw conclusions on the state of the competitive environment.

“The implementation of a new sectoral analysis of the energy market will give CPC a detailed picture of the current market processes and the need for any additional measures by the Commission, under the provisions of the Law on Protecting Competition, to contribute to proper functioning of the market environment”, says the CPC’s letter to AOBE.

It is recalled that AOBE sent its signal to CPC on 25 January 2018. It stated that the promotion of open and fair competition on wholesale electricity markets to the benefit of end-users was the aim of Regulation (EC) No 1227 / 2011 of the European Parliament. CPC confirmed that it will do the checks requested by AOBE regarding:

  • coordinated behavior of Kozloduy NPP EAD and TPP Maritsa East 2 EAD as the main suppliers of electricity on the free market in Bulgaria when announcing initial auction prices;
  • pre-arranged cooperation between the two plants with certain electricity traders, applying different access to information on tendering procedures;
  • coordinated action by electricity traders in connection with a significant and unjustified increase in the price of active electrical energy offered to end-users.

PwC Starts a Campaign in Support of Bulgarian Students

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The initiative “Your 25 Reasons to Choose Bulgaria” will award 25 students with scholarships, internships and mentorship

PwC Bulgaria starts the campaign “Your 25 Reasons to Choose Bulgaria” in support of ambitious Bulgarian students. On the occasion of its 25th anniversary in the country PwC Bulgaria together with leading partner companies will support 25 students with:

  • one-year scholarships
  • internships in a prestigious company
  • mentorship

“Through the “Your 25 Reasons to Choose Bulgaria” project we aim to motivate Bulgarian students choose Bulgaria and develop successfully here, help them gain valuable experience, knowledge and advice on their personal and career development”, shared Bojidar Neytchev, Managing Partner, PwC Bulgaria.

The initiative is held under the patronage of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Rumen Radev and with the support of the Ministry of Education and Science. Bulgarian students, aged 18-24, highly motivated to stay and develop here, could take part in the contest. The applicants should submit an essay on the topic “My 25 Reasons to Choose Bulgaria” until 10 February 2018. A jury of business leaders and experts will select the winners.

Leading Bulgarian and foreign companies that develop successful business in Bulgaria partner the campaign.

For more information on “Your 25 Reasons to Choose Bulgaria”, please visit the official website and the PwC Bulgaria Facebook and LinkedIn profiles.

Looking for Ways to Increase the Effectiveness of EU SME Policies, in Partnership with the European Economic and Social Committee

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The discussion was opened by Mr. Vassil Velev, Chairman of the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and Mr. Valeri Simeonov, Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria. Deputy Minister of Economy Mr. Lachezar Borisov, the Executive Director of the Bulgarian Small and Medium Enterprises Promotion Agency Mrs. Marieta Zaharieva, the Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, the Secretary General of the European Association of Guarantee Institutions Ms Catherine Stourm, as well as the members of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) Dr. Milena Angelova – Secretary General of BICA, Mr. Dimitris Dimitriadis, Mr. Chris Lefevre and Mr. Panagiotis Gofas.

Small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) produce about 70% of the country’s GDP and work for 75% of the employed, said the chairman of BICA Vasil Velev. He noted that the potential of small businesses to secure growth and employment is severely hampered by severe administrative and bureaucratic procedures and shortage of human resources and welcomes the fact that one of the priorities of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU is to provide better conditions for SMEs.

The Deputy Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Valeri Simeonov reminded that the government supported the small and medium business with the amendments to the Labor Migration Act in the first month of its work. This measure has allowed the import of 4,000 people from other country, which has secured the most successful summer tourist season in years. With the forthcoming changes in the Law on the Ministry of Interior, the Blue Card regime will be facilitated, as well as the access to the labor market in the country of highly qualified personnel. The government is also working on amendments to the Bulgarian Citizenship Act, which will also contribute to providing workforce for business in Bulgaria. A program to reduce the administrative burden for business and citizens is successfully implemented.

The EESC’s main proposals, co-ordinated with BICA and presented during the discussion, are related to: changing the definition of SMEs on the basis of which companies receive access to EU funding, cheaper loans and a range of administrative reliefs; introducing a legal obligation – both in the EU and in Bulgaria – to respect the principles of “think small first” and “just one more time” as well as to test the suitability of all legislative changes to the needs of SMEs.

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The EESC and BICA insist that the European Commission should enable SMEs to choose which of the two requirements – number of employees, turnover or balance figure – to meet instead of imposing the “number of the staff employed “as a leader. They also call for simplification of State aid rules, reassessment and change of connectivity constraints, updating thresholds for micro, small and medium enterprises as they have not changed over the last 20 years.

The views of the EESC and the BICА were also supported by former EESC President Dimitris Dimitriadis, who pointed out that EU SMEs account for almost 23 million and provide jobs to 67% of Union employees.

“For the period from 2007-2013 , ERDF helped to SMEs with approximately EUR 47.5 billion. The comparison between the number of beneficiaries – 246,000 SMEs and the total number of businesses – 18.5 million at that point clearly indicates that the EU has failed to support this very important category of enterprises, “he said. The expert commented that more EU funds for SMEs are benefiting by the North countries in EU not the South.

This was the case for Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund, to clarify that with its own EUR 930 million, the financial institution has attracted an additional EUR 2.4 billion to support SMEs. Over past 5 years, about 15,000 SMEs from Bulgaria have benefited from such funding.

This was the case for Mrs. Denitsa Berkhoff, Head of the Risk Management Group of the European Investment Fund, to clarify that with its own EUR 930 million, the financial institution has attracted an additional EUR 2.4 billion to support SMEs. Over the past 5 years, some 15,000 SMEs from Bulgaria have benefited from such funding.

For a more ambitious Small Business Act in Europe (SBA), the National Association of Small and Medium Business, a member of BICA, announced. According to the chairman of the association Mrs. Negulova, SMEs in Bulgaria need this SBA to be implemented with a legally binding document, to adopt a precise “road map” with deadlines, funds and funding, along with measures to follow up and assess progress on its application.

The specific recommendations of the forum are also related to the need to minimize administrative burdens and put an end to the practice of Member States imposing additional regulations and burdens when transposing European legislation at national level. The important role of employers’ organizations was emphasized for a structured presentation of possible measures and solutions to stimulate SMEs and develop entrepreneurship.

Another very serious difficulty experienced by SMEs – as opposed to large enterprises – is access to new markets. SMEs have a number of difficulties in engaging with larger businesses as part of their value chain, engaging in competitive clusters, accessing support mechanisms and tools, recruiting and retaining staff. EU policies for SMEs should devote more effort to informing SMEs – and in particular – the most vulnerable sub-groups, such as sole proprietors and micro-enterprises, traditional low-potential enterprises, businesses from remote regions, etc. – for available support. The main support networks should be maintained and promoted as well as made easier and more accessible to SMEs.

 

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