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The European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) proposes the creation and development of a Network of Financial Ombudsmen in all EU Member States. The network should be coordinated by the European Commission (EC), aiming to cover the access of small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to all possible sources of funding and to offer systematic solutions to address the problems. In addition to helping SMEs to access funds on a daily basis, such a network can assist the EC in collecting and analyzing data to assess the effectiveness with which intermediary banks use financial instruments to reach SMEs. This was stated by the Vice-President of SGI Europe, EESC rapporteur on the SME Strategy and Secretary General of the Industrial Capital Association in Bulgaria Dr. Milena Angelova during the meeting of the European Network of SME Envoys (, which took place in Brussels.

“Today, more than ever, European SMEs face challenges that require rapid and innovative solutions that allow them to take advantage of the opportunities for digitalisation and a successful transition to a neutral economy. They should be supported by digital innovation centers and other networks and benefit from the incentive measures outlined in the SME Strategy. The COVID-19 pandemic, rising inflation, the unprecedented rise in electricity and natural gas prices reflect an extremely negative economic impact on SMEs. These are factors that underlie the decline in SME revenues, supply chain disruptions, lack of liquidity, lack of know-how to absorb and accelerate digitalization and others, “said Dr. Milena Angelova.

According to her, the mission of SME envoys is extremely important, as it is a bridge between the EC, SMEs and their representative organizations, through which the faster recovery of business can be helped. And the reports provided by the European Network of SME Envoys are at the heart of better marketing of SME support measures created by the EC.

During the meeting, the EESC Vice-President made several proposals to improve the work of the Network and the SME Envoys. Among them are the interaction between SME organizations at European and national level and the network of SME envoys to be set on a systematic and direct basis. At national level, all SME organizations should be closely involved in the recruitment and monitoring of SME envoys, and the EESC is committed to helping to increase their effectiveness. Among the other proposals, of which the EC has already been notified, is the urgent appointment and launch of an EU SME envoy with operational status in the institutions.

On behalf of the EESC, Dr Milena Angelova welcomed the publication of the long-awaited SME strategy and said that its successful implementation required synchronized action at different levels of government, which would require joint action between the European institutions, national governments and SMEs. “The active participation of organizations representing small and medium-sized businesses at European, national and regional level must be ensured. The resources provided by the EU under the Multiannual Financial Framework 2021-2027 and the Mechanism for Recovery and Sustainability are key to supporting and maximizing the potential of SMEs. The ongoing dialogue with the business community and stakeholders will allow timely action to be proposed for faster and more successful implementation of the SME strategy, “she added.

Dr. Milena Angelova drew attention to the opportunities to study the specific needs of different subgroups of small and medium enterprises that have the potential to add value to the process of economic development. This will make it possible to develop and provide an effective portfolio of policy measures to promote the growth of SMEs. According to her, the definition of SME is an important tool to improve access to support measures and Member States must implement it, taking into account their own national characteristics. SME envoys are the ones who will organize these recommendations into specific policy measures and support schemes in the countries concerned to respond to each specific situation.

For the European Network of SME Envoys

The European Network of SME Envoys was set up in 2011 as part of the review of the Small and Medium Business Act. The main role of the European network is to improve communication between the EC, SMEs and representative business organizations. To this end, it promotes the interests of small and medium-sized businesses and ensures the effective implementation of the “think small” principle in the Europe 2020 strategy. Each EU Member State has its own national representative.


From today, October 1-st, 2021, Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association started the implementation of the project BG05M9OP001-1.128-0004 “Development of digital skills”. The project is funded by the Operational Program “Human Resources Development 2014 – 2021”, under procedure BG05M9OP001-1.128 – Development of digital skills – Component 2.

The Digital Skills Development project aims to transpose current EC policies to improve and develop digital skills in the context of the European Digital Strategy. It fully meets the objectives and requirements of the Council Recommendation of 22.5.2018. on key competences for lifelong learning and the objectives of the Action Plan on the European Pillar of Social Rights for Adult Learning, aiming to upgrade at European level the European Framework for Citizens’ Digital Competences 2.0.

The main goal of the project is to overcome the imbalances in the field of digital skills and knowledge, to bring them in line with the needs of business and thus accelerate digitalization. The actual activities of the project will start with a study to identify the needs for digital skills of the workforce in key professions identified for the pilot sectors, followed by testing of current skills through specially developed tools for assessing digital competencies and preparing this basis for analysis. the imbalances and the state and needs of digital skills at three levels for each identified profession.

Digital skills are those needed to use digital devices, communication applications and networks to access and manage information, but on the other hand, these skills are already mandatory in the era of Industry 4.0 and the increasing and rapid penetration of information technology in all business sectors require increasingly advanced digital skills related to specific business processes. The BICA project is aimed at identifying these skills, as it envisages the implementation of a total of nine main activities aimed at developing, testing and validating unified profiles for digital skills in key professions / positions, sectoral qualifications frameworks and training programs for digital development. skills in 13 pilot sectors of key importance for the Bulgarian economy, which are: Crop and animal husbandry; Production and processing of meat and meat products; Manufacture of textiles and textile products; Manufacture of other knitted and crocheted apparel; Leather processing and shoe production; Manufacture of detergents; Manufacture of computer and communication equipment, electronic and optical products; Manufacture of machinery and equipment; Air Transport; Publishing activity; Employment and provision of labor; Artistic and creative activity and Repair of computer equipment.

The implementation of the project will be based on the achieved results under Component 1 of the operation “Developed digital skills”, which is implemented by the Ministry of Labor and Social Policy. Within the project BICA has set to develop at least 65 unified profiles for digital skills, a total of 13 packages of test training programs for the development of digital skills, at least 4 models are social cooperation. All achieved results will be tested and tested in a real work environment, and to achieve them BICA will partner with the Confederation of Independent Trade Unions, the Confederation of Labor “Support”, MLSP and the National Agency for Vocational Education and Training.

The project is a pilot and the results achieved are expected to be the basis for the implementation of activities under the new Program “Human Resources Development” 2021-2027 aimed at national development of digital competencies. After the completion of the project all results will be the property of MLSP.

The project has a implementation period of 20 months and the approved budget amounts to BGN 2,052,482.74, of which BGN 1,744,610.33 is co-financed by the European Social Fund and BGN 307,872.41 is national funding.


The leading career expo for qualified personnel “Career Show 2021” will be held live on September 29 at the Sofia Event Center and on September 30 online. The special guests of the event Mirolyuba Benatova, Levon Hampartzumyan, Silvena Row, the TV presenter Desislava Stoyanova, the young director Chris Zahariev, Yordan Dabov and many others will share their formulas for success in front of the participants. This year, for the third time, Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) is among the project partners and supports the cause of connecting employers with qualified personnel from all over Bulgaria.

Career Show is a career community open to anyone who wants to develop and develop their professional potential. This year, the leading career event, part of the community program, will bring together some of the largest employers in Bulgaria and Europe with qualified candidates live and online.

“We are glad that this year among our partners is BICA. Thus, together we manage to contribute to the development of the relationship between business and qualified personnel. The two-day event “Career Show 2021” will create favorable conditions for a personal meeting between job seekers and job offers both live, in Sofia Event Center and online from anywhere in the world, “said the organizers.

Companies participating in the Career Show 2021 will be able to meet pre-selected candidates. The event offers a wide range of opportunities to recruit qualified staff live and through innovative software – online. And also a great environment for promoting and promoting their employer brands.


At a press conference of the Hydropower Association and the “Alliance of the producers of ecological energy – BG” Associatio, the chairman of BICA Vassil Velev said that as a result of more purposeful than accidental actions some unrealistically high electricity prices are achieved. How to be competitive as electricity prices are 73% higher than those in Germany, to which our industry generates the largest exports. Velev is adamant that we cannot talk about a deficit when we have more than 10,000 MW of capacity, and the actual consumption varies between 3,000 and 5,000 MW. This deficit is artificially created, which leads to huge costs for the electricity industry and makes it uncompetitive.

“During the first decade of August, TPP Maritsa East 2 worked with two of its eight units, having staff many times more than needed to maintain the active units. Households and businesses pay more than BGN 4,000 per month for each of the more than 2,000 employees who work two hours a day under such a regime.

On the other hand, the high price of electricity is due to the fact that we are connected to the Greek market, which is the most expensive market in Europe by definition. We did it before we contacted the Romanian one, from where we can also contact the European one, despite the strong resistance of the employers’ organizations for this to happen.

And if this is not enough, there is a serious case with the Ordinance on the use of surface water. Due to legal misconceptions and successive non-accidental actions, more than 250 hydropower plants, generating the cleanest and cheapest energy in the country, are facing the risk of shutdown, “said Vassil Velev.

According to Velev, these are not small capacities at all, but hundreds of megawatts that balance the electricity system and a factor for maintaining a lower price of electricity. The chairman of BICA commented that the task of energy management is not to create conditions in which several energy oligarchs to earn a lot of money, and society to pay huge bills and the industry to lose competitiveness. Tens of large companies and tens of thousands of employees are forced to stop working because high electricity bills inevitably lead them to bankruptcy.

“The situation is artificially created – manipulative offers are made at night for the purchase of electricity on the principle of” not less than 300 euros per MWh “, which shows that the price is artificially distorted. “Buy only above this high price” bids obviously manipulate the price to manipulate the demand curve and the equilibrium point.

“Employers’ organizations will strongly support the efforts of the Hydropower Association to regulate a legal absurdity, so as not to add their capacity to the pressing problem of non-functioning energy sources, for reasons beyond their control,” said Velev.

The chairman of BICA shared that as a result of such legal uncertainty, 37 billion euros of capital have leaked from Bulgaria in the last 11 years, while only 13 billion euros have been attracted.


In democracies, governance is chosen by the Sovereign. In modern countries, governments have a “tripartite dialogue” with employers and trade unions, collectively called the “social partners” on all issues important to society, especially those concerning the standard of living. Such is the European model of democracy, social partnership and industrial relations.

In our country in the last (and penultimate) elections, the Sovereign chose change. The ruling coalition so far has received significantly less than half of the votes cast in the election. At the same time, the Sovereign did not recognize any party to which he would entrust the implementation of the change. Something more! Taking into account the participation in the elections, no party received even 10% support from those eligible to vote. The sovereign ordered the change to be carried out by the combined efforts of several parties.

All this obviously requires a dialogue to reach an agreement and form a majority of those elected in parliament to implement the change, for deep reforms in a number of sectors and agreement on urgent decisions in parliament on anti-crisis measures and budget updates, to manage funds from European programs. and the budget for 2022. And on the basis of the agreement reached in the dialogue, a parliamentary majority to determine the executors / form the government. The country needs a parliament and a dialogue government, not new elections. A new popular vote is unlikely to produce a fundamentally different structure in parliament. The majority of Bulgarians want a change in the model of government and this is evident from both votes. Bulgaria must not waste any more critical time at a time when Europe is recovering rapidly and resolutely renewing its economy.

BICA calls for an open dialogue first on the priorities and policies, and then on the staff of the future government to implement them. We call for a unifying effort by all parties and MPs represented in parliament, recalling that the role of the opposition is also worthy when it criticizes, but does not undermine the government of the country.

For BICA, the priority of the priorities is the good and stable business environment and conditions for the development of entrepreneurship – as the deteriorating business environment is the main obstacle to the accelerated development of our country. And the improvement of the life of every Bulgarian directly depends on the conditions for entrepreneurship, depends on the functioning of the rule of law, the inviolability of property, the decisive reduction of corruption, the gray sector, theft and waste of public funds, limiting cartels and monopolies. It is important for us to maintain the well-functioning tax model, to continue the reforms in education, to accelerate our preparations for joining the OECD, Schengen and the Eurozone. Not as an end in itself, but as achieved standards.

Worrying is the lack of agreement among political forces on priorities, especially in the areas of judicial reform, legal certainty and property protection. Bulgaria ranks first in the EU in terms of share of GDP in budget expenditures for the security sector and the judiciary, and the perception of Bulgarian citizens and business for security is problematic. At the same time, our country is among the last in terms of the share of expenditures for health prevention and prophylaxis, but in terms of hospital care it is above the average level – that is, society pays people to be treated, not to not get sick. There is no shared vision for reforms in the energy and climate sector – for market liberalization and protection of the vulnerable, for the transition from carbon to climate neutral energy and economy, dates for closure of coal power plants and replacement capacities plus full realization of coal workers regions and carbon-free regional development. There is a lack of agreement on key aspects of the pension system, such as the updating of pensions and their link to social security contributions.

Democracy requires public dialogue to agree on policies for a better life for every citizen.

We insist on such a dialogue and such consent.


Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) presented a Methodology for Prevention of Undeclared Employment during a meeting of the Public Council for Restriction and Prevention of the Informal Economy and Undeclared Employment, attended by representatives of the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, NRA, NSSI, NSI and others. The methodology aims to acquaint employers and other stakeholders with the potential opportunities for the implementation of strategies and specific tools for prevention. The two types of strategies described in it have already been tested and verified in 60 companies and based on their actual implementation have been refined so that they are easy to implement in practice. The methodology provides a wide range of strategies and tools for industry organizations, as well as those applicable at the enterprise level – for example, related to ways to adapt basic internal acts, human resources management processes, the social dialogue system and social, as well as to raise the awareness of employers and workers.

The Chairman of the Public Council and Deputy Minister of Labor and Social Policy, Mr. Lazar Lazarov, pointed out that “undeclared work is a challenge that affects the interests of all participants in the labor market. All its manifestations harm the workers, the enterprises and the whole society. It should be noted the steady downward trend in the percentage of undeclared work and the gray economy in Bulgaria over the past 10 years, which is due to both consistent measures taken by the state and the active participation of social partners in various initiatives aimed at overcoming this problem. Therefore, the work of the Public Council is key to continuing the joint efforts to deal with undeclared work. An important lesson from the last two years is that the full and timely declaration of labor and income makes it possible to support enterprises and workers in the event of unpredictable events. That is why it is important for each participant in the labor market to assess the security provided by the declared work and the guarantees provided by the participation in the insurance system in the country.

IMG_2407_1 “In the last twenty years, BICA has been one of the main drivers in the search for appropriate measures to limit gray practices. This is also the goal of project BG05M9OP001-1.051-0001 “Improving access to employment and the quality of jobs by limiting and preventing undeclared employment”. Since its launch, we have developed a National Map of Undeclared Employment and discussed 51 prevention measures with more than 40 employers. Based on them, we have prepared a Methodology for Prevention, which will be tested in 60 Bulgarian companies, as well as a document with pilot models, mechanisms and networks for positive impacts on the labor market, “said Dr. Milena Angelova, who is Secretary General of BICA and project manager.

The Public Council also got acquainted with the developed special information system for calculating the Composite Index “Economy of Light” and the Sub-Index “Employment of Light”, which is an electronic platform to support the work of the National Center “Economy of Light” – www.ikonomikanasvetlo. bg.

The information system is developed in three modules, and its purpose is to be as useful as possible to employers, employees and stakeholders by providing them with information, special courses for distance learning and counseling on the harms of undeclared work and measures to limit and prevent it.

The first provides information on the annual results of the measurement of the Composite Index “Economy of Light”. The second allows for e-consultations on thematic areas, as well as for submitting signals. And the last module is related to specially developed e-learning programs.


According to Dr. Angelova, the project team is currently working on the calculation of the updated Composite Index “Economics of Light” and upgrading it with the Sub-Index “Employment of Light”. This year, 600 employers and nearly 1,300 employees took part in the survey, on the basis of which the value of the index is calculated. Dr. Milena Angelova added that BICA will officially announce the size of the two indices in the second half of this year.

In the implementation of the project activities BICA also cooperates with its associated partners in the person of GIT, EA, MLSP, BIA, BCCI and CEIBG, as well as the members of the Public Council at the National Center represented by the Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Justice, NRA, NSSI, NSI and a number of other institutions and media.

BICA held a meeting with the future Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Cuba

Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) held a meeting with the future Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria to Cuba, Mr. Todor Kanchevski, who will take office at the end of July this year.

According to Mr. Kanchevski, Cuba has a serious interest in attracting foreign investors and for this purpose the state has developed a portfolio of about 500 projects on which it can partner with foreign companies. He presented in detail the functioning duty-free zone “Mariel”, which is located next to Havana. Investments are being made in the area, most of which are production facilities that operate for both Cuba’s domestic market and exports.

The meeting was also attended by BICA members from various sectors who are interested in establishing partnerships with companies from Cuba.


Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and the Ambassador of Pakistan Ms. Mariam Aftab discussed opportunities for strengthening business cooperation between the two countries.

During the meeting, the Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of Pakistan invited the members of BICA to participate in a special business conference dedicated to investment opportunities in the Middle East, which will be held in Sofia in September this year. According to Ms. Mariam Aftab, among the most important sectors for them are the food industry, logistics, tourism, textile industry and IT.

“I think that BICA can be an important link between Pakistan and Bulgarian companies. “My country is open for investment in all sectors, and we can boast of extremely liberal legislation,” she added.

The Chairman of tha Association presented the activities of the organization in our country and the branch chambers that are members of it.

“The level of trade and economic relations between the countries is not what it deserves to be. It is extremely important for BICA that Bulgaria constantly improves and expands trade and tourism exchange, and investments with countries like yours. I believe that our cooperation can be extremely fruitful, “said Vassil Velev.


In connection with the end of the regular elections for the 45th National Assembly, BICA addresses all parties represented in parliament and all deputies to emphasize that:

  • effective and transparent governance for the benefit of the people, the economy and the state is the supreme meaning of the democratic system and all elected representatives bear individual, party and national responsibility for this;
  • No matter what government is formed – regularly or ex officio, Bulgaria needs a functioning administration, predictable and sustainable governance that will initiate and implement long-delayed vital reforms that will take the country out of the bottom of many rankings in the EU and the world.

The economic priorities stated by all political forces:

  • membership of our country in the Eurozone, the Schengen area and the OECD;
    preserving financial and macroeconomic stability, preserving the model of the tax system and further limiting the gray sector;
  • development of anti-crisis legislation and timely implementation of support measures;
  • upholding the rule of law and the security of property, free and fair competition, decisive reduction of corruption, a comprehensive policy for a better business and investment climate and equality of the Bulgarian producer;
  • finalization and submission in time of the National Plan for Reconstruction and Sustainability and other instruments for participation of our country in the European Plan “New Generation” and the Multiannual Financial Framework of the Union
  • require coordinated joint efforts and work by state institutions – the National Assembly, the President, the Government.

BICA will actively support all adequate policies and actions in relation to these national priorities.


Today Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association (BICA) took over from the Confederation of Employers and Industrialists in Bulgaria (CEIB) the rotating chairmanship of the Association of the Organizations of Bulgarian Employers (AOBE) for 2021. In accordance with the established rotation, the Executive Director and Member of the Board of CEIB Evgeniy Ivanov, authorized for this purpose by the Chairman of CEIB Kiril Domuschiev, handed over the chairmanship of AOBR for 2021 to the Chairman of BICA Vassil Velev.

Vassil Velev – Chairman of BICA, Radosvet Radev – Chairman of BIA, Tsvetan Simeonov – Chairman of BCCI, Evgeniy Ivanov – Executive Director of CEIB, as well as experts from the respective organizations took part in the first meeting of the year.

AOBE unites the nationally representative employers’ organizations BICA, BIA, BCCI and CEIB. The main goal of the organization is to consolidate, balance and represent the interests of its members. The employees in the enterprises, members of the four employers’ organizations, represent 82% of all employees in our country, and the gross value added they produce is 86%.

The CEIB Presidency of AOBE in 2020 was considered extremely successful in view of the difficult situation related to the epidemiological situation, the business challenges posed by COVID-19 and the emergence of an economic crisis as a consequence of the pandemic and isolation. The rotating presidency also coincided with the process of signing the National Tripartite Agreement between the government and the social partners, as well as with the process of counting the nationally representative organizations of employers, which created additional responsibilities for AOBE. Despite the challenges, a record number of common positions, declarations and opinions were adopted.

For the reporting period AOBE has developed and presented to the relevant competent institutions 69 positions in protecting the interests of business, focused mainly on measures to support business in the emergency situation and the epidemiological situation, Bulgaria’s accession to ERM II, preparation and signing of The national tripartite agreement between the government and the social partners, the representation of AOBE in various state and international bodies and on energy and financial issues.

More than 20 meetings were held with representatives of the government – Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Ministers and Ministers, mainly on economic and social measures to overcome the effects of the crisis with COVID-19 and protect the interests of business. The prepared opinions on energy are directly related to the need for reforms in the sector and are in line with the priorities of AOBE. On financial issues, AOBE’s positions mainly concern Bulgaria’s accession to the euro area, as well as opinions on legislation in the area. This was reported by CEIB, the current rotating chairman of AOBE.

The participants in the meeting discussed the guidelines and priorities of the organization for the current year, which after coordination and approval by members will be officially presented at the traditional press conference of AOBE at the beginning of each year, scheduled for January 25, 2021 at 12.00 in BTA Press Club .

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