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How do Bulgarian and Romanian businesses view bilateral relations

Participants in forum in Ruse voice different opinions about closer Bulgarian-Romanian ties

Photo: BTA

Infrastructure projects between Bulgaria and Romania are not progressing very rapidly due to the complex regulatory framework, but they are nevertheless moving forward. This was stated for Radio Bulgaria by Doru Dragomir - head of the Romania-Bulgaria Bilateral Chamber of Commerce on the sidelines of the conference "United Europe - a Path to Economic Security and Sustainable Integration", which was held a few days ago in Bulgaria's Ruse on the Danube River.

Doru Dragomir
According to Doru Dragomir, Bulgaria's possible entry into the Eurozone will have a good macroeconomic impact on Bulgarian-Romanian economic relations, because it will balance trade between the two countries:

"We expect to have more exports from Romania to Bulgaria and to slightly reduce exports from Bulgaria to Romania. From another point of view, I don't think there will be big differences, because in general, companies from Romania work more than 70% with goods to and from the European Union, i.e. Romanian businesses have no problem working with euros. From this point of view, we must be ready to work with Bulgarian companies with euros as well."

The forum in Ruse brought together politicians, diplomats, businessmen and journalists, developing activities in the Bulgarian-Romanian space, and was a convenient opportunity for discussions on the current issues of bilateral relations in the context of the expected new vote for or against the accession of Bulgaria and Romania to the Schengen area.

"At the end of this year, in the absence of acceptance in Schengen, i.e. if we are rejected again, it means that we have to work harder and harder to try to solve all these problems that are being posed by Austria or the Netherlands so that we can join Schengen. Unfortunately, missing this moment will most likely lead to a delay of at least one to three years", Radu Dinescu, Secretary General of the Romanian National Union of Road Hauliers, explained to Radio Bulgaria. He once again announced his positive attitude towards the idea of removing the border control between Bulgaria and Romania - the so-called Bulgarian-Romanian mini-Schengen. And he added hat he used his arrival in Ruse to talk with the mayor of the city, Pencho Milkov, and with the Minister of Economy and Industry, Bogdan Bogdanov, about the relatively recently opened parking lot for heavy trucks near Ruse, and to ask for equal treatment of all drivers and trucks .

Talking to Radio Bulgaria, Lyubomir Stanislavov from Automotive Cluster Bulgaria voiced his desire for more significant cooperation between the automotive industries of the two countries:
Lyubomir Stanislavov, Automotive Cluster Bulgaria
"In my opinion, the truth is that the cooperation between the automotive industry of Bulgaria and the automotive industry of Romania is not sufficient. Much more can be done than what is currently being done. The main reason is that in both Bulgaria and Romania, over 90% of investors are international companies. They manufacture their components or final products for their parent companies somewhere in Western Europe. And in fact, the main cooperation takes place between local domestic companies with Bulgarian ownership that work for Romanian businesses or vice versa. But surely much more is possible.”

The Romanian automotive industry is extremely developed - with over 600 companies providing 230,000 jobs and 30% of Romanian exports. The Bulgarian automotive industry has also been developing well in recent years, but the presence of car manufacturers such as Renault and Ford in Romania has so far had too little impact on the business sector in Bulgaria.

The prevailing opinion at the forum was that Bulgarian-Romanian relations have great potential. However, it was also seen that the two countries and their business elites still think mostly nationally. Such meetings are probably a way for the two countries to think about them in tandem.

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Photos: BTA, BGNES, Ministry of Economy and Industry, private archive

English publication by Rositsa Petkova
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