Discussion with Mr. Boyko Borisov,
Prime Minister of Bulgaria
on “The Future of Bulgaria”
In May 2011, Mr. Boyko Borisov, Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria attended a meeting at Villa Marciana, near Varna. The event marked the launch of a new project – “The Future of Bulgaria,” organized by Future Workshop Bulgaria and Konrad-Adenauer-Stiftung. In a series of lectures, influential politicians and diplomats will share their vision for the future of the country. The meeting was attended by Mr. Franz Josef Grentsebah, initiator of Future Workshop Bulgaria, the metropolitan bishop Kiril, and Ivan Stancioff, patron of the organization. The main topics discussed during this forum included: Bulgaria's budget management, the delayed payments from government to business contractors, the development of rural areas, the energy sector and cultural life in the region.
Budget Management and Fiscal Policies
An important topic raised during the meeting was the issue of late payments from the state and municipalities to private business contractors. This lack of financial discipline in the country leads to massive bankruptcies of small and medium-size enterprises. No company can afford to wait for payment for more than six months. This not only slows down the development of the private sector, but also leads to job losses and discourages economic growth. Protection of state interests must include law enforcement mechanisms, and compliance with signed contracts. In response, the Prime Minister accused the previous government of Andrei Stanishev for the malfunctioning of the system, citing vague agreements and phantom companies, which are currently draining the treasury. He insisted that the current government is trying to fix this problem. Because of the inefficient budget policy and populism of the previous government, there is a serious deficit in the state treasury. If this mismanagement had continued, Bulgaria would have ended up in the same situation as Greece. He assured the audience that his government was working tirelessly to balance the budget and stabilize the economy.
An important part of the discussion was the development of rural areas and small towns in Bulgaria. The focus was on young people and the agricultural sector. Mr. Borisov insisted that the main motivation for the young should be “work and ambition.”
There is plenty of work for young people in the agricultural sector, he insisted. On the issue of the frozen financial mechanisms for the rural sector, the prime minister explained that due to past abuses, the current administration is very careful and critical. This slows down the procedures. Still, the administration is working to improve the situation. The new minister is already doing an excellent job, he said.
Economy and the Energy Sector
Mr. Borisov insisted that in the past there was no state strategy for economic development of the country. An example of this is the intention of the previous government to purchase solar panels for the production of electricity. This technology is currently too great an investment. The prime minister insisted that there is no need to purchase unnecessary solar panels, since Kozloduy (the Bulgarian nuclear power plant) produces cheap electricity. The administration has focused its efforts on the preparation of a clear timetable and statistical data on the development of the industry and the individual sectors and regions in the country. This new system will allow the government to direct domestic and foreign investments to areas and regions that are most profitable for Bulgaria.
Museum of Mosaics in Devnya
The event was attended by the management of the Museum of Mosaics in Devnya - a unique museum in the Balkans. They explained that the museum was at risk due to lack of funds for its maintenance. Mr. Borisov promised to help find funds for the museum.