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Wave of Chinese Investors Expected in Bulgaria

Date: 24.06.2011

The next non-confidence motion in the cabinet foiled again. But certain issues as anti-crisis program of the cabinet and what measures are still to be taken by the rule in order to stimulate Bulgaria's economy and the priority of Budget 2012 are still being discussed. The Standart asked the opinion of GERB MP and Deputy Head of the parliamentary budget committee Dimitar Glavchev.

- Mr. Glavchev, can we say that GERB anti-crisis programme has failed?

- We categorically can't say that GERB's anti-crisis programme has failed. GERB assumed the ruling in time of serious economic and financial situation that affected not just Europe but the whole world and since then we have been applying anti-crisis measures. In my opinion our greatest success is that we managed to keep salaries, pensions and taxes at the same level as before the beginning of the crisis. Eleven EU member states lowered the payments, five introduced limits of pensions, thirteen increased VAT rate and twelve countries raised the direct taxes and social insurances. Hungary introduced a tax on the energy sector, telecommunications and finance sector and Germany, considered as 'Europe's engine' levied a duty on airplane tickets and bank transactions.

- Then why people still cannot feel Bulgaria has passed through the crisis?

- The main reason for the difficult economic situation of people in Bulgaria is the low income, GERB inherited from the previous government. In the last two trimesters the economy has registered growth of 3.8 and 3.4 % respectively, compared to the same period in 2010. In Europe growth ratio is 2.5 % on the average.

- Is the cabinet considering new measures to restore Bulgaria's economy?

- After the current measures bear fruit no drastic change is needed. We have laid the foundation ? financial stability and rules, we are improving the conditions for a constant economic growth and higher employment rates. Now we witness the first encouraging results and if we all work hard the results will come soon.

- Do you plan any further measures in order to attract additional foreign investments?

- Presently, the Balkans are reckons as a very risky region. The policy of GERB cabinet in this direction include simultaneously mechanisms for foreign investments and protection of the local production. We pay serious attention to the so popular at the moment conception "go green", connected with the encouragement and development of technologies in "green technologies". I expect a bigger improvement of the foreign investments when the situation on the Balkans and Europe as a whole calms down.

- What investors show interest?

- Bulgaria should try to attract investors from Asia, from China for instance, who tend to invest a lot of money in real estates in Europe.
Chinese investors have shown interest in manufacturing carriages in Bulgaria and exporting them to EU countries; a Chinese carmaker is planning to launch a plant in Bulgaria; A Chinese glassmaker is planning to launch a production facility – the first serious investment of a Chinese company in Europe. Chinese companies have also planned to invest in solar parks in Bulgaria.

- Is Bulgaria's accession to the Euro Plus pact profitable for the country, or we will have to pay for the reckless spending of other EU members?

- It is a stand, from which Bulgaria could express its opinion about the future of Europe and about its role in that future. Here we should draw a clear distinction between the Euro Plus Pact and the European Mechanism for Stability, which should start operating in 2013. It should be triggered only if it is necessary to guarantee the stability of the whole Eurozone.
Only the Eurozone membering countries are to pay contributions to the Mechanism, so until our accession into the Eurozone, we will only benefit from the accession into the Euro Plus Pact. After that, following the principle of solidarity, we will contribute to the European Mechanism for Stability on a smaller scale.

Katerina Ivanova

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