AmCham Bulgaria: Rule of Law is Essential for Investment Climate, Prosperity of Bulgarians, and for Economic Growth

AmCham Bulgaria takes the lead of the public discourse from a business perspective of the rule of law topic by organizing today “Rule of Law and the Business Environment” Conference. The event took place at Sofia Balkan Palace Hotel and was attended by more than 150 people from partnering chambers and organizations, experts, opinion leaders, and media.

Highlights of the conference

“Our main goal is improving the investment climate and the business environment. I am certain that Bulgaria and our community has the strengths, vision and potential to make it a reality. At AmCham Bulgaria as part of our mission is to improve the business environment in Bulgaria. And when talking about business environment, rule of law is a foundation.

Our purpose is to accelerate our involvement in its improvement. At AmCham we have tackled over the past years several strategic topics by producing non-biased, non-partisan studies to provide concrete solutions in the field of health care and energy. Rule of law is next. And this is an urgent matter,” said Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President at the opening.

“The mechanism for investigation of the Chief Prosecutor is the most important draft bill to me. I have hope that the Parliament will approve it. This will release us from a debate that is circling around without leading nowhere. It will bring down the supervision of more than 70 court cases at the Court of the European Union. It will bring down the Mechanism of monitoring, from here – the topic of Schengen,” pointed out Krum Zarkov, Caretaker Minister of Justice.

“So, of course, I had to make this a priority for me. And it is a priority for the Biden administration. Now, some of you might ask – why do I care so much? Because I do personally care. Why do I care so much? I care because true friends, true partners, true allies, work together to build each other up. And when Bulgaria is strong, we are strong. And true partners speak honestly with one another. So, I am here to say: I am a true friend of Bulgaria. And I always will be,” said H.E. Herro Mustafa, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria

“In Bulgaria we have seen that corruption has fundamentally distorted how some institutions function and who controls them and that is to the detriment of the Bulgarian people. And we understand that tackling corruption is a long-term project. It is not easy. No country, not even my own, not even the United States is immune from corruption. Constant vigilance is required to combat it,“ she added also.



About the event

The event was organized by AmCham Bulgaria Rule of Law and Legislative Reform Committee. It was opened by Olivier Marquette, AmCham Bulgaria President. The Caretaker Minister of Justice Krum Zarkov addressed the audience, and the H.E. Herro Mustafa, Ambassador of the United States of America to Bulgaria. The conference welcomed the remarks of other three leaders of diplomatic missions in Bulgaria: H.E. Joel Meyer, Ambassador of the Republic of France to Bulgaria, H.E. Giuseppina Zarra, Ambassador of the Republic of Italy to Bulgaria, Stephan Röken, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany

The keynote speaker was Matthew Murray, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of International and Public Affairs, Harriman Institute; International Expert on Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption Then the program continued with two panels: the first one was “Rule of Law and the Reality of the Business Environment in Bulgaria”

The conference is supported by CIPE – Center for International Private Enterprise, America for Bulgaria Foundation, AG Capital, and iTower Investments.

It is endorsed by the British Bulgarian Business Association, Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce, Confindustria Bulgaria, French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry, German-Bulgarian Industrial Trade Chamber, Hellenic-Bulgarian Business Council, Swedish Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce, and the Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

Agenda

The first panel was titled “Rule of Law and the Reality of the Business Environment in Bulgaria” to provide a discussion of rule of law Issues impacting the business environment in Bulgaria. It included: Bogdan Bogdanov, Executive Director, InvestBulgaria Agency, Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman, BCCI, Boni Bonev, Chairman, Bulgarian Swiss Chamber of Commerce, Dr. Maya Neidenowa, Vice President, German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce and Chair, Legal Commission of GBCIC

Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria, Vessela Todorova-Mosettig, Director, French-Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry. It was moderated by Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, Center for the Study of Democracy

The next panel was “Rule of Law in Bulgaria: Views and Recommendations from the Lawyer’s Perspective”. At which the panelists discussed some aspects of the topics of administrative justice, confiscation, criminal justice, and state taxes, focusing the debate on the impact of these issues on the business environment in Bulgaria and what type of reforms could have a positive effect.

Panelists were Ass. Prof. Hristo Hristev, Ph.D, Sofia University, Attn. Andrey Yankulov, Senior Legal Expert, Anticorruption Fund, Anti-Corruption Fund, Att. Georgi Atanasov, Member of the Research and Methodology Centre at the Supreme Bar Council, Angel Buzalov, Chair of Legal and Tax Committee, British Bulgarian Business Association, and Att. Domna Mancheva, Member of Legal Committee, Confindustria Bulgaria.

It was moderated by Omourtag Petkov, AmCham Bulgaria Board Member, Chairman, Rule of Law and Legislative Reform Committee, Partner, DGKV.