Rule of Law and The Business Environment in Bulgaria Conference – OVERVIEW

On January 20, 2023, AmCham Bulgaria and a number of partners and supporters restarted the public discourse on the topic of rule of law and its impact on the business environment in Bulgaria. Its main goal is to show engagement and united efforts of some of the business organizations in Bulgaria, as well as to present dedication to reforms in the country.

The event was organized in partnership with 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 Business Council in Bulgaria, Swedish Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry.

The conference was supported by CIPE – Center for International Private Enterprise, America for Bulgaria Foundation, AG Capital, and ITower Development.

Highlights

Olivier Marquette, AmCham President: “Rule of Law is an Urgent Matter Now!”

“When talking about business environment, rule of law is a foundation. How can businesses strive in a country where rule of law is weak.  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.”


H.E. Herro Mustafa, U.S. Ambassador to Bulgaria Full Remarks at the Conference

I had to make rule of law a priority for me. And it is a priority for the Biden administration. (and) I do personally care, (…) because true friends, true partners, true allies, work together to build each other up. And when Bulgaria is strong, we are strong. (…) I am a true friend of Bulgaria. And I always will be. 

I encourage you all to continue advocating for these and other reforms, to hold your leaders to high standards just like we try to do it in the United States. And to demand from them courage and commitment. I believe your collective efforts will continue to lead Bulgaria in a better direction. And again, I am proud to be your partner and your friend in all of this.”


Krum Zarkov, Caretaker Minister of Justice – Remarks at the Conference

“The draft acts that are part of Bulgaria’s Recovery and Resilience Plan should be adopted. The current political situation depends of the factor “time”, but moreover – of the factor “will”. The “Will” Factor will be available in this and the next Parliament because of the simple reason: the public opinion in Bulgaria. And those laws should be not only adopted, but implemented promptly and with great quality.

There is no need to prove the connection between rule of law and the business environment, between governance by rules and attracting investments, and the principle that no one is above the law and the development of the country,” said Krum Zarkov at the Opening.


H.E. Guiseppina Zarra, Ambassador of Italy to Bulgaria


H.E. Joel Mayer, Ambassador of France to Bulgaria


Stephan Röken, Chargé d’Affaires, Embassy of the Federal Republic of Germany


Keynote

Matthew H. Murray, Adjunct Professor, Columbia University School of Int’l and Public Affairs, Harriman Institute; Int’l Expert on Innovating Solutions to Systemic Corruption 

Lawfare is the battle between the rule of law and the iron law of oligarchy. 

How should you as business leaders respond to lawfare in this region? Matthew Murray’s formula: 1) collective action; 2) dedicated effort to building faith and belief in the rule of law; 3) build a rule of law on a foundation of Bulgarian norms and values (incl. private property), 4) “it takes a network to defeat a network.”

Read Mr. Murray’s full keynote


Rule of Law & the Reality of the Business Environment in Bulgaria Panel

  • Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, Center for the Study of Democracy (Moderator)
  • Bogdan Bogdanov, Executive Director, InvestBulgaria Agency
  • Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry  
  • Vessela Todorova-Mosettig, Executive Director, French-Bulgarian CCI
  • Boni Bonev, Chairman, Bulgarian Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Maja Neidenowa, VP, German-Bulgarian Industrial and Trade Chamber, Chair, GBITC Legal Commission
  • Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria

Rule of Law in Bulgaria: Views and Recommendations from the Lawyer’s Perspective Panel

  • Ruslan Stefanov, Program Director, Center for the Study of Democracy (Moderator)
  • Bogdan Bogdanov, Executive Director, InvestBulgaria Agency
  • Tsvetan Simeonov, Chairman, Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry  
  • Vessela Todorova-Mosettig, Executive Director, French-Bulgarian CCI
  • Boni Bonev, Chairman, Bulgarian Swiss Chamber of Commerce
  • Dr. Maja Neidenowa, VP, German-Bulgarian Industrial and Trade Chamber, Chair, GBITC Legal Commission
  • Ivan Mihaylov, CEO, AmCham Bulgaria

With the support of
Partners: