To Qatar and Back
Something truly idiotic must have happened before the departure of Bulgaria's delegation for Qatar.
Businessmen from Qatar – surprisingly, the government says - failed to show up Wednesday at the much publicized in Bulgaria Bulgarian-Qatari business forum in the capital Doha, which was attended by representatives of more than 100 Bulgarian companies.
A very awkward situation, no doubt. Is this a boycott? Or an idiotically bad planning on Bulgaria's part?
True, it is very difficult to do business with countries like Qatar. Lots of talk, promises, bargaining and then nothing materializes or it takes very long time. Nothing in common with the way Europe or US companies do business. True, Qatar is not a traditional trading partner for our region.
Still, the big fiasco speaks volumes about the way Bulgaria's state administration works. The economy minister's excuse that in Qatar decisions for implementing big projects are up to a handful of persons, who apparently were not invited, is not very convincing. In any private company, the person in charge of an event, which invited reps from 500 companies and ended up in such a failure, will be fired or at least fined.
What is more troubling is that Thursday morning – I can bet - we will wake up to yet another portion of propaganda articles in Bulgaria's major print media, which may even skip altogether the forum failure and focus on the verbal promises for millions of euros.
Feeling financially and emotionally insecure, the journalists in the purchased by the monopolist titles agree to conform and yield to self-censorship. Thus, one more time, the collusion between political authorities and the monopolist will happen with the complicity of the (until recently pretty honest) journalists themselves.
Internet forums and blogs in Bulgaria however are overflowing with furious comments. And rightfully so.
It is not like shelling out a couple of dollars for popcorn and a soda, isn't it?
Qatar has bought up a lot of the UK's industries, businesses and residential property. Does Bulgaria want the same here? Middle Eastern countries have used their oil money to buy swathes of agricultural land in other countries. In time, this will result in price rises for food in those countries as available farmland for the home market reduces. There will most likely not be a reduction in oil prices for countries giving up their sovereign land - although there may be a sweetener at the start, in the long term the country may find it has sold itself cheap
The Bedouin Hillbillies of the Arabian Peninsula may have discovered black gold under their desert wastelands, and can now afford to live in Beverly Hills, but that does not mean that they have evolved beyond their camels-for-wives business model..
(how is that for morning racist satire?)