Jean-Paul Carteron: Bulgaria Has Top Quality Government

Novinite Insider » INTERVIEW | October 11, 2002, Friday // 00:00

Mr. Jean-Paul Carteron is chairman and founder of the prestigious Crans Montana Forum and Monaco World Summit. He is a law graduate from the Sorbonne. Till 1969, he worked as lawyer in Paris. He has Swiss and French citizenship.

Mr. Carteron met Martina Iovcheva

Q: Does the fact that a regional Crans Montana forum will take place in Sofia mean that Bulgaria is getting more credible abroad?

A: First of all, it will not be only a regional forum but also a world forum because we will invite the whole world to come to Sofia. We will discuss national topics - Bulgaria's economy is an important one. We'll speak of regional cooperation, European integration of the Central European countries. We will speak globally of European enlargement.

We chose Sofia because I think that Bulgaria is getting out of a number of very, very important concerns and problems since many years especially in terms of criminality, corruption. All these issues are very well known in most of the countries in the world. But, the government, which has been elected and the prime minister you have today are persons of top quality. The international credibility of your government and the respectability of your prime minister are really the key tools for success.

We wish to come here and we bring our name in our Bulgarian experience because we think that we have at the level of the Bulgarian government, persons who are able today to show new ways for Central Europe. In Central Europe, there are a number of problems like implementation of democracy, consolidation of democracy. You have some countries in Central Europe where journalists are not free and in some of them the liberty of journalists is decreasing these last years. You have a lot of countries where people in governments are not credible and have problems of image abroad because of their past, because of the way of managing public affairs. So, it's time to stop with that.

You are an European country, Bulgaria is an European country and you must now integrate in Europe. For that, we need leaders - political leaders but also moral leaders. I think that a man like your prime minister today is a moral leader in Central Europe and this conference will be a very good opportunity to attract the attention of other countries on the necessity of improving their own management of public affairs, their own governance and getting an improved image abroad, which is a basic requirement to attract foreign investments and to develop international economic cooperation.

Q: Is this your first visit to Bulgaria?

A: No, I think six years ago I was invited by President Zhelev and I am very happy to be back here. The change since my last visit is impressive.

Q: How do your impressions correspond to Bulgaria's image abroad?

A: Bulgaria has a lack of image. Bulgaria doesn't have a bad image but Bulgaria is not on the map of the business people. So, we have to work so that all business decision makers consider Sofia as a normal business destination. Now, we are talking about Budapest, Prague, Warsaw. Not a lot about Sofia.... Why not? Sofia has a lot of advantages to provide. I think we can work on that. Up to now, it was quite difficult because all of the problems but now the situation is improving. I think that now the light is better.

Q: You often travel in the Eastern Europe. What do you think are Bulgaria's advantages in comparison with the other countries in the region?

A: The quality of the people in charge of the country. For me, that is the key. Secondly, you are at a very strategic point because the basic link between the Christian world and the Muslim world. You are very strategic place and at times of globalization and modernization it is very important to be at a key place. You can be a kind of a Switzerland of Southeastern Europe. You can be a place where people establish headquarters, where business is negotiated and decided, where people meet from South and from East. Really, historically speaking you are very, very open to the world. These qualities for me are very basic ones. After that you must improve your economic reforms, you must obtain foreign investments, international funding for infrastructure projects. All this is a challenge. Actually, I think that things are not going so bad.

Q: How long in your opinion will it take Bulgaria to become a Switzerland in Southeastern Europe?

A: It depends on you. If you support your government and if things are going well, it can go very quickly. If you have political problems, like in France where we have fights among the countries, it is very difficult to improve the situation. So, everybody must feel mobilized to fight for the sake of the country.

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