Bulgaria Attractive for Foreign Investors, German FM Steinmeier Says
Bulgaria is an attractive place for foreign companies, but corruption and lack of legal security drives investors back, German Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier has said.
In an interview with the website Dnevnik.bg ahead of his March 10 visit, he urges Sofia to update the investment climate and boost judicial reform.
"Around 5000 German companies are already active in Bulgaria. In the future they could be more, because Bulgaria is actually an attractive place offering interesting conditions to foreign companies," in Steinmeier's words.
Mass demonstrations of 2013 show "Bulgarians are dissatisfied with the insufficient progress" in the judiciary reform, he also believes.
Asked about last year's German media reports on Berlin's fears of Russian influence in Southeast Europe, he has stressed "Bulgaria is strongly integrated in the EU" and that "a stable Bulgaria benefits all European partners... At the same time, however, Russia is the EU's biggest neighbor... and it is in our interest to restore the trust."
Steinmeier has defended Bulgarian workers' right to mobility throughout the EU, reminding they do not act as "immigrants from third countries" contrary to claims of the anti-immigration PEGIDA movement.
Commenting on the increased influx of asylum seekers Bulgaria and the EU in general are facing, he opines that this challenge could only be handled "through common solidarity and responsibility. This means all EU member states should participate in the reception of refugees. But we have not yet achieved that - five EU countries, Germany among them, but also the much smaller Sweden, have carried out over the last years three-fourths all asylum procedures in the EU."
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