Bulgaria Needs to Substantially Boost Innovation Performance in EU – Minister
Bulgaria’s Economy Minister has described the regular introduction of new technology as a sine qua non for retaining competitiveness and boosting labor productivity and income levels.
“Bulgaria’s economy needs a well-functioning innovative environment that can guarantee opportunities for a swift transition to the production of high added value products,” Bozhidar Lukarski declared at a conference in Varna on sustainable economic growth and employment organized by the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association and the Employers' Group of the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC).
He insisted, however, that the current conditions in Bulgaria did not contribute to encouraging innovations.
Lukarski, as cited by the press office of the Economy Ministry, noted that Bulgaria had formulated an ambitious, yet achievable research and development spending target of 1.5% of GDP by 2020.
He said that the Bulgaria's Innovation Strategy for Smart Specialization, which had been drafted by the Economy Ministry, was crucial for the achievement of the target.
Lukarski informed that the strategy outlined four thematic areas estimated as having the biggest growth potential, adding that they would receive targeted support.
Bulgaria’s Economy Minister specified that the four areas were information and communication technologies, mechatronics and clean technologies, healthy life industries, and biotechnologies and new technologies in the creative and recreational industries.
“Taking into account the backdrop of global competition for talent, ideas, and capital, on the one hand, and fiscal restrictions on the other hand, one of the ideas behind the strategy is to concentrate efforts where the greatest return can be generated,” Lukarski pointed out.
He made clear that the strategy outlined opportunities for each region to receive a competitive advantage by finding their niche or by implementing new technologies in the traditional industries.
Lukarski stressed that it had been universally agreed that Bulgaria had to make a qualitative leap in its performance in innovations in the EU, adding that it would help the country cope with the public challenges in the sphere of demographics, sustainable development, intellectual capital, and healthcare.
He said that the Economy Ministry had focused efforts on several measures in a bid to achieve this, including improving access to funding for small and medium-sized enterprises, increasing public investment and encouraging private investment in R&D and innovations, and improving the innovations structure by developing technological parks, incubators, and technology transfer centers.
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