Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Pays Official Visit to Bulgaria

Business | June 14, 2016, Tuesday // 13:14| Views: | Comments: 0
Bulgaria: Swiss State Secretary for Economic Affairs Pays Official Visit to Bulgaria Photo: State Secretariat for Economic Affairs

Secretary of State for Economic Affairs of the Swiss Confederation, H.E. Mrs Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, will be on an official working visit to Bulgaria from Tuesday to Thursday.

Mrs Ineichen-Fleisch will be accompanied by a Swiss economic delegation in partnership with Economiesuisse, the Swiss Business Federation.

This is the first ever mixed - official and private sector - visit at this political level since the start of the transition in Bulgaria.

The business delegation comes after several business events in Switzerland during the official visits of Bulgarian President Rosen Plevneliev in October 2014, Prime Minister Boyko Borissov in June 2015 and former Deputy Prime Minister Ivaylo Kalfin in March 2016.

The Head of the State Secretariat for Economic Affairs (SECO) will meet with President Rosen Plevneliev as well as Deputy Prime Ministers Tomislav Donchev and Meglena Kuneva.

The delegation will visit leading Swiss companies operating in Bulgaria, as well as IT and outsourcing firms.

During her visit, State Secretary Ineichen-Fleisch and Deputy Prime Minister Donchev will open a Business and Innovation Forum BulgariaSwitzerland organized by the Bulgarian-Swiss Chamber of Commerce (BSCC) in cooperation with the Embassy of Switzerland and Sofia Tech Park.

More than a hundred participants from both countries will discuss the business climate in Bulgaria as well as the new potentials for Swiss investments, followed by B2B talks and a visit to Sofia Tech Park labs and innovative companies.

In 2015, Switzerland was the ninth largest investor in Bulgaria with Swiss investments exceeding EUR 1.3 B.

The interest of the Swiss investors in Bulgaria is primarily in the fields of electricity generation and distribution, industry, services and IT business.

Major Swiss investors have long been active in Bulgaria, which is turning the country into a stepping stone for the Swiss business to other countries and markets. The investments, business cooperation and bilateral trade have, however, untapped potential, especially in the innovative and high-tech industry.

State Secretary Ineichen-Fleisch and Education Minister Kuneva will open the 4th session of the Forum on Dual Education within the Swiss-funded DOMINO Project, which supports the introduction of the dual-track education in Bulgaria.

The Swiss contribution to Bulgaria - through the Bulgarian-Swiss Cooperation Program (BSCP) - amounts to CHF 76 M allocated tor thematic funds and projects to be implemented in the period 2010 – 2019.

BSCP is providing support in areas where Bulgaria has claimed needs for catching up, and in which Switzerland can offer know-how and expertise: security and stability, civil society participation, social inclusion of minorities and vulnerable groups, environment and infrastructure, institutional partnerships, research and education, including dual education.

With a total budget CHF 3.5 M, DOMINO Project aims to support the reform in the vocational education system in Bulgaria by developing modern dual education based on the Bulgarian traditions and the best Swiss and international practices.

Currently, 81 students in two vocational schools in Sofia and Kazanlak share schools lessons and on-the-job training on two professions (machine technician CNC machines and systems, and technologist in milk and dairy production).

As of the new school year, sixteen schools, three new professional occupations (electrician, gas technician and cook) in twelve towns, as well as over twenty partner companies will be part of the DOMINO project.

Using the Swiss model for public consultations, a “Forum on Dual Education” coordinates the efforts of the various parties in the introduction of dual education. Its first session conducted in September 2015 was officially opened by Swiss State Secretary for Education, Research and Innovation Mauro Dell’Ambrogio.

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Tags: Bulgaria, Switzerland, Rosen Plevneliev, Tomislav Donchev, Meglena Kuneva, Marie-Gabrielle Ineichen-Fleisch, business, investment, education
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