US Ambassador: Bulgaria has to Invest in Good Governance, Rule of Law is still a Problem
This year has been difficult. The pandemic took lives. There was political uncertainty, Bulgaria went through several elections. There is energy uncertainty worldwide, but I see the potential to turn the page, I see hope. This was stated by the American Ambassador Her Excellency Hero Mustafa, reported BGNES.
There is a new government open to dialogue. The Bulgarian economy is ready for growth in 2022. Bulgaria and the United States have sown the seeds for a fruitful partnership, said Ambassador Mustafa at a business breakfast organized by the American Chamber of Commerce in Bulgaria (AmCham).
I recently celebrated my second anniversary in Bulgaria, Mustafa added. I traveled far and wide to your beautiful country and saw how strong the ties between our two countries are. I met people and got acquainted with people's hopes for a better future. The population of Bulgaria is 7 million people, with me you have 7 million and 1 inhabitant, said the ambassador.
In her presentation, she focused on the three "I's" - investment, innovation and integration. Ambassador Mustafa called for us to invest together in our future. The future of our two nations is in investing in better governance, this will allow us to prosper. Recovery in Bulgaria will be driven by higher wages and the investment of European money. Trade fell by 11 percent in 2020, but this year we see a 25 percent increase in January-September. The United States has invested $ 2.5 billion and created 30,000 high-paying jobs, Hero Mustafa said.
She stressed that in order for Bulgaria to attract foreign investment, the state must invest in good governance. The rule of law is a problem. Labor legislation is quite outdated. The regulatory environment has poor law enforcement, creating conditions for corruption. I say all this as a partner and ally. We want Bulgaria to move forward in the Transparency International rankings. The fight against corruption is an area in which AmCham plays an important role, Mustafa added.
She also explained that investments in the diversification of the energy mix are key for Bulgaria's future. Western solutions must be chosen, especially with regard to cooperation in nuclear energy. We have planned a seminar on small nuclear modules, Mustafa said. She also pointed out that a study has been commissioned to carry out the modernization of district heating. The United States has provided $ 1 million for the modernization of district heating, she added.
Hero Mustafa said the partnership with the United States is an investment in the future. We want a strong Bulgaria, AmCham's Green Pact working group has hired an international group for the transition to a coal-free future. This transition must be made in a good way for workers. The goal is to have an ecological environment, said Ambassador Mustafa.
On the subject of innovation, she said we are facing increasingly complex challenges. COVID-19 disrupted the supply chain, and cyberattacks caused serious damage to companies. According to her, innovation will find a solution to these challenges. Bulgaria's main exports to the United States are computers and electronics, and not, as some think, agricultural products, this shows the mutually beneficial nature of cooperation, Mustafa said.
Bulgaria needs integration with Western markets. I am deeply convinced that together we are stronger. Bulgaria must be integrated with the OECD and the eurozone, it must join them. The future is of Bulgaria. You have the potential to become a strong regional energy center with the Bulgaria-Greece interconnector. I have always stood up for it and I will continue to stand up, the ambassador emphasized.
We are proud to celebrate the purchase of the F-16. We continue to work actively in the Black Sea. In our interconnected world, business is not just about profit. The private sector must play a role in tackling social ills. In Bulgaria, positive changes are taking place in so many areas, despite so many challenges, said Mustafa and summed up that increased investment, innovation and integration benefit the Bulgarian and American economies.
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