Strong Bulgarian Participation at Ambrosetti – the European Brain Trust

– Tihomir Kamenov nominated Assen Vassilev for participation in this year’s forum
– Assen Vassilev performed well being the first Bulgarian politician in charge of the Bulgarian Recovery Plan participating at the Forum

The topic of the 33rd edition of the prestigious Ambrosetti Economic Forum was “The Outlook for the Economy and Finance” and brought together the heads of major international and national financial and economic institutions, as well as selected business representatives. Tihomir Kamenov, Chairman of the Commercial League’s Corporate Group, has been participated since 15 years in the spring and autumn sessions of the Forum.

Why is it important?

Italy has received approval for the implementation of the largest recovery plan from the pandemic, amounting to more than EUR 184 billion, and is now asking for additions to reach more than EUR 200 billion in European subsidies. Bulgaria will soon, this week, barely sign up to the plan for a modest EUR 6.2 billion. Therefore, relative to its population, Bulgaria receives about 3 times less money than Italy. Bulgarian participants at the forum asked and sought answers if, when and how Bulgaria can catch up, including through other new programmes, and compensate for the asymmetric negative impact of the big new European war.

Tihomir Kamenov asked questions to the American participants Nouriel Roubini, Ellen Zentner and M. А. El-Erian and to the Governor of the Central Bank of the Netherlands, Klaas Knott. All agreed that the new European Energy Assistance Fund should be much larger than the current one, that a decision should be taken and that its work should start quickly. In particular, Bulgaria and the Black Sea countries of the EU and NATO should be strongly supported. European Commissioners, such as Paolo Gentilioni and their teams, as well as Laurence Boon, Deputy Director-General of the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development, agreed on the need for even greater European assistance to the Member States concerned. “We need not only new energy and infrastructure funds for the eastern flank of the EU and NATO, but social and educational, unified European programmes, on a large scale, to stop the outflow of educated personnel such as doctors and engineers. Otherwise, the inter-state division in the Union into rich and poor, sick and long-lived, and the toleration of corporations because of national selfishness, will divide us for a long time and ruin the Union: the European project is now uniquely cohesive, because of the war, in a special values way, and we must not miss the moment to federalize the EU,” Kamenov said. “The window is up to 2 years”.

Assen Vassilev, in turn, made an excellent impression on the last day, conceptually presenting the idea “What kind of new Europe do we want” – two or three speeds (East-West, North-South) or a harmonised, united Europe. According to Vassilev, it is very important whether prosperity, social and national security come before environmental protection and the elimination of coal from domestic production as a source of energy. He affirmed that educational and research programmes, such as the very successful Erasmus, should be powerfully deployed. It became clear that we are successful, balanced and predictable for foreign investors and this is confirmed by the growing support of the Bulgarian diaspora from Europe and the United States.

Bulgaria has stood out as an investment attractive and safe destination for business, despite the threats, challenges and uncertainties. Even in the face of declining globalisation, due to the country’s previously subdued and subordinate role, our two participants foresaw Bulgaria’s growing importance as a flank (previously peripheral) participant in both economic (EU) and defense (NATO) alliances.

Many potential investors took part in the side discussions, where the fight against corruption and racketeering were specifically raised.