As this issue of The Sofia Echo went to press, Economy Minister Traicho Traikov said in an interview on television that in the past year, large amounts of capital had flowed out of Bulgaria as parent companies withdrew sums to cover their own expenses.
While at the same time Traikov said that about a billion euro had been invested in local industry so far this year, his statement about outward capital flows is a matter of no small concern, if hardly a surprise given the dynamics elsewhere on this continent.
In Europe, the sovereign debt crisis in the euro zone has shaken confidence and curbed domestic demand, as the International Monetary Fund has pointed out in its most recent regional economic outlook report. Given this trend, it is inevitable that the vulnerability of Bulgaria’s economy, so dependent on the decisions of foreign investors, would again be exposed.
Against this background, Bulgaria urgently needs to reconsider and revitalise its strategies for the attraction of foreign investment, not only in terms of legislative measures, but also in terms of where it places its emphasis. Clearly, it needs to think beyond Europe. The visit by Dilma Rousseff and the significance of the large business delegation that Rousseff brought with her is part of getting such a process underway. She is the head of state of the country that is the "B" in BRICS. Bulgaria needs to work hard on its economic ties with all of these, and with those that could in due time become members of that bloc; no easy task, of course, given – for instance – the complexity in relations with the country represented by the "R".
Resentment on the part of ordinary Bulgarians on the basis of the perception that those on the public payroll are skimming off the cream by paying themselves lavish bonuses would be quite understandable.
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