Brexit business conference in Bulgaria

Anne-Marie Martin, COBCOE Chief Executive on Bloomberg TV BulgariaThe British Bulgarian Business Association (BBBA) conference, Brexit – Outlook and Effects on the Bulgarian Economy, took place on 2 November in Sofia. It was organised by the BBBA and the German Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Commerce with the aim of expanding the current debate on the future of Bulgaria, the EU and the UK in the context of the Brexit negotiations.

Topics under discussion included preparing for the worst and hoping for the best, possible outcome of the negotiations, logistics and supply chain planning, EU reform, and strengthening business relations between EU and UK companies. 

 "Over the past year, there has been an encouraging re-emigration trend, and Brexit creates opportunities to attract qualified Bulgarians back by showing them that there are opportunities for work and a good standard of living," said Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, who joined the debate with guest speakers from Germany and the UK. He commented that the secondary effects on the Bulgarian economy from Brexit are much more important, as limited access to the British market will inevitably lead to stronger competition in the EU. 

Anne-Marie Martin, COBCOE Chief Executive, presented COBCOE's pan-European research report, Brexit – the Voices of European Business. She expressed the general concerns of business that their voice was not being heard by their national governments or by the negotiators in Brussels. "Modern business is highly integrated, and even companies operating on the local market will be affected through the network of suppliers of their clients and partners" she said, adding that business involvement in the negotiation debate is of great importance.

What producers in the UK want to see as a result of the Brexit talks is a smooth and planned UK exit from the EU, said Fergus McReynolds, Director of EU Affairs at EEF, the British Manufacturers’ Organisation. UK manufacturers are extremely dependent on access to qualified engineers from the EU, as well as the maintenance of a unified regulatory environment with clear rules and equal conditions, he added.

Dr. Ulrich Hoppe, Director General of the German-British Chamber of Industry & Commerce in London, noted that business preparations must begin immediately, which is extremely difficult given that the outcome of negotiations is unclear, and timing is tight. "Companies cannot switch to a new regime for one day, as the network of partners, customers and suppliers is very complex," he said.

Pictured above: Anne-Marie Martin, Chief Executive of COBCOE was interviewed on Bloomberg TV Bulgaria

Below: the Brexit Panel at the conference Brexit – Outlook and Effects on Bulgarian Economy held in Sofia 

Brexit panel BBBA conference

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