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Bulgaria's Prime Minister becomes BBLF Honorary Lifetime Member

May 31, 2004

As of May 31, 2004, Bulgarian Prime Minister Simeon Saxe Coburg-Gotha is already Honorary Lifetime Member of the Bulgarian Business Leaders Forum. At a business luncheon with BBLF members, representatives of the government and diplomats, Mr. Maxim Behar handed the Premier a special plaque sealing his new status in the Forum.

"My government pays special tribute to BBLF not just for its rigorous encouragement of investment and entrepreneurship in this country, but also for reaching out in so many ways to the communities around you," the Bulgarian Prime Minister said at the beginning of his address to the participants in the luncheon. "It is now some five years since my memorable first meeting with the founders of BBLF. You encouraged me then to bring my own private sector experience to bear on the revival of Bulgaria into a modern state competing on even terms in Europe and the world. Much has happened since then to prove that the goals we all shared and debated that evening were actually achievable and not utopian.

I have the Business Ethics Standard that BBLF gave me hung on the wall in my office and I view it like to God's Ten Commandments. I would be happy to know that business in Bulgaria considers them in the same way too," Simeon Saxe Coburg-Gotha said in conclusion.


"Our successes at BBLF have been made possible to a great extent because of the help of Mr. Saxe Coburg-Gotha's government and his own personal help and care about the business in this country in improving the investment environment," said BBLF Chairman Mr. Maxim Behar. "As business representatives, we have always been unsatisfied, critical and demanding, and we expect our government to do more for us and for business in general, but on the other hand, we have always recognized the efforts of this very government to help business and to be available any time for constructive, effective and positive dialogue," Mr. Behar added in his introductory speech to the guests.

Lindner Group General Manager Rossen Plevenliev challenged the Prime Minister with a question on the modernization of the infrastructure in Bulgaria, arguing that an investment of EUR 20 mln. in the modernization of the ring-road in Sofia would attract twice as many investments. 
In response to a question by Vasil Vasilev from ‘Vasilev Brothers' about the progress of Bulgaria's negotiations with the EU, Mr. Saxe Coburg-Gotha said they are closing to their end, but there is still some serious work to be done.

Ms. Zoya Paunova of AstraZeneka was interested to know when the government will increase the GDP percentage allotted to healthcare in Bulgaria. "The issue of health-care is very challenging, from both political and organizational point of view. We will try to reach the desired effect within our limited budget, using the international experience in the sphere as well," the Prime Minister said in response.
The guests at the event had the chance to enjoy some truly exquisite food prepared by Italian chef Massimo Ferrari, marking the opening of the Week of Italian Cuisine in Bulgaria.