President-elect Rosen Plevneliev used a joint meeting of business and government leaders to declare his top ten priorities for securing the future of Bulgaria:
Judicial Reform. In particular, he called out performance and fairness as two key elements in a justice system that works. This is a particular focus for his because it is essential to show that Bulgaria is a safe place to invest and do business.
Improving the Business Environment. He set forth a goal of raising Bulgaria in to the ranks of the top 50 places for doing business in the world. He mentioned e-government in particular, but said it is just one of many mechanisms for making Bulgaria a more attractive business destination.
Properly Functioning Public Institutions. He pointed out that there are resource poor countries who are rich, and resource rich countries who are poor, with the operation of public institutions as one of the main determining factors for success.
Modern Infrastructure. It should be no surprise to anyone that he is committed to completing the infrastructure development plan he oversaw in his cabinet post.
Energy Efficiency, Independence and Liberalization. Energy efficiency will leave more money in the hands of individuals for consumption.
Regional Development. He suggests inviting all of Bulgaria’s regions to participate in the conversation about how to develop their areas, will listen to their projects and priorities, and work to integrate them into the national development program.
National Reputation. Bulgaria has good news it can use as a basis to build up its reputation. Along with hard work and tightening up weaker areas, Bulgaria can fight for a better reputation in the world.
Science, Education and Innovation. Over 80% of Bulgarian workers are engaged in low value added employment. Focus on science and education will encourage innovation, which is the key to adding high value added positions in the workforce.
Cultural and Spiritual Development. A statement of good intention, mentioning 13 museums currently in development and other initiatives promoting Bulgarian culture.
Investing in Growth Engine Industries. He advocates focusing on specific industries and implementing multifaceted plans to foster them in Bulgaria.
Plevneliev covers all of the bases in his list, starting with some of the perennial issues plaguing Bulgaria since the changes, then ticking off action items already on the long term national agenda already underway, before finishing with a wish list drawing on popular themes that can’t help but get people nodding their heads in the right direction. He wraps all of this up under the moniker Bulgaria 2020, which sounds like it will become the label of choice for his agenda moving forward.
From his comments, Plevneliev seems acutely aware of the efforts necessary to make Bulgaria a competitive player on the world stage. Whether he will be able to achieve these objectives is yet to be seen, but at least he is starting out right, with the end already in mind. Let’s hope his Bulgaria 2020 gains traction and brings about good results for the benefit of the country.