Bulgaria and Austria – orienting political relations economy-wise
published on 3/9/11 1:03 PM
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov and Federal President of Austria Heiz Fischer
Bulgarian President Georgi Parvanov was on a two-day official visit to Austria. It matched perfectly to the recently declared priority of this country’s foreign policy for the economization of political relations.
The relations between Austria and Bulgaria have been perfect for over two centuries and today a political dialogue is available at all levels. Governmental and parliamentary contacts are active, along with those between the cultural institutions and several different regions of both Danube countries. Some 5,000 Bulgarians that attend Austrian universities also link the two states. The visit of President Parvanov to Vienna only confirmed these good relations. His talks with President Heinz Fischer, Chancellor Werner Faymann and parliamentary and business representatives reaffirmed the current situation – all issues between both countries were solved via dialogue and following the mutual interest. Austria would uphold Bulgaria’s Schengen entry on the basis of met criteria, it became clear, even without referring to additional aspects that take place in Sofia’s position. The commercial and economic relations between both countries were subject of special interest during the visit, as expected. Austria has always been a major trade partner of Bulgaria. The ambition now is the visible trade in 2011 to reach EUR 1 bln. after a certain drop in 2010, which is completely possible. Besides that Austria wants to become No 1 Investor in Bulgaria again – a position that it couldn’t conquer last year. The Austrian economy has invested over EUR 6 bln. in this country, with some 300 companies working here. Their main spheres of interest are telecommunications, the energy, financial and real estate sectors. Bulgaria exports machines, instruments, textile products and shoes etc. The export of Bulgarian drinks and cigarettes is also growing. However, the negative trend is kept for decreasing of export of food products and those of the chemical industry. President Georgi Parvanov has also discussed in Vienna issues, related to energy cooperation and diversification of energy sources. Both President Fischer and Chancellor Faymann have agreed with Mr. Parvanov that the work on the Nabucco gas pipeline project should continue, along with the one on the South Stream gas pipeline. Both systems will transfer natural gas to Austria, respectively from Turkey and Russia, via Bulgaria. According to Mr. Faymann the projects fulfilled each other and both countries would benefit from those. The two “Austrian” days of Mr. Parvanov that perhaps will be the last ones for him as a president, broadened the horizons of bilateral cooperation in all spheres. The good traditions in this area prompt that this cooperation will continue.