On February 1st, 2022, at Grand Hotel Millennium in Sofia, took place “The World Ahead 2022”, organized by The Economist.
Host of the forum was Mrs. Joan Hoey, Regional Director of Europe for the Economist Intelligence Unit. Guests-Speakers at the event were Mr. Roumen Radev, President of Bulgaria, Mr. Kiril Petkov, Prime-minister of Bulgaria, Mrs. Ursula fon der Leyen, President of the European Commission (video message), Mrs. Maria Gabriel, Commissioner for the digital economy and society (recorded message), Mrs. Petia Dimitrova, CEO and Chairperson of the management Board of Postbank, Mr. Juerg Burkhalter, General Manager of Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria, Mr. Radoslav Koshkov, General Manager of Schneider Electric, Mr. Roland Harings, CEO of Aurubis Group (video message), Mrs. Ema Popova, Public sector sales manager CEE Multy-Country of Microsoft and Ms. Tatyana Ivanova, Student ambassador of the Mars Generation.
During the event, the esteemed speakers outlined their plans on how to make Bulgaria a location of progress and sustainability, while commenting on opportuneness of current era and up to date developments in different industries. Some of the most interesting quotes included the following.
The President in his speech made a brief analysis of the economic situation in the country, emphasizing on his high expectations, as well as high requirements for the new cabinet. Mister Radev expressed his position on NATO-Russia relations on the issue of Ukraine, as well as on the progress of negotiations between Bulgaria and North Macedonia.
The Prime Minister Kiril Petkov pointed out some of the key government policies aimed at advancing change in Bulgaria, so that in 2022 our country will have a different reputation.
- Bulgaria must invest in human capital. Priority is given to teachers and children’s development. BGN 100 million are provided in the draft budget for 2022 for extracurricular activities that will make the school more attractive and encourage children in the educational process.
- A new strategy is needed in the energy sector, the aim of which is for Bulgaria to have the most independent, competitive and cheap energy within the European Green Deal. Kiril Petkov expressed hope that, after 13 years of waiting, the Greek gas connection will be a fact. The prime minister revealed also that he talks with his Greek counterpart, Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis, every week.
- Zero tolerance for corruption is a priority and that society must work on together in order for our country to prosper and for Bulgaria to be attractive to foreign investors.
European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen, in a video message, stated that about a third of the NextGenerationEU recovery plan would be set aside to meet environmental targets of 240 billion euros. “NextGenerationEU has 6.6 billion euros of investment ready for Bulgaria, which is more than 10 percent of the country’s gross domestic product, and with these funds Bulgaria could quickly accelerate the decarbonisation of its economy while accelerating its recovery,” Mrs. Von der Layen added.
Mrs. Petia Dimitrova, CEO and Chairperson of the management Board of Postbank, pointed out that the protection and sustainable management of the environment and the conservation of resources are of paramount importance. She pointed out that Postbank’s strategy is aimed entirely at sustainable financing through green mortgages, loans for small businesses and energy efficiency, signing digitally signed documents, providing electronic notes to save resources. Mrs. Dimitrova outlined that these are the methods to stimulate the development of the economy.
Mr. Juerg Burkhalter, General Manager, Coca-Cola HBC Bulgaria, shared that Coca-Cola Mission 2025 approach to achieving sustainable growth is based on their stakeholder materiality matrix and is fully aligned with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). Mr. Burkhalter pointed out specific policies that the company is working on in this direction, such as the replacement of delivery vehicles with electric ones, the use of recycled and recyclable packaging materials and reducing the amount of water.
Ms. Tatyana Ivanova, Student ambassador, the Mars Generation, charmed the audience by hеr enthusiasm and love for the space, with her ambition and persistent pursuit of her dream!
Tanya, with her enthusiasm and hard work, manages to pass complex physical and theoretical exams to be included in the European program for young astronauts. Her dream to “be this astronaut “is on the way to its realization!
The event was carried with high success and all participants agreed that the different opinions and innovative policies / practices shared, will drive the progress in the following period.