Saturday, April 30, 2005

GFSB in Bulgaria

by Alice Mascarenhas

• Barcelona Conference

Marie Lou Guerrero, in her role as President of the World Association of SME’s (Small & Medium Enterprises) has been in Bulgaria meeting with the Union of Private Bulgarian Entrepreneurs. The Union are members of the World Association and holding a business conference dealing with the forthcoming accession to the European Union.

During the visit Mrs Guerrero and Ken Robinson (vice Chairman of Gibraltar Federation of Small Businesses (GFSB) and WASME Governing Body member) were invited to meet Sergei Stanishev - Chairman of the Bulgarian Socialist Party, who in current polls is expected to win the next elections in June 2005.

In addition meetings were also held with the present Minister for Labour and Social Policy, Dr Christina Christova. She went into great detail on the policies relating to social and employment strategies.

Mrs Guerrero and Mr Robinson carried out many interviews during their stay in Bulgaria with newspapers, radio and television companies. The main topic related to the EU accession and potential problems for SME’s in Bulgaria.

Mrs Guerrero said the experience obtained within the Gibraltar Federation and the Rock’s European Association, ESBA, as well as local businesses in Gibraltar were well received as examples of what the Bulgarians should expect as from 2007.

“Emphasis on being ready and prepared for the future opportunities and challenges were made and accepted by all the dignitaries and professionals that we met,” she added.

The WASME delegation included another Vice President, Professor Ovidiu Nicolescu, from Romania.

“Jointly we were able to present a report to the conference delegates and field the questions raised. The politicians who will be dealing with the problems and challenges that the new entrants to the EU will sustain were grateful for our comments and raised many questions relating to Gibraltar and its methods of dealing with the bureaucracy that goes hand in hand with EU membership,” said Mrs Guerrero.

In Barcelona

Meanwhile on the return flight from Sofia, Mrs Guerrero took the opportunity to attend an international conference organised by INSME - International Network for SME’s, held under the auspices of the Government of Catalonia.

Mrs Guerrero was one of the main speakers at the conference. Other speakers included Ministers and Officials from the Governments of Australia, Canada, China, India, Israel, Italy, Spain and United States and Directors from United Nations Agencies, OECD (Organisation for Economic Co-Operation and Development), The European Investment Bank and DG Enterprise, European Commission.

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