Press Releases

The International Forum "Bringing into the light! Competitiveness against the grey economy” start the dialogue between the representatives of public and private sector


On February 16, 2012 in Hilton Hotel, Sofia with the initiative of BAATPE and the support of the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, office Bulgaria, was held the International Forum named "Bringing into the light! Competitiveness against the grey economy”. In order to share opinions, information, best practices and measures, BAATPE invited respected experts and representatives from European organizations, audit companies, government agencies, trade unions, and research organizations, universities, employers and managers from the Bulgarian T&C industry.

The problem of "grey economy" is significant for the entire Balkan region, so BAATPE organized this forum with the idea to raise the awareness about the potential threat and consequences for the industry, to provide good examples and practical solutions taken from the experience of foreign trade organizations and to launch dialogue between business representatives, trade unions and government agencies.

The forum was opened by Mr. Bertram Rollmann, Vice. Chairman of BAATPE and CEO of Pirin Tex, Gotze Delchev, and Mr. Marc Meinardus, Director of Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation, Bulgaria.

Both agreed on the theme that the grey economy is a serious problem for socio - economic life of Bulgaria and leads to unfair competition, and last but not least, has a negative effect on the image of the country and sector among potential foreign investors and contractors.

Special guests at the event were Mr. Antonio Barberi, Senior Expert International markets, Trade association for fashion, interior design, carpets and textiles, MODINT, the Netherlands, and Dr. Franz J. Pitnik, Executive Director of the Association of Austrian Industry Clothing, footwear and leather. They presented international experience in combating the grey economy and the winning practices of their organizations.

Clear and legally sound contracts, compliance with rules and laws, honesty and loyalty - Mr. Barberi stressed the need for compliance with EU and national legislation in order to improve the situation in the sector, to retain and attract foreign clients and to increase the attractiveness of Bulgarian T&C industry and businesses.

Dr. Franz J. Pitnik, one of the best experts and managers in the European T&C industry, talked about the experience of the Austrian Association. Their studies show that companies that follow and implement the policy of socially responsible companies enjoy greater trust and respect from their partners. In summary, Mr. Pitnik stressed that the practices of corporate social responsibility (CSR) are not only a tool to successful marketing, but an occasion for personal satisfaction, improved business environment and very positive influence on the establishment and strengthening of business relations so that the development of contacts and partnerships in business.  

The theme continued with the presentation of Mrs. Antoinette Zahova, Head of CSR, TUV – Rheinland, office Bulgaria, which provided information about different types of standards, recognition and enforcement of European and international level.

Mr. Ruslan Stefanov, Economic Program Director of the Center for the Study of  Democracy, presented the data and conclusions from a study on the hidden economy in Bulgaria and how undeclared work affects competitiveness. He stressed that the main sources of hidden economy are social security tax burden, regulations, restrictions and requirements for market access and quality of institutions. The inefficiency of state institutions and the lack of constructive dialogue between the public and private sectors have been identified as essential prerequisites for the growth of the hidden economy in Bulgaria. 

Mr. Stefanov expressed his regret over the weak state support and the lack of incentives for businesses.

Mr. Nikolay Petkov, Director of department "Risk Management" at the National Revenue Agency (NRA), stated the desire of the agency to work in close collaboration with BAATPE. Mr. Petkov said the main reason for existing informal economy sector in the country is the current economic situation in Bulgaria and abroad. According to the TaxGap analysis made ​​by the NRA, nearly 68% of persons engaged in retail trade tend to tax evasion (do not report earnings,  do not pay taxes, etc.).

Ms. Kamelina Tacheva, Deputy. Chairman of the Federation of Independent Trade Unions in light industry in Bulgaria, emphasized that the informal economy is not only a violation of rules and legislation,due to the lack of government control, but an attractive option for double standards. 

The forum ended with a short presentation examining the state of internationalization of Bulgarian companies in the textiles and clothing sector presented by ass.dr. Zhelyu Vladimirov, University of Sofia "St. Kliment Ohridski". The research was made among the member firms of BAATPE at the end of the last year. The results of it showed quite a development in recent years, investment in new assets and equipments, but highly dependency of the crisis and the limited market opportunities.

Photos from the event : see Gallery

Presentations :

- Mr. Antonio Barberi - Bulgarian language - свали pdf (2Mb)

- Mr. Franz J. Pitnik - English language - свали pdf (37Kb)

- Mr. Bertram Rollmann - Bulgarian language - свали pdf (30Kb)

- Ms Antoaneta Zahova - Bulgarian language - свали pdf (226Kb)

- Ms Kamelina Tacheva - Bulgarian language - свали pdf (89Kb)

- ass.dr. Zhelyu Vladimirov - Bulgarian language - свали pdf (689Kb)