The newly established Bulgarian Outsourcing Association made prognosis for a stable increase in the number of companies that plan to outsource their business to Bulgaria. These companies be registered in Sofia and could come from many spheres of activity. The new association predicted that the increase in the number of companies will be around three times in the next five years. The outsourcing business is considered among the most dynamic industries in the country and currently it employs around 15 000 people in the capital. Their number is expected to triple according to the five year prognosis. The stable political situation, the low taxes and the acceptable wages in the country, the professional skills of the employees, as well as its being part of the European Union, make Bulgaria an attractive destination for the large and stable companies in Western Europe and the United States. These companies will look for business centers with offices of the highest class, which have central and convenient locations and perfect infrastructure, besides offering an impressive range of services and facilities. It is believed that these big companies will later open other offices throughout the country in cities like Varna and Bourgas, Plovdiv and Rousse.
Among the founders of the Bulgarian Outsourcing Association are companies like Coca-Cola Hellenic IT Services, AII Data Processing, Sofica Group, Atos Bulgaria and Bulpros. They believe that if the state and the companies join their forces, this will lead to a stable development of that industry sphere. If the proper activities are arranged and successful policies are followed, then Bulgaria can become one of the top ten destinations for outsourcing. Special attention has to be paid to the professionals who apply for work in these outsourcing companies. Usually, these are people with a lot of knowledge and skills, but they still need training in certain spheres. It is not a secret at all that some of the largest outsourcing companies that are working in Bulgaria are in direct connection with the universities where they look for ambitious students. They try to attract the talented ones and offer them a job before they head to a carrier abroad. There is potential in the rest of the big cities in the country besides Sofia, where there are no such projects and opportunities, but there are still good professionals. The outsourcing industry is in demand for different types of employees – from recent graduates to managers and strictly qualified professionals.
In general, Bulgaria has excellent reputation among the companies in the outsourcing business and it will continue to attract them. The reasons for that are not only the membership of the country in the European Union, but also the tax alleviations and the desire for less bureaucracy. Of course, we should also mention the welcoming atmosphere, the excellent infrastructure and the construction of business centers with prestige location that correspond to the needs and the requirements that are important to the foreign investors.
The government of Bulgaria have allocated additional 20 million for three of its southeastern regions, I order to build a fence along the Turkish border. The fence that is referred to as a temporary deterring installation will be set to stop the migratory pressure on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria that have been growing in the past few years. According to the press statement by the government it will also stem the wave of the refugees.
Since 2014 for more than two years, the costs for the building of the fence have surpassed 100 million BGN. In addition, the cabinet have given more money to repair the border crossing, as well as the border police equipment and stations. All those measures have been done in relation with the hope for accession of Bulgaria in the travel-free Schengen zone.
In the end of October Romania and Bulgaria agreed that their aim to get a visa free traveling would be included in the interpretative declaration of CETA. This was an answer to the concerts that Wallonia, the Belgian region, had.
During the summit of the European Union, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria informed the press about the good news and the fact that the visa situation will be solved. Until that moment, Canada had a no visa regime with all countries from the European Union except with Bulgaria and Romania. Now the two countries do not have objection to CETA, yet they wanted to solve the visa issues they have with Canada. Different meetings have been held between the European Commission, Romania and Bulgaria, as well as Canada, aiming to solve this visa issue. Thus, since 1st December 2017 there will be no visas for residents of the two countries who want to enter Canada.
The regulation, which will come into force on 20th December will require all European Union countries to act as if one on all cases including visa matters. Romania and Bulgaria confirmed once again that they are ready for entering Schengen area for several years already, yet they have been prevented by vetos from several countries.
The new European border and coast guard control was launched in an official ceremony this autumn at the checkpoint Kapitan Andreevo, on the border between Turkey and Bulgaria. This border is also considered an external border of the European Union. The new task force was organized and built by the border management agency Frontex due to the overwhelming refugee situation.
The new European border and coast guard control will have new powers and more staff – approximately 1500 guards and technical equipment. In addition, liaison officers will be stationed in various states of the European Union that have external borders and will monitor the movements.
Until now Frontex was not able to offer effective control on the external borders of the European Union due to the lack of staff and the limited powers of the agency.
The European border agency have been inaugurated at Kapitan Andreevo checkpoint between Bulgaria and Turkey border in October this year. The two countries are now separated with a razor wire and a metal fence. The European border agency aims to be the main frontier on land for the migrants that want to enter Europe but avoid the crossing of the Mediterranean Sea.
Approximately 1500 officers and 19 state members will be at the disposal of the European Border and Coast Guard Agency, who can be quickly mobilized if there is an emergency. Officials from the European Union hope that this will increase the security and will help the cooperation between the various member states that have been arguing in connection with the refugees.
It seems that the long-term goal is for lifting the border controls that are inside the block and for restoring the passport-free area of Schengen. The director of the EBCG, Fabrice Leggeri, stated that the new agency is well equipped and quite strong to cope with the security challenges and the migration situation.
According to Dimitris Avramopoulos, the EU Migration Commissioner, since the launching of the new European Border and Coast Guard Agency, the external border of Bulgaria becomes an external border of all member states. The agency will further be involved in the repatriation of those migrants that have been rejected from the asylum and are accepted as a threat to the security.
Bulgaria got a positive assessment by the Interior Minister of Poland Mariusz Blaszczak on a meeting he held with the Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior Rumiana Bachvarova. The Bulgarian Prime Minister stated that Bulgaria has a very important role in guarding the most sensitive external border of the European Union, making all efforts possible to limit the illegal immigration. Bulgaria has a good organization that restricts the crossing of the illegal migrants. Thanks to that organization, the immigrants are restricted to cross Bulgaria as they are detained entrance on the country’s territory. This is a very strong message to the migrants stating that Bulgaria is not easy to cross.
Bulgaria gets support from the European states and officers coming from other countries. Currently are being detained around 200 people each week, which is less than the same period in 2015. The Deputy Prime Minister also stated that Bulgaria makes everything possible to guard its external border, which is also an external border of the European Union. The Polish guest showed the strong support of Poland for the accession of Bulgaria in the Schengen zone.
According to the reports, the Prime Minister of Bulgaria have sent a letter to the European Union Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker, where he brought up the issues of Bulgaria’s entry in the borderless Schengen area and the Eurozone. Sofia will be monitored under the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism, that is applied by Brussels.
The Prime Minister stated that the country will continue to work on the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism and the acceptance of Bulgaria in the Schengen zone. The country is also in ongoing talks for joining the Eurozone. According to the Prime Minister, once the three processes are completed successfully, the Bulgarian citizens will be happy to enjoy the benefits of the membership in the European Union and later also share the responsibilities.
The Prime Minister insisted that Bulgaria has fulfilled the Schengen criteria in 2011 and was blocked by the Netherlands and Finland. The official letter was intended as an act of gratitude for the decision of the Commission to launch the European Border and Coast Guard program.
Officials from Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, countries that are outside the Schengen zone, have met with several other officials from countries that are already part of the Schengen area. The meeting was held in September in the Polish capital of Warsaw. The members of countries that are part of the Schengen borderless area that were invited in the meeting were Denmark and Poland, Hungary and the Czech Republic. Switzerland, which is a non-EU member also send a delegate at the meeting.
The officials from Bulgaria, which was pushing for many years to join the passport free Schengen zone, are now feeling that Schengen is not that important for the country anymore. These statements of the Prime Minister of Bulgaria coincided with the remarks made by the Foreign Minister of Hungary who showed indications that Budapest will not necessarily support an entry by a Southeastern European nation into the Schengen zone.
Hungary made a step back in its strong support for the entry of Bulgaria in the borderless area of Schengen. The country stated officially that Bulgaria first needs to meet the Schengen accession criteria and the Schengen protocol. That position was announced by Zoltan Kovacs, a government spokesman and was reported in the website EurActiv.
Kovac further stated that the visit of the Prime Minister of Hungary Viktor Orban is a proof that Budapest wants to be among the first defenders of Bulgaria along with other European union countries. Yet, according to the website Hungary shows flexible positions, and in fact wants Bulgaria to stay outside Schengen so that it can act as a buffer zone for the migrants and thus to protects the Schengen zone.
According to the reports in Athens and Sofia, the two countries – Greece and Bulgaria will join forces in their cooperation on border security. The two countries will make efforts to secure the border of Greece with Turkey and with Bulgaria, aiming better protection from migration. In the end of August, a meeting was held in Sofia between the Deputy Minister of Greece and the Interior Minister of Bulgaria. Mr. Nikos Toskas and Mrs. Rumiana Bachvarova discussed the option for police forces from the two countries to cooperate and thus offer better protection of the border between Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey.
Even if the number of the migrants crossing Europe has dropped once the deal between the European Union and Turkey was signed, since the beginning of September more than 800 migrants have crossed the border from Turkey to Greece according to data given by UNHCR. The president of Turkey agreed upon the control of the migration in exchange of support to the refugees in Turkey and liberation on the visa regime for people traveling in the Schengen zone.