French Business Representatives Impressed with Bulgaria's Macroeconomic Parameters And Tax Policy

Pierre Moraillon, head of a business delegation of MEDEF International, told Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev the French business representatives were impressed with Bulgaria's macroeconomic parameters, tax policy and low unemployment, the government information service said.

The delegation includes representatives of Gaz de France, Bouygues, Alstom Transport, Calyon and Saur. The visit by the largest employer organization is expected to contribute to promoting investor interest.

Bulgaria and France will expand economic cooperation because Bulgaria has a strong, lasting economic potential, and its EU membership as of 2007 is an additional contributing factor, said Moraillon, who is also member of Calyon Banque's Executive Committee.

Stanishev told the French delegation that Bulgarian-French relations are excellent and should give impetus to economic partnership. The sides have untapped potential for cooperation in the energy sector, infrastructure modernization and high technology, he said, and identified agriculture, the food industry, water and waste management as other promising areas of cooperation.

Two-way trade stood at 1,250 million euro in 2006, making France Bulgaria's sixth largest trading partner in the EU. Two-way trade stood at 820.2 million euro in the first eight months of 2007, with Bulgarian export to France increasing by 7.1 per cent from a year earlier.

French investments in Bulgaria are estimated at 450 millioneuro, the major investors being Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Mr. Bricolage, Danone Group and Groupe Schneider. Montupet S.A. is building a car spares maker in an industrial park near Rousse (on the Danube).

French companies are also involved in a number of joint projects in the energy sector and high technology. Alstom Power is the project contractor in the construction of capacity at the Maritza East 1 thermal power plant. AREVA is a partner of Russia's Atomexportstroy, which won a tender to complete the construction of the Belene nuclear power plant. Dalkia International won a tender for Varna's district heating utility.

Major projects are also being implemented through military economic cooperation. Eurocopter was selected to supply 18 helicopters for the modernization of the Bulgarian armed forces, and five of them have already arrived.

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