Last year Bulgaria was 74th. Since this country's inclusion in the report in 1999, CED had been a Partner Institute of the World Economic Forum in collecting information on Bulgaria for the GCR. This year's CED participation in the prestigious project was supported by the Open Society Institute.
GCR is one of the most thorough and representative studies into the potential for economic growth, to cover an ever expanding circle of countries. The number of countries included in the report has been constantly increasing to reach 131 in 2007 as compared to 124 in 2006. The reasons for Bulgaria's going down in the rank list include some negative evaluations of business representatives regarding the efficiency of institutions. This concerns mainly indicators such as the impartiality and expeditiousness of the judiciary in resolving commercial disputes; the spread of corruption practices; the inefficient fight with organized crime; the insufficient protection of intellectual property; the clumsy regulating environment, the lack of transparency in public procurement.
Another factor, which contributed to the worse position of Bulgaria is its low performance regarding technological development (65th) and innovation potential (88th).
Bulgaria lags behind in a number of indicators such as public expenditure for research, which currently stand at only 0.38 of GDP, compared to an average of 0.65 for the EU 25 member states (excluding Bulgaria and Romania). The expenditures of business for research and development is 0.11 per cent compared to 1.20 per cent in E-25, CED added.
Bulgaria is not performing well regarding the quality of basic infrastructure as well (84th), while it shows good results in macroeconomic development (47th).
Regarding company competitiveness Bulgaria preserves its 83rd position of last year.
Business environment is still evaluated in a negative way by company representatives and is ranked 77th in regards to this indicator. According to entrepreneurs, the problems related to the business environment are the nonefficient state administration; corruption; low quality of infrastructure; low qualification of labor; absence of business ethics.
In respect to company strategies, Bulgaria is ranked 96th. Bulgarian companies have most serious problems in the following areas: lack of adequate policy on qualification and requalification of human resources; inefficient marketing and insufficiently good quality of professional management; lack of active policy on buying and implementing advanced technologies. These serious issues lead to the lower competitiveness of the Bulgarian companies as well, GCR said.