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Advantage Austria Poll: 350 Austrian Investors Contribute to EUR 5 Bln-Plus Investment Inflow

“Approximately 350 Austrian investors contribute to an investment inflow of over BGN 5 billion. They generate value added for the local economy, pay taxes, and employ 300,000 people. Bilateral economic relations have improved: the export of Austrian goods to Bulgaria increased by 37% in January-October [2022], and Bulgarian exports to Austria grew by 34% during the same period.”
The figures were quoted here on Tuesday by Austria’s Commercial Counsellor Philippe-Giuseppe Kupfer, who presented the results of an annual poll on the investment climate in Bulgaria. The survey was conducted by Advantage Austria (the trade promotion organization of the Austrian Federal Economic Chamber) among Austrian companies in this country at the end of 2022.
In the words of Austrian Ambassador in Sofia Andrea Ikic-Bohm, Austria ranks second among the home countries of foreign investments in Bulgaria. “Partnership between the two countries will be all the more important against the background of the significant economic challenges,” she added.
Bulgarian Chamber of Commerce and Industry President Tsvetan Simeonov described Austrian companies as “exceedingly accurate and dependable.”
Caretaker Deputy Prime Minister for EU Funds Management Atanas Pekanov said that the Recovery and Resilience Plan and the operational programmes are the main responsibilities in his portfolio. Hence, digitization and the Green Transition, as Europe’s priority goals, have been identified as the opportunities for financing that will be available to all companies in Bulgaria in the coming years, Pekanov added. 
The negative factors cited by the Austrian companies include the administrative burden, the low level of digitization and the scarcity of labour power. Another problem that they highlight is crime and corruption which, in their opinion, are rampant in Bulgaria. 
Still, according to the results of the poll presented by Kupfer, Austrian companies in Bulgaria are less sceptical than in the rest of the EU. Of those polled, 12% expect an improvement in the investment climate during the next 12 months, 41% expect no change, and 47% expect deterioration.
Business executives who attended the event said that Bulgaria’s potential will be ever more attractive to future investments. Investors in this country, however, are having a serious problem recruiting skilled workers.

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