• High-level meetings in Sofia in the run-up of the Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU

    2 November 2017On 26 October, DIGITALEUROPE’s Director-General, Ms Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl, and the Chairman of the Bulgarian IT association BAIT, Mr. Ognian Trayanov, held a series of high-level meetings in Sofia in order to prepare and discuss the forthcoming Bulgarian Presidency of the Council of the EU.

    It has become a tradition for DIGITALEUROPE to closely engage with the institutions of the country that will hold the EU presidency and to highlight several strategic topics for the presidency. The purpose of DIGITALEUROPE's visit to Sofia was to present the Brussels-based association and outline the current policy challenges faced by the digital tech industry in Europe.
    Three high-level meetings were held, respectively with the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Rumen Radev, the Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Tomislav Donchev and the Chairman of the State Agency for Electronic Governance Mr. Rosen Zhelyazkov.
    All interlocutors stressed that « digitisation » is a high priority for the Bulgarian Presidency. They recalled that strong collaboration from all actors, private and public, is needed – including the consideration of Public-Private-Partnerships. Ideas and efforts to address the issues of connectivity, cybersecurity, e-Privacy and the digital skills gap were discussed.
    The President of the Republic of Bulgaria, Mr. Rumen Radev, stressed on the rapid development of the IT industry in Bulgaria, the national strenght in mathematics education and the ongoing reflexion to capitalise on mathematics education to reinforce computer and programming skills. When discussing the place of Europe on the global level, Mr. Radev stressed on the importance of the European Defense Fund and the common security policy, including cyber security, where Bulgarian SMEs have experience with European R&D projects. He also stressed on the importance of governments’ services interoperability and of the security of people’s data.

    The discussion with Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev focussed on connectivity. He recalled that Bulgaria is one of the leading countries in Europe in terms of connectivity coverage and speed of Internet - which is a good basis for the development of all digital services. Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl also outlined the industry’s views on the need for more balanced e-privacy and cybesrecurity legislations -with, on the one hand, the potential issues created by labelling and certification, and, on the other hand, the need to avoid overlaps between GDPR and ePrivacy. 
    The Chairman of the State Agency for Electronic Governance, Mr. Rossen Zhelyazkov, pointed out that during the Bulgaria will process and focus on "Cybersecurity" during the EU presidency. In March 2018, the agency will organize a major conference on cybersecurity in Sofia; and they have appointed a special cyber attaché at the Perm Rep in Brussels. DIGITALEUROPE’s policy manager for privacy and security, Iva Tasheva, is establishing contact with the attaché.
    In all meetings, Ms Cecilia Bonefeld-Dahl described DIGITALEUROPE and the key policy themes of the association. She also mentioned the association involvement in several key activities of the European Commission – such as the Grand Coalition for Digital Jobs and the Expert Group on Industry 4.0.

    The meetings were also attended by Lionel Sola, DIGITALEUROPE’s Director of Communications and Political Outreach, Yannis Syros, Director General of the Greek IT Association (SEPE), Stoyan Boev, Deputy Chairman of BAIT Board and member of the Executive Board of DIGITALEUROPE and Vesela Kalacheva, Executive Director of BAIT.
    In parallel with the high-level meetings, expert meetings were held at the Ministry of Education, the Ministry of Transport, Information Technology and Communications, the Ministry of Economy, the Ministry of the Bulgarian Presidency and the Commission for the Protection of Personal Data.
    We wish to thank our Bulgarian National Trade Association Member, BAIT, for the support in organising these meetings.


    See more photos below:


    For more information, contact:

    Lionel Sola
    Director of Communications and Political Outreach


    Darren Perera
    Communications and Design Executive

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