On December 20, 2022, the second edition of Powers Summit, jointly organized by Webit and Digital National Coalition, took place in Sofia Tech Park.

The forum was opened by Aniela Ruseva, Vice President, Webit Foundation, Gergana Passy, President, Digital National Coalition and Dr. Plamen Rusev, Executive Chair, Webit Foundation.

The main discussion sessions were in the areas of Healthcare, Energy, Sustainable Development, Finance and Entrepreneurship. The collective intelligence of Bulgaria gathered in the face of the government, business leaders, science and the civil sector with the aim of creating sustainable solutions for the future of the country.

The industry, which is part of the Powers Summit platform, is the generator of over 80% of the revenues in the state budget from taxes and is represented by all employer organizations, over 100 branch organizations and business unions in Bulgaria. For more than a month, the industry discussed and united around a total of 19 urgent priorities, which they put before the legislative and executive authorities in each of the five topics of the forum.

In a separate session after each topic within the forum, representatives of the political parties took the stage to state the opinions of the party forces, which represent the concrete commitments for political decisions on the announced priorities within the next 6-12 months. The format of the Powers Summit does not suggest that politicians speak to each other or against each other, but only state the position of their party headquarters and whether they will support a policy decision on each of the priorities in the relevant topic, starting their speech with the words “I heard you “.

Here are the priorities around which the business and industry united on the five topics and the representatives from the political power who heard them:

I. Priorities – Healthcare:

  1. Sustainable growth of the health budget aimed at improving capacity, accessibility and achieved health outcomes, which should be tied to specific economic indicators.
  2. Mandatory continuing medical education for Bulgarian medical specialists with a view to improving the quality of treatment, their skills and for our country to keep up with European trends and good practices.
  3. Improving the access of Bulgarian citizens to medical and pharmaceutical care – ensuring equal access to treatment and care, by improving and validating the National Health Card, the National Pharmacy Card, as well as an electronic protocol for drug therapy with a view to reducing regional disparities in the supply of medical and pharmaceutical care.
  4. Creating a working strategy to prevent and fight obesity.
  5. Disclosure of the spending of the sums under Article 53 of the Health Act and joint efforts with representatives of the scientific sector for a more targeted spending with a focus on adolescents.
  6. Fighting smoking in a modern and measurable way.

On the subject of health care, the following representatives of parliamentary parties were present in the hall: Prof. Kostadin Angelov from GERB, Assoc. Dr. Anton Tonev from “We Continue the Change” and Chairman of the Committee on Health Care in the Parliament, Iliyan Yonchev from BSP, Dr. Nigar Jafer from DPS and Kremena Kuneva from Coalition “Democratic Bulgaria-Unification” unanimously shared from the stage that they have heard, support and will work on each of the priorities in order to have a political solution in the next 6-12 months.

II. Priorities – Energy

  • More realism in policies and measures for decarbonisation and removal of administrative barriers to investment in new technologies.
  • A fair and stakeholder-agreed implementation mechanism for Regulation (EU) 2022/1854.
  • Guaranteeing the compensatory mechanism until the end of 2023 and, at the same time, preparing a market reform that would allow securing long-term energy contracts for Bulgarian consumers.

Asen Vasilev from “We Continue the Change”, Delyan Dobrev from GERB and Eng. Georgi Samandov from Bulgarian Rise spoke in support of each of the three priorities. On the topic of energy, there were no representatives of BSP, DPS, Coalition “Democratic Bulgaria-Unification” and the caretaker government to hear the industry, which generates 80% of tax revenues in the country.

III. Priorities – Recovery Plan

  1. Creating a unified approach and providing an environment for the construction of digital infrastructure by the state through other companies, telecommunications and others, awarding projects through the EUMIS system.
  2. Decision on financing the rehabilitation and modernization of the distribution network, adoption of the changes in the Law on Energy from Renewable Sources and in the Energy Law.
  3. Redirection of funds from unsustainable projects for the construction of electric energy storage batteries to the construction of RES with energy storage systems for own needs in enterprises, development of the electricity transmission and distribution networks, reformulation of the requirements for energy renovation of buildings in the sphere of production in view of their feasibility.

The representatives of the political parties who shared on the stage what they heard about the priorities were: Atanas Pekanov, Deputy Prime Minister for the management of European funds of the official government, Zhecho Stankov from GERB, Asen Vasilev from “We continue the change”, Dr. Hassan Ademov from DPS and Vladislav Panev from Coalition “Democratic Bulgaria-Unification”. BSP did not send a representative to hear the energy industry’s priorities.

  1. Prioritizing the topic of climate change, the role and transition to a green and circular economy
  2. Creating the necessary institutional infrastructure in the field of ESG in close partnership with stakeholders
  3. Building administrative and expert capacity in the field of ESG policies, etc.

The representatives of the political parties who shared on stage what they heard about the priorities were: Tomislav Donchev from GERB, Denitsa Simeonova from “We continue the change”, Alexander Nestorov from DPS, Atanas Pekanov, Deputy Prime Minister for European funds management of the caretaker government and Ilina Mutafchieva from the “Democratic Bulgaria-Unification” Coalition. BSP did not send a representative to hear the industry on the subject of “sustainable development”.

V. Priorities – Entrepreneurship

  1. General strategy of the state and the parties in the direction of startups, capital, talents, accelerators, incentives.
  2. Stimulating investments in Bulgaria – specific bills related to changes in the Investment Promotion Act.
  3. EU Blue Card to attract new skills and talents; good environment and ease of doing business.
  4. EU Blue Card to attract new skills and talents; good environment and ease of doing business.

The representatives of the political parties who shared on stage what they had heard and made commitments to find a political solution to the priorities were: Alexander Ivanov – GERB, Kiril Petkov – “We continue the change”, Taner Kabilov – DPS, Bozhidar Bojanov – Coalition “Democratic Bulgaria-Unification”. On the subject of “Entrepreneurship” there was no one from BSP and Bulgarian Rise who would listen to the industry and make commitments on behalf of their party headquarters!