Elena Stoimenova – member of the Commission on Unfair Competition: The most important thing this year was the retification of the contract for Bulgaria’a accession to EU

At the end of the year what are the most important events in your area, which you would like to highlight?

The most important thing this year, not only for me, but for all Bulgarian people, was the ratification of the contract for Bulgaria’s accession to European Union, which means that there are no more obstacles before our country to become an equal member of United Europe.

The last amendments in the Law of competition (July 1, 2006), have given new authorities for the Commission for protection of competition in the field of public orders and concessions. This act once again proved the high level of the Commission’s work and its prestige among society.

The most valuable event for us during this year was Day of Competition, which took place for the very first time in Bulgaria. Leaders of European competitions offices, representatives of Bulgarian government, former members of the Commission, experts from the European Commission took part in the conference. In 2006 we also celebrated the 15th anniversary from the establishment of the Commission.

What are your expectations about Bulgaria’s first year in EU? Which are the main problems in your field that have to be overcome during next year? Are we ready to face the new challenges?

Elena Stoimenova: I have very positive expectations. The first year of the membership in EU was also difficult for the other newly admitted countries. The economic subjects in Bulgaria must handle with the competitive pressure of European enterprises and with the expectations of some price increases in the first months. The budget will face challenges of upcoming payments for our membership in EU. But, on the other side, the forecasts on macroeconomic level are for a high GDP growth, financial stability and low level of in employment.

One of the important challenges in the area of protection of competition is our participation in the European Competition Network (ECN), which requires everyday exchange of information with the European offices of competition concerning the pending cases. I also have to mention the participation of our experts in some big European cases in the so-called “Case Review Committee”. It deals with issues of concentration, cartel agreement, and abuse of dominant position.

I do believe that the Commission for protection of competition has administrative capacity, long lasting experience, desire, and energy to work; and that it will cope with all forthcoming challenges.

What is your wish to our readers?

I wish them health and good luck during the New Year.