ARTICLES 
Profitable Enterprises Key Need for Bulgaria's Northwest Region
www.novinite.com, 19th October 2005

A SWOT analysis of Bulgaria's Northwest Planning Region singles out the absence of profitable enterprises and foreign investments, as well as heavy intraregional differences among the key needs for the region.
The evaluation of the factors affecting the region was carried out in the framework of the draft plan for the region's development for 2007-2013. It was presented at public debate in the Danube town of Vidin on European initiatives for incentives in the food industry and ways to boost administrative capacity for efficient absorption of EU funds. The event was the last part of a series of similar debates on regional development. Organised by the Delegation of the European Commission to Bulgaria, they aimed to disseminate useful information about the consequences of Bulgaria's accession to the European Union.
The SWOT analysis lists strategic location, ferries and ports of international importance, as well as the successful development of food and energy sectors among the top strengths of the Northwest Planning Region.

The most promising opportunities for its future are higher employment rate through the establishment of SMEs, special economic zones and clusters, improvement of transport infrastructure and communications.

A total of EUR 2,3 B out of all EUR 4,6 B of Bulgaria's financial framework 2007-2009 has been allotted to be released under the Structural funds of the European Union after Bulgaria's scheduled accession in 2007. That was announced by experts during the thematic panels that were held in the framework of the debate.
Six Bulgarian ministries are currently preparing that many operative programs to set the priorities, measures and types of projects that will be financed in the separate fields. They include a number of elements, including a snapshot of the current situation in the respective filed, a SWOT analysis, selection of priorities and the compatibility criteria.

The development of a dynamic and competitive economy is the goal of the operative program, which is being developed by the Economy Ministry. The priorities of the program cover support for innovative solutions, increasing output at micro, small and medium sized enterprises (SMEs), facilitating access to funding, developing favourable business climate, strengthening international market positions.

The operative programs only reflect proposals from the Bulgarian side and are yet to be negotiated with the European Commission.

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