Exhibition and Conference for SE Europe Environment Section – Waste Management and Recycling, Air 7-9 April 2020, IEC, Sofia

Interview with Ms Ulrike Straka, Head of Advantage Austria Sofia on the occasion of the Austrian Pavilion that will be organized for the 10th consecutive time within the upcoming 15th South-East European exhibitions on Renewable energy & Energy Efficiency




1) Throughout the years Austria is the largest investor in Bulgaria. With what our country attracts Austrian entrepreneurs, as we kindly ask you to focus on the sectors of energy efficiency, green energy, waste management?

  • Good green energy conditions (a lot of sun, wind on the Black sea coast, rivers for water energy).
  • In the past years good feed-in tariffs.
  • Need for investment in the waste sector, as Bulgaria has to meet EU law.
  • The Austrian industry in these sectors is very advanced thanks to strict environmental laws that Austria introduced early on.


2) Please present us the main features that distinguish the Austrian production of green and energy-efficient technologies from these of the other EU countries.

  • Austria produces 60% of its energy with water, which makes it Europe`s Nr. 1 in the water energy sector.
  • In 2012 a new green energy investment law was introduced, which helped boost the green energy even more.
  • Until 2020 Austria wants to produce 85% of its energy from renewable resources – a leading position in Europe.
  • Because of very strict environmental laws, the Austrian products in green technologies are with very high quality.
  • The sector is dominated by small- and medium sized companies that have specialized in niche markets.
  • Very high rate of research and development in the green technologies sector.
  • Austrian companies are strongly oriented towards customization and tailor-made solutions.


3) According to your opinion, what are the most important regulatory issues that would make Bulgaria a more attractive place for the Austrian investments in the sectors of ecology & bioenergy?

  • Predictable law making and political situation.
  • Compliance with European standards for implementation of projects (quality vs price)
  • Austrian investors - like any investors - want previsible economic policies and the rule of law. This means regulations should be introduced according to mid and long-term planning, the rules should apply equally to everyone, and public procurement should be more transparent. Austrian investors have also rated the appreciation of quality among the things that they would like to see in Bulgaria: Only if decisionmakers understand that quality roads and water pipes will in the long run be less costly than cheap ones, is there a place for Austrian companies on the market.


4) 2018 is over – please let us know with what this year was better and more distinctive for the activities of Advantage Austria Sofia

  • First press conference presenting the Austrian investors survey.
  • Austrian President visited Bulgaria in May and ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA organized a business event with Austrian and Bulgarian presidents
  • Strong Bulgarian participation in our Austrian Showcase for traffic infrastructure
  • ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA launched its first three Webinars (online events for viewers directly from Austria)
  • ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA supported over 700 Austrian companies in 2018 for their activities in Bulgaria and serviced 600 Bulgarian companies
  • Record Bulgarian participation at Future of Building Congress in Vienna which includes energy efficiency and renewable technology.
  • Austria and Bulgaria had leading roles this year within the EU as the two held the presidency of the European council. That gave both countries and the events of ADVANTAGE AUSTRIA more visibility.
     
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