Best2Be Presentation

The Belgo-Bulgarian association is a registered not-for-profit organisation. Its aim is to contribute to the further development of the relations between both countries, taking advantage of the extensive Bulgarian-Bulgarian network previously developed by the Best2B founding members.

From the beginning, economic, social and cultural objectives have been equally important. An illustration of the humanitarian concern of Best2B was the invitation, to celebrate the first public social event of Best2B in 2002, of 250 disabled persons to attend the football match Belgium-Bulgaria in the King Beaudoin Stadium counting for the European championship. This activity was organised in collaboration with the Belgian Football Association and the Flemish Association of Disabled Persons. This latter association (whose president is one of the founding members of Best2B) is very active in Bulgaria and works closely with the National Centre for Rehabilitation. Best2B is also supporting humanitarian ngo’s in the region of Stara Zagora.

Other socio-cultural activities, without being exhaustive, include the participation in the two-yearly Europalia exhibition (one of the most prominent cultural events in Belgium) when it was devoted to Bulgarian culture in 2002. A highlight was the organisation of a concert in Bulgaria Hall with the Symphonic Orchestra by Belgian pianist Philippe Raskin in the presence of Madame Parvanova in 2007.

Best2B took an active part in the organisation of the Belgian Food Festivals initiated by former Belgian ambassador Philippe Beke, yearly organised in the Hilton hotel in Sofia. In two recent editions of the festival Best2B offered to arrange respectively for the participation of celebrity chief Frank Fol and a team of the hotel school of the city of Aarschot. Founding member Wim Schamp’s fairytales have been translated into Bulgarian and have been published and distributed widely, among others by retail giant Makro-Bulgaria. At this very moment Best2B is preparing the Bulgarian edition of the fiction book on Hitler by the same author.

Best2B participates in Belgium in activities promoting Bulgarian interests in Belgium by intervening in activities by Chambers of Commerce and other organisations, by initiating activities such as a Bulgarian Week (in the presence of former ambassador (Emile Valev), and Bulgarian wine tasting (in the presence of ambassador Christo Georgiev). Jacques Vilrokx is a regular guest at official and social events at the Bulgarian Embassy and the ambassador’s residence. He represents Best2B at occasions such as the celebration in the Senate of the Belgian Federal Parliament of 130 years of diplomatic bi-lateral relations and, recently, when the Flemish Parliament organised for the first time a bi-lateral cultural event with a foreign country, i.c. Bulgaria.

Another major cultural activity was organised in the Belgian Federal Parliament in 2008 by Best2B (with the collaboration of Bulgarian ambassador Christo Georgiev and the Belgo-Bulgarian Committee of the Belgian Parliament) at the occasion of the English publications of тне Bulgarian novelist Krassimir Krastev. This presentation was attended by Bulgarian, Belgian and European authorities.

Before and after the formal establishment of Best2B numerous interventions on the policy level have been carried out. As said before, many expert seminars and meetings have taken place over the years. The very latest was in November-December 2009 when a delegation of the National Institute for Conciliation and Arbitration (headed by Kiril Alexandrov) of the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy had meetings in Brussels with officials of the Ministry of Employment, Work and Collective Relations, the president of the National Labour Council, the Federation of Enterprises in Belgium and the General Christian Trade Union Federation.

Finally, worth mentioning are some of the other initiatives such as the presentation to Bulgarian president Parvanov of a Best2B commissioned FDI analysis by PriceWaterhouseCoopers, the presentation by Belgian pension scheme experts of the so-called Silver Fund to experts of the Bulgarian Ministry of Labour and Social Welfare and the visit of the Public Waste Agency of Flanders to Stara Zagora waste management authorities.

An extremely important project now being explored is the creation of a new Belgo-Bulgarian multimedia news agency aiming at a more targeted exchange of useful information on and between Bulgaria and Belgium within the wider context of the functioning of the European Union.

Best2B-Belgium has been supportive in the many activities and realisations of Best2B-Bulgaria. It is very important to stress that the above and many other not-mentioned activities in Bulgaria and Belgium had also the active support of the Bulgarian ambassadors to the Kingdom of Belgium Emile Valev and Christo Georgiev and Belgian ambassadors to the Republic of Bulgaria Edmond De Wilde, Philippe Beke and Marc Michielsen.