On Friday, April 28, 2023, the Ambassador of the Republic of Bulgaria, Elena Shekerletova, presented the certificate of appointment as Honorary Consul of Bulgaria for the Free State of Saxony to our Managing Director, Heiko Schmidt, during a solemn ceremony at the Club International in Leipzig. In January 2023, the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria recognized Mr. Schmidt's proven competence in developing economic relations between the two countries and decided to appoint him Honorary Consul. Members of parliament, state and local politicians, and business representatives accepted the invitation to the ceremony
During her speech, Ambassador Shekerletova highlighted the potential for economic and cultural cooperation between the Free State and Bulgaria. The Leipzig Book Fair is of great interest to Bulgarian publishers and should become even more important in the future. Furthermore, there are many Bulgarians who hold responsible and leading positions in Saxony and contribute greatly to the region.
Minister of State Thomas Schmidt conveyed the congratulations of the Saxon state government to the honorary consul and pointed out possibilities for the exchange of experiences in the energy transition in Bulgaria and in the Free State. Both countries are facing similar challenges due to the phase-out of lignite. The projects of cooperation between Saxon and Bulgarian universities and especially with the Stara Zagora region initiated by him in the last years are essential contributions.
After the Bulgarian Minister of Culture, Neiden Todorov, conducted the Sofia Philharmonic Orchestra at its guest concert in Berlin on Dec. 12, he now visited Germany again, this time on the occasion of the Leipzig Book Fair. Minister of Culture Todorov inspired the audience with a rousing speech, in which he especially referred to the close Bulgarian-German cultural relations and their potentials. In addition, he took the opportunity to exchange views with the new Honorary Consul and other prominent guests from business, leading associations and politics during the event.
The German-Bulgarian Forum, in which Heiko Schmidt holds the deputy chairmanship, was represented by three board members and members. The chairman, Ambassador (ret.) Dr. Volker Berresheim, addressed the perception that Bulgaria enjoys in Germany. The exchange of goods between the two countries now amounts to 12 billion euros, yet Bulgaria is still an insider's tip in the business world. Companies, such as INNO-CON, led by Heiko Schmidt, and also associations are of great importance here.
The member of the Bundestag Bernhard Herrmann, chairman of the parliamentary group Bulgaria-Moldova-Romania, described his experiences and adventures with the Balkan country Bulgaria and announced that the parliamentary group wants to get own impressions on site next year.
The festive part was accompanied by Temi Raphaelova (soprano) and Igor Gryshin (piano). The soprano performed two Bulgarian folk songs arranged by Pantscho Vladigerov and Pentscho Slavejkov, and at the end of her performance a song set to music by Clara Schumann.
The official part was followed by the opportunity to exchange ideas among the guests over Bulgarian food as well as Bulgarian wine from Weine & Events.