The international conference “The Black Sea Regional Dimension of the Belt and Road Initiative” was held in Sofia on September 18, 2017, organized by the Diplomatic Institute to the Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria in cooperation with the 16+1 Think Tanks Networks of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The event was held under the patronage of the Prime Minister of the Republic of Bulgaria – Mr. Boyko Borissov.

Тhe Chairman of the Council on Economic and Diplomatic Relations and owner of Terraland Group, Mr. Zheng Zhong, delivered a speech in which he emphasized the cultural relations between China and Bulgaria and called for more integration of the Chinese history, culture, traditions and values in Bulgaria.

He also highlighted the upsurge of Bulgarian history, the tolerance of the Bulgarian people and the potential of Bulgaria as part of the Black Sea region in the “One Belt, One Road” and “16+1” initiatives.

At the official opening of the conference, in support of the event, speeches were delivered by the Director of the Bulgarian Diplomatic InstituteMrs. Tanya Mihaylova, the Deputy Minister of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs – Mr. Georg Georgiev, the Ambassador of the People’s Republic of China in Bulgaria – HE. Mr. Zhang Haizhou, Dr. Solomon Passy – Minister of Foreign Affairs (2001-2005) and prof. Liu Zuokui –​ Director of the Secretariat of the 16+1 Think Tanks Networks of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences.

The Bulgarian Foreign Minister stressed that Bulgaria is one of the first EU countries to sign a Memorandum of Understanding with the China to jointly promote the “One Belt, One Road” initiative in November 2015 during the Fifth Summit of China and Central and Eastern European Countries in Suzhou.

Mrs. Mihaylova explained that the Diplomatic Institute is conducting the conference aimed at popularizing the New Silk Road, which is still not well known in Bulgaria as well as the benefits that Bulgaria can gain by actively participating in the “One Belt, One Road” initiative and the opportunities the country can receive from its investment, infrastructure and cultural-civilization potential.

Participants in various panels at the conference were also:

  • Valentin Katrandjiev – Principal Expert, Diplomatic Institute;
  • Stiliyan Rakovsky – Junior Expert, Diplomatic Institute;
  • Irina Beleva – Founder, Bulgarian-Chinese Association for Business Development, General Consul of Bulgaria in Shanghai (2011-2015);
  • Long Jing – Deputy Director, Center for European Studies to the Shanghai Institute for International Studies;
  • Tian Dewen – Director, Department for European Social Studies, Cultural Research, Institute for European Studies at the UNECE, as well as experts from Bulgaria, Iran, Romania, Azerbaijan and others.

Official guests of the event were representatives from more than 30 diplomatic missions in Bulgaria, Bulgarian-Chinese associations, the Ministry of Culture, the Ministry of Agriculture and Food, the Bulgarian Industrial Capital Association, the Bulgarian Investment Agency and etc.

The conference was reported by Bulgarian and Chinese medias.

In an official address, Mrs. Mihaylova thanked the Council on Economic and Diplomatic Relations, Specialized Business Systems Plc. and the Embassy of the People’s Republic of China for their financial support.