Informal Meeting of Ministers Responsible for Competitiveness 01-02 February: Media Advisory


The informal meeting of ministers responsible for competitiveness will take place over two days on 1-2 February 2018 in Sofia. On 1 February, ministers responsible for industry will discuss the future of European industrial policy and address issues including the digitalisation of the economy and Europe’s competitive advantage. Ministers responsible for research will meet on 2 February and discuss the future of research and innovation in Europe.


1 February 2018 | Thursday

Informal meeting of ministers responsible for industry, chaired by Minister of Economy Emil Karanikolov

09:00-09:30   Arrivals at the National Palace of Culture and doorstep statements

09:45-11:15   Plenary session: Future of the European industrial policy

Ministers will discuss the future of European industrial policy. They will examine the key factors that will shape the industry until 2030 at a global and European level, and deliberate what should be the overall objectives and key priorities for the new industrial strategy in order to ensure that the European industry will be competitive in today's environment. The Bulgarian Presidency will work towards developing a clear long-term vision for the European industry until 2030 and beyond, which will lead to more innovation in manufacturing, digitalisation of industry, job creation, improved access to finance for enterprises, and the introduction of sustainable technologies.

11:15             Family photo

11:45-13:30   Break-out sessions

Session A: New trends for industrial development – digitalisation of industry and the human dimension in the process of economic development

Participants in the first workshop will discuss Europe’s existing competitive advantages, including infrastructure, technological knowledge and other characteristics compared to other major trading partners. They will examine how these advantages can best be developed and strengthened to ensure the future competitive advantages of the European industry in an increasingly competitive global environment.

Session B: Value chains and development of competitive advantages for the European economy

The second workshop is devoted to the digital transformation of the industry. It will outline the European priorities in the process of transition to the digitalisation of the industry and specific objectives to be addressed in the future industrial strategy for the development of digital skills and the promotion of digital entrepreneurship.

13:45-15:15   Working Lunch: Energy intensive industries between opportunities and challenges. Digitalisation and climate change

The working lunch will address the challenges and opportunities facing energy-intensive industries as well as digitalisation and climate change. The aim is to give special attention to energy-intensive industries in the overall discussion on a future, comprehensive and long-term industrial policy as they are an important part of the EU's industrial base.

15:30-16:00   Press conference

2 February 2018 | Friday

Informal meeting of ministers responsible for research, chaired by Minister of Education and Science Krasimir Valchev

08:30-9:00     Arrivals at the National Palace of Culture and doorstep statements

9:30-10:10     Plenary session I: Acceleration of knowledge transfer and impact of research and innovation

10:10             Family photo

11:00-12:30   Break-out sessions

Session A: The future of R&I in Europe: boosting innovation

A common approach will be sought on key EU research and innovation issues such as support at national and regional level for cutting-edge innovation and their wider use - priorities that the EU and the Member States should commit to by supporting entrepreneurial and innovation culture and by strengthening the innovation ecosystem. The discussion will contribute to the design of a functioning European Innovation Council.

Session B: The future of R&I in Europe: investing in human capital

Discussions on investing in human capital in science will focus on implementing a systemic approach for researchers to acquire new skills for linking science and industry. Delegates will discuss opportunities to increase the attractiveness of scientific careers and achieve more optimal mobility of researchers through the European Framework for Career Development of Scientists. This dialogue will contribute to the formation of a European vision for investment in human capital in the next EU 9th Framework Program for Research and Innovation and the next generation of EU financial instruments such as Erasmus+, the European Social Fund and the European Regional Development Fund.

12:30-13:30   Plenary session II: Summary and main conclusions

15:00-15:30   Press conference


The informal meeting of ministers responsible for industry will take place on 1 February 2018. The meeting will be attended by Ministers and representatives from all the Member States of the European Union, as well as Switzerland and Norway, the European Economic and Social Committee, the European Committee of the Regions and business representatives. The European Commission will be represented by Elżbieta Bieńkowska, Commissioner for the Internal Market, Industry, Entrepreneurship and SMEs.

Accreditation information

Accredited journalists can pick up their badges on the day prior to the event at the Registration Desk at Entrance B-2 of the National Palace of Culture between 9 a.m. and 7 p.m.  Members of the press arriving in Sofia on the day of the event will be able to get their badges at the same entrance upon their arrival at the National Palace of Culture.  Only accredited members of the press will have access to the National Palace of Culture.

Photos and videos

All media opportunities during the event (doorstep statements, handshake, roundtable, press conference) will be streamed live on the Website of the Bulgarian Presidency. Throughout the day, photos and videos will be uploaded in the Photo and Video sections of the Website. All official photos from the event are also available for download in high resolution on the Flickr account of the Bulgarian Presidency. Videos can be downloaded from Vimeo.

Press contacts

In Sofia: Veselin Jelev, [email protected], +359 883 990 247

In Brussels: Elitsa Zlateva, [email protected], +32 476 996 634

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