First Bulgarian-Greek cross-border meeting between the National Statistical offices of Bulgaria and Greece

A cross-border meeting between representatives of the National Statistical Institute of the Republic of Bulgaria (NSI) and the State Statistical Office of Greece (ELSTAT) was held for the first time during the period 22-23 April 2019. The first day of the meeting was held in the town of Kardjali and the second day - in Xanthi. The meeting was attended by the Presidents of the Statistical offices of Bulgaria and Greece - Mr. Sergey Tsvetarski and Mr. Atanasios Tanopoulos. Mr. Apostolos Kasapis, Director of the President’s Office of Greece, Mrs. Vasiliki Benaki - Kiprioti, acting Director General responsible for statistical surveys at ELSTAT, representatives from the Head offices of Bulgaria and Greece, as well as from the Regional Statistical Offices were among the other participants.

The National Statistical Institute hosted the first day of the meeting. At the opening, the President of the NSI Mr. Sergey Tsvetarski stressed that this is only the beginning of the cooperation between both institutions that are part of the European Statistical System. Mr. Atanasios Tanopoulos, President of ELSTAT expressed his support for the development of the Bulgarian-Greek relations in the field of statistics, both at central and regional level.

The participants were acquainted with the National Statistical System of Bulgaria as well as with the activities of the Regional Statistical Office – Yug. The legal framework, structure, challenges and problems of RSO - Yug were among the topics presented to Greek colleagues, which allowed guests to get acquainted with NSI activity at regional level.  

ELSTAT hosted the meeting on the second day as the Bulgarian guests were acquainted with the National Statistical System of Greece, the objectives of the National Statistical Programme for the period 2020 - 2022 as well as the comparative statistical data on trade and on tourism between both countries and the preparation of the Agricultural Census in 2020. The discussions related to the work of the Regional Statistical Offices in both countries, their problems and the solutions offered by each of the two institutions continued.

The meeting ended with very fruitful discussion on the future development of the bilateral relations between the NSI and ELSTAT. A decision to sign a Memorandum of bilateral cooperation in the field of statistics as well as Activity Plan to it was taken. Both parties proposed topics to be included in future documents – joint work on indicators for sustainable development of the United Nations, development of comparative statistical data for both countries, improvement of regional statistics, training of young specialists from Bulgaria and Greece and others.

Mr. Sergey Tsvetarski and Mr. Atanasios Tanopoulos confirmed their intention to deepen the cooperation between the NSI and ELSTAT and have made a commitment to regular bilateral meetings in the future. They appreciated the first cross-border meeting, which passed in a very warm atmosphere of understanding and good neighborliness.