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The Buzz in Bulgaria: Interview with Irena Georgieva of PPG Lawyers

The Buzz in Bulgaria: Interview with Irena Georgieva of PPG Lawyers

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Recent cyber-attacks, the emergence of AI services, and a new Ministry of e-Government are among the widely discussed issues in Bulgaria, according to PPG Lawyers Managing Partner Irena Georgieva.

"The war in Ukraine had implications for Bulgaria and led to some data protection and cybersecurity issues," Georgieva explains. "Offline conflicts have invaded the online world very quickly. Recently, we witnessed cyber-attacks from Russia, China, and North Korea." According to her, the effect will be even more visible once the war is over. "Considering globalization, a set of issues, such as information security and the safety of online transactions, will be difficult to ensure."

"We have a new parliament elected not long ago," Georgieva adds, noting that the parliament has established a new Ministry of e-Government. "This update raises hopes that the new ministry administration will take positive steps with regards to cybersecurity and facilitate procedures related to state institutions as well," she says.

"Another interesting area is the emergence of artificial intelligence services in Bulgaria. However, it is not always possible to implement reforms without taking into account the risk of ransomware gangs," Georgieva notes. According to her, this process should not be hasty and all legal requirements and obligations regarding privacy should be considered at the design level. "Also, businesses should focus not only on complying with purely legal requirements but on the moral aspects of using AI as well," she adds.

According to Georgieva, the recent cyber-attacks have had an impact on the private sector as well. "C-suites in Bulgaria need to adjust to these new perspectives and finally take information security very seriously, not only from a technical but also from a legal perspective," she points out. "New data protection regulations are yet to come into force. Bulgaria and other member states should center on the EU directives and regulations and implement them into national legislation as well."

Georgieva highlights that the war has made it evident that many legal regulations related to public procurement, data protection, and competition do not work efficiently during extreme situations. "We need to find a way to fine-tune these very complicated regulations in order to preserve the EU principles, which has proved to be quite challenging during the past few weeks," she says. "It would be useful if the EU member states cooperated and came up with solutions for this unusual status quo as, otherwise, the law will become an obstacle rather than an instrument for fair and timely decisions."

"In addition, similarly to other EU states, high inflation rates seem to have a lasting effect in Bulgaria, even after the war's end," she adds. "Due to it, the business sector does not feel secure. At the moment, inflation primarily affects food and essential commodity prices, but it will also harm other business sectors quite soon," Georgieva concludes.