Regional Planning: European Local Development Tools

For the purposes of the project "Regional planning. European tools for local development", carried out by the European Institute , the Centre for Policy Modernisation developed a Virtual centre for information and consultation (VCC) of the municipalities.

The overall objective was to enhance the knowledge and qualifications of the representatives of the local self-government and the municipal administration on the Euro integration processes, the negotiations process, the programming and utilisation of the pre-accession financial instruments and, through this knowledge, to achieve regional planning in compliance with the rules of the EU and preparation of the country and its regions for the Structural Funds following Bulgaria’s full membership of the EU.

The focus of this project falls on the accumulating and sustaining of knowledge and skills about the regional policies that will stimulate the local socio-economic development through the use of European practices for planning and management of the regional development.

The VCC supports the achievement of this objective with the creation of means for training of the municipal administration and the local self-government bodies in the drafting of projects, financed under the EU programs and building skills for the future distribution of the EU structural funds. The principles and practices of the municipal policy for sustainable and balanced development as a necessary first step of the process of programming the regional development will be presented through a set of information materials, a cycle of preparatory seminars and the establishment of a virtual consultative centre for support to the development of the municipalities. The training encompassed representatives of 35 municipalities:

  • Gotse Delchev, Hadzhidimovo, Satovcha, Garmen, Razlog, Bansko
  • Lovech, Troyan, Apriltsi, Teteven, Lukovit, Letnitsa, Ugarchin, Yablanitsa
  • Montana, Lom, Berkovitsa, Valchedrum, Varshets.
  • Shoumen, Novi Pazar, Kaspichen, Venets, Veliki Preslav.
  • Yambol, Bolyarovo, Elhovo, Tundzha, Straldzha.
  • Razgrad, Zavet, Kubrat, Samuil, Loznitsa, Tsar Kaloyan

Each of the municipalities developed a profile, as a basis for future planning. The profile took into account the social and economic impact of the projects included in the plan for development, as well as the opportunities for additional funding from the pre-accession funds, and after the full EU membership from the Structural funds.

The project envisaged the active involvement of the trainees in the preparation and presentation of the municipalities’ profiles, the updates municipal strategies, the drafting of plans for the implementation of those strategies and projects, implementing the plans through the utilization of the opportunities and the virtual communication. The establishment of municipal working groups and the consultative process on the updating of the municipal strategies for development, following the model used in the designing of program documents for participation in the structural funds of the EU will make a significant contribution to the administrative capacity building at the local level. The training in the project cycle management, including monitoring and control of projects, co-financed by EU money, builds capacity for the utilization of the PHARE program funds (socio-economic integration and cross-border cooperation), ISPA and SAPARD programs in the municipal administrations and the local self-government bodies in the pre-accession period and of the Structural funds after the full membership.

Funded by: Open Society Foundation – Sofia – “Local Self-Government Reform” program: “Pre-accession and Structural European Funds – awareness of the utilisation mechanisms” 

Duration: December 01 2002 – June 30 2003