The capital of Bulgaria - Sofia, as a city and a municipality: challenges, opportunities and policies for future development

Galabinova, Yuliyana (2009) The capital of Bulgaria - Sofia, as a city and a municipality: challenges, opportunities and policies for future development. In: State and Administration in a Changing World : 17th NISPAcee Annual Conference, 14-16 May 2009, Budva, Montenegro. (Submitted)

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As a capital and a municipality Sofia is an administrative and territorial unit with status of district (oblast). Its management is a mixture of the self-government of the citizens and the implementation of the state policy for the development of the capital. The territory of the municipality includes the areas of 3 towns and 34 villages, and 24 administrative and territorial districts (rayoni) and 34 mayor-led councils.
The paper deals with the priorities (which are at the same time challenges both for the municipal and state authorities) of Sofia as a capital and a municipality for the last 5 years. They are as follows:
- Order, security, the fight against corruption and bureaucracy,
- Providing conditions for the construction of housing at reasonable prices,
- Cleanliness and reconstruction of the transport network,
- Solution to the water problem in the capital,
- Education, health care and social care.
These priorities have been launched into operation and certain results have already been achieved. The problems, however, are too many to be handled within a short period of time, the most difficult being cleanliness of the capital and transport network.
Now, in 2008, Sofia has 1.5 million inhabitants and faces grave transport problems because there are more than 800 000 automobiles in the capital. In the first years of democratic changes, Sofia municipality did not manage to maintain its public transport properly. The rolling stock was old and uncomfortable, the vehicles ran at very long intervals. These inconveniences repelled many passengers in the early 1990s. In addition, most routes of public transport have not been changed for many years and do not correspond to the growth of individual parts of the city. But the biggest problem of all is that public transport is at the mercy of traffic jams. There are very few bus lanes and isolated tram tracks. And if there are any, they are often blocked by undisciplined drivers. This causes vehicles to run behind schedule at rush hours and makes public transport even less reliable and less attractive. Hence, more and more people prefer to drive their own automobiles, which makes traffic even more unmanageable.
By law, Sofia municipality is in charge of solving the city’s refuse problem. For three years already, baled refuse has been waiting on the temporary refuse holding-platforms in 2 villages near by the capital. There are about 500 000 tons of bales that are starting to disintegrate, being broken down by time and weather, with grasses and other plants growing from them. The bales had an expiry date of three years date set on them by the Bulgarian Ministry of Environment and Water Affairs. The European Union also has set a deadline (September 1, 2008) for Sofia municipality to solve its refuse problems, by moving and making safe the baled refuse. Despite this, neither city nor state authorities have yet found a new location for the rubbish.
The paper reveals not only the problems of the capital Sofia, but also presents the opportunities and the policies of municipal and state authorities for future development. The last is based on:
- Renewed cohesion policy for 2007-2013, according to which big cities will play a key role since they are crucial in shaping the European economy,
- Country reports and strategies,
- Sofia municipal plan,
- Interviews of officials for their vision of the ways in which Sofia could be transferred into a city in very good shape, wisely using its potential and resources, and a capital and municipality for all, for current and further generations.

Item Type:Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Subjects:Public administration > Public administration
ID Code:305
Deposited By: Yuliyana Galabinova
Deposited On:09 Sep 2009 09:34
Last Modified:05 Feb 2016 14:45

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