site.btaUPDATED Kazanlak Hosts BTA's "Europe in the Balkans" Conference

 Kazanlak Hosts BTA's "Europe in the Balkans" Conference
 Kazanlak Hosts BTA's "Europe in the Balkans" Conference
Kazanlak Mayor Galina Stoyanova (left) and panel moderator Ralitsa Stefanova at Thursday's conference, Kazanlak, Southern Bulgaria, Feb. 22, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Another edition of BTA's series of conferences on "Europe in the Balkans: A Common Future" took place at the BTA National Press Club in Kazanlak on Thursday. The participants discussed the impact of EU-funded projects in the Kazanlak area in 2014-2020 and new developments for the 2021-2027 period.

Regional Governor Iva Radeva welcomed the initiative of BTA, which “aims to explain in an accessible language the funds of the European Union, the source of those funds, what they are used for and what their ultimate goal is.” She emphasized that Bulgaria is a net recipient in the EU and that cohesion policy aims to bring the regions closer together, with Bulgaria being one of the biggest beneficiaries. Radeva reported that funds to the amount of BGN 1.6 billion have been allocated to Stara Zagora Region. The funds aim for a smooth energy green transition and to ensure that the standard of living in the Stara Zagora region is maintained and even improved," added the regional governor.

Radka Tileva, manager of the Regional Information Center (RIC), said that in the municipality of Kazanlak, the enterprises are working very well under the EU-funded Operational Programme Innovations and Competitiveness. The companies from the municipality are leaders in the field, as 452 contracts worth over 100 million BGN have been concluded. In her words, four contracts for a little over BGN 2 million have already been concluded in the municipality for the 2021-2027 programming period under Operational Programme Human Resources Development.

Kazanlak Mayor Galina Stoyanova thanked BTA for promoting all the opportunities to apply for programmes during the new programming period. She said that the application period has been delayed by nearly three years and that the municipality has worked on preparing new projects in this period. Stoyanova presented one of the large-scale projects that Kazanlak Municipality is working on, namely the "World of the Thracians". The project is financed under Operational Programme Regions in Growth 2014-2020. It includes the conservation, restoration and socialization of the Thracian tomb mound Ostrusha, the construction of a bicycle lane between the towns of Kren and Shipka, and the construction of The World of the Thracians tourist complex, which is expected to be unveiled in early April 2024.

Veselina Dimitrova, senior expert at Kazanlak Municipality's Department of Education and Strategic Planning, stated that during the new programming period, the municipality has submitted 16 project proposals with a total value of over BGN 30 million. She also emphasized that Kazanlak Municipality is a leading partner in the Concept for Sustainable Socio-economic Growth through Improved Investment Environment and Preserved Identity of the Region. The Concept envisages three projects: the development of the Kazanlak Industrial Zone, the development of the tourist potential of the Koprinka Reservoir and the preservation and adaptation of the Buzludzha Monument. Dimitrova said that Kazanlak Municipality is partnering with the municipality of Pavel Banya on a project to purchase electric buses for the needs of both municipalities. 

The project "Europe in the Balkans: A Common Future" is implemented by BTA with support from the European Commission. It builds on a past project, "Europe in Bulgaria: A Common Future", and aims to foster a better understanding of the role of the cohesion policy in the Balkans; to raise awareness of projects funded by the EU through the Cohesion Funds; promote dialogue on the results of the projects at local level and boost civic participation in issues related to cohesion policy.

So far conferences have been held in Ruse, Razgrad, Veliko Tarnovo, Silistra, Gabrovo, Burgas, Sliven, Yambol, Haskovo and Stara Zagora, and cross-border conferences in Bucharest and Edirne. Until August, discussions will be held in the BTA press clubs across Bulgaria as well as in Belgrade, Bosilegrad, Skopje and Thessaloniki.

The "Europe in the Balkans: A Common Future" project is funded with EUR 348,871. To achieve the project's aims, BTA is using a media mix and expects to reach out to between 700,000 and 1 million people in Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, North Macedonia, Greece and Turkiye. 

/NF, DS/

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By 06:31 on 19.07.2024 Today`s news

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