site.btaMontana Hosts BTA's Europe in the Balkans Conference

Montana Hosts BTA's Europe in the Balkans Conference
Montana Hosts BTA's Europe in the Balkans Conference
Montana Regional Governor Ivaylo Antonov (right) with BTA Director General Kiril Valchev (centre) at the "Europe in the Balkans: A Common Future" conference in Montana, June 24, 2024 (BTA Photo)

Montana hosted a local conference under BTA's project "Europe in the Balkans: A Common Future" on Monday, which brought together representatives of central and local government, education institutions and the Regional Information Centre. The forum was held at BTA's National Press Club in the town, which was opened before the conference started. The participants discussed the results of projects backed by the EU cohesion funds in the 2014-2020 programming period and new aspects in the 2021-2027 programming period.

BTA Director General Kiril Valchev opened the conference by saying that all National Press Clubs of BTA joined the 19th World Meeting of the Bulgarian Media in Odesa, which represented an opportunity for regional journalists to get involved in nationwide events. "In the past three years, we have held similar events like today's together with the European Parliament (EP) and the European Commission (EC) on a variety of topics. With the European Parliament, we held discussions in all regional centres of Bulgaria, dedicated to the conference on the future of Europe", noted Valchev, adding that BTA also has a joint project with the EP aimed at training journalists. "With the European Commission, we had a project dedicated to European cohesion funds in Bulgaria", he pointed out. He also emphasized that BTA covered the results of the European elections with 27 correspondents from each EU member state.

Montana Regional Governor Ivaylo Antonov said that a procedure is underway to assess 17 project proposals for the implementation of a conceptual project for the construction of a tunnel under the Petrohan Pass. After the procedure, the project must be prepared within one year, he noted. "If everything goes well and as it should, I think that the construction of the tunnel can start in 2027," he added. According to him, the topic is of considerable importance for the region, and the successful implementation would be a positive step for the development of Montana region. Antonov also presented the Integrated territorial investments in Lom Municipality, where the municipalities of Lom, Dimovo and Oryahovo together will get funds worth about BGN 200 million for the purchase of electric buses, construction of streets and municipal parking lots.

Maya Dimitrova, Manager of the Regional Information Centre, presented data, according to which Montana region received over BGN 244 million for 723 contracts of 513 beneficiaries during the programming period 2014 - 2020.  By comparison, she stated that during the previous period 2007-2013, there had been 185 contracts, for a total amount of over BGN 128 million. Most of the funds for the period 2014 - 2020 were tapped under the Operational Programme Innovations and Competitiveness, with over BGN 111 million for a total of 497 contracts implemented by 402 beneficiaries. According to her, through such projects, the production capacity of the companies in the region was increased by introducing new high-tech equipment and innovative production processes. She said that on June 27 the General Directorate European Funds for Competitiveness at the Ministry of Innovation and Growth will organize an information campaign in Montana.

BTA's Europe in the Balkans project is supported by the European Commission. It aims to foster a better understanding of the role of 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.

/PP/

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By 17:00 on 22.07.2024 Today`s news

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