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Seminar "Corruption and Local Authorities" in Pazardjik
 
On April 19, 2001, the Association of Municipalities "Hebar" organized a seminar entitled "Corruption and Local Authorities" in collaboration with Coalition 2000 in the town of Pazardjik. Twenty mayors, representatives of district authorities and experts of non-governmental organizations took part in it. The lecturers Mr. Petkan Iliev, Associate Professor, University of National and World Economy and Dr Emil Tsenkov, Senior Fellow, Center for the Study of Democracy informed the audience about the activities of Coalition 2000 and about concrete research on corrupt practices in Bulgaria and in the region. In the followed discussion all the participants agreed that corruption was a very serious problem both on a regional and national level. There was consent concerning the ways to reduce the corrupt practices in the framework of district and municipal administration. The mayor of Velingrad described the initiatives in the municipality, directed towards more transparency, awareness of citizens and reduction of bureaucracy. Citizens receive strictly controlled and limited access to public institutions due to the fact that the reception office is based on the first floor and they have no contacts with the administration in the rest of the building. Mr. Kiril Aleksandrov, Deputy Governor of Pazardjik district highlighted the importance of introducing different rates to the proposed services. In that way the most frequently observed corrupt practice would be prevented, i.e. citizens would not be forced "to motivate" public officials to complete the service as quickly as possible. The participants outlined many " risk zones" - zones with higher risk of corruption. A conclusion was made that discussions on problems of corruption were of great importance to both sides: to "theoreticians"/lecturers of Coalition 2000/ and to "practitioners". In the future such seminars should have maximum practical and interactive characteristics - formulation of suggestions, decisions on concrete issues, etc.
 
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