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Round table: Innovative Approaches for Enhancing Local Development and Self Government of the Regions in Europe
On 30 June and 1 July 2005 the Center for the Study of Democracy, jointly with the Council of Europe, organized a round table on good practices and decentralization policies in Europe and prospects for their application for the local and regional development in Bulgaria. The President of the Chamber of the Regions of the Congress of Local and Regional Authorities of the Council of Europe, Mr. Yavuz Mildon, made the opening statement.

The participants outlined the major problems in front of the Bulgarian system for local self-government:
  • mismatch between the rights, responsibilities and resources of the municipalities, and

  • the financial centralization, which is still strong.

  • There are six different models for local and regional self-government known in Europe. They are based on different degrees of independence of the regional authorities from the central government. In each of the models the regional authorities are directly or indirectly (through the local municipal councils) elected by the citizens. The participants discussed in detail the following issues: Is it possible and how for Bulgaria to introduce one of these six models in order to replace the corrupt direct appointment of regional authorities by the central government? What supplementary institutions and mechanisms are needed at local and regional level in order to improve the democratic system and horizontal accountability of the municipalities and regions in Bulgaria? Would the EU membership increase or decrease the accountability and responsibility of the government before the Bulgarian citizens?

    The Bulgarian participants presented three initiatives for improvement of local and regional governance in Bulgaria:
  • the establishment of Sofia Economic Council;

  • the introduction of the ombudsman institution in Bulgaria;

  • the Regional Development Plan and the project for Regional Innovation Strategy for the South-West Planning Region in Bulgaria.

  • Agenda
    Financial Decentralization in Bulgaria, presentation by Ginka Tchavdarova, Executive Director of NAMRB (Power Point, 324 KB)
    Central Finland and The Regional Council, presentation by Mrs Helena Pihlajasaari, Vice-President of the Congress and Member of the Regional Council of Keski-Suomi, Finland (Power Point, 5.9 MB)
    The Regionalisation in the Czech Republic, presentation by Frantisek Dohnal, Vice-President of the Vysocina Region and Vice-President of CLRAE (Power Point, 4 MB)
    Regional Development Planning, presentation by Mr. Tsanko Shandrov, Regional Development Expert, Prime Consulting (Power Point, 114 KB)
    Slovak Republic: The City of Martin, presentation by Mr. Stanislas Bernat, Lord Mayor of Martin, Slovak Republic and Member of the Congress of the Council of Europe (Power Point, 2.4 MB)

    Round table: Innovative Approaches for Enhancing Local Development and Self Government of the Regions in Europe, 30 June and 1 July 2005
    Lecture of Mr. Kenneth Sparks, September 30, 2004
    Democratic Governance in Bulgaria: Using Public-Private Partnerships to Advance Economic Reforms, April 19, 2004
    Introductory meeting for the launch of Sofia Economic Council, January 28, 2004
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