Bulgaria is building industrial zones with EU funds from the new regional development program

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Infrastructure measures to promote economic activity, energy efficiency, urban mobility and security in public spaces are among the priorities for urban development, which will be funded by the new Operational Program “Regional Development” for the period 2021-2027. This is set in the project of the Updated general instructions for preparation of investments for urban development under the program, which the Managing Authority in the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Works publishes on its website. The aim is to ensure transparency and timely information of all stakeholders and to stimulate local stakeholders to start the process of identifying potential partners and project ideas for the next period.

The main focus of investments under the RDP 2021-2027 will be the economic development of the territories, increase of the gross domestic product and employment, increase of the incomes and the standard of living of the population, reduction of the inequalities. Therefore, the selection will give priority to projects that achieve a specific economic effect on the territory.

The program will have two priority axes. The first – “Integrated Urban Development” provides support for the implementation of territorial strategies for the development of ten urban municipalities: Sofia, Plovdiv, Varna, Burgas, Ruse, Stara Zagora, Pleven, Vidin, Veliko Tarnovo and Blagoevgrad. The second axis will support measures in another 40 municipalities in the country with a population of over 15,000 people each.

The urban development measures that will be supported are technical infrastructure for business and entrepreneurship and development of business and industrial zones, energy efficiency and renovation of residential and public buildings, repair of streets and road networks between the capital and the surrounding settlements. of the municipality, traffic management measures, parking systems, intelligent transport systems, development and improvement of public urban transport systems, including infrastructure for equipment and new rolling stock, alternative and more environmentally friendly transport – bicycles, electric mobility and road safety through prevention and awareness raising.

In the field of green urban infrastructure and security in public spaces, projects for the construction of public recreation areas and green areas, measures to increase security in urban spaces, road safety, renovation of neighborhoods / specific areas of cities with unfavorable social economic characteristics and creating an accessible architectural environment. In the field of educational infrastructure, measures for pre-school, school and higher education, kindergartens will be financed. Investments in municipal housing, development of health and social infrastructure, cultural and sports infrastructure for mass sports are also envisaged. In the field of tourism, activities for the development, improvement, expansion and socialization of tourist areas and related infrastructure are eligible.

The projects to be supported must be identified in advance in the integrated development plans of the municipalities through the bottom-up approach and be based on a preliminary mapping of the needs at national level by the state institutions and agencies responsible for the development of these policies. , to be in accordance with the plans for integrated development of the municipalities and duly reflected in the integrated territorial strategies. In addition, it is mandatory to have partnerships between local and central authorities, non-governmental organizations, business and economic operators and others.

The main types of interventions represent an appropriate synergy combination between different areas.

An example of integrated projects implemented in partnership only with funds from the first axis of the Regional Development Program (including grants and financial instruments) is the renovation of a neighborhood or part of it located in a remote area or other area with unfavorable socio-economic characteristics. Renovation of the selected area may include, on the one hand, measures to improve housing conditions through construction, reconstruction and / or repair of municipal housing to provide adequate housing for vulnerable groups (adults, people with disabilities, single mothers, etc.). ), and on the other hand, the provision in the immediate vicinity of municipal land for construction of housing for people outside the specified groups and with a normal or high standard of living, but at preferential prices to achieve the goals of social inclusion. In addition to these measures, the project idea may also include a general renovation of the infrastructure in the neighborhood – measures related to urban mobility (road surfaces, public transport stops, bike lanes, etc.), recreation areas, playgrounds, outdoor sports facilities, including the construction of a complex in which to decompose services of all kinds for use by all residents of the neighborhood – sports complex with pool, library, social services in the community – for use by the vulnerable groups, kindergarten, offices for GPs, hall for concerts, supermarket, catering, pharmacy.

A similar example can be given with integrated projects for reclamation of industrial sites or existing industrial zones on the territory of cities in order to transform their economy. Such projects can be implemented in partnership between municipalities and economic operators, including electricity, gas or water distribution companies, providing power to the area, as well as other business representatives investing in the target area.

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