At the opening of the Conference titled: “Prospects for Growth of Bulgarian Municipalities” the National Assembly President Tsetska Tsacheva has declared that solving the problems of local governments and mayors would be priority in the legislative agenda of the 43rd National Assembly. The conference is held together with the annual ceremony on bestowing of Mayor of the year (2014) award.
The problems of Bulgarian municipalities are the principle commitment of the legislature because mayors and local administrations stand closest to the people; they know best their problems and the expectations towards them are the highest. She stressed one of the first documents which came to her attention after becoming president of the 43rd national Assembly was a draft Agreement for collaboration between the 43rd National Assembly and the Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria. She added the administration of the National Assembly, the lawmakers and the standing committees would commit to the proposals contained in the Agreement.
Among the proposals she outlined the establishment of a permanent mechanism in the 43rd National Assembly to carry out discussions related to top priorities of the local governments. She added an employee of the administration would be charged to follow up those problems and to initiate (organize) meetings, forums and discussions on specific issues every two months. She said there would be in the administration of the National Assembly a special department set to make assessments of the impact of the newly passed legislative acts over the social relations they were regulating. Tsetska Tsacheva added experts of the National Assembly would be made available to consult and assist local administrations and mayors throughout the country on hot topics of the particular municipality.
She outlined 3 main legislative priorities relating to local governments: first the adoption of entirely new law regulating the place and the role of local governments in the management and the supervision of the European funds within the system of Bulgaria’s public finances; secondly - adoption of legislative amendments in the field of public procurement, such that will bring maximum transparency and effective spending of the funds through the introduction of electronic public procurement bidding and standardized sample documents for use by municipal contractors and assignees, as well as for adequate control at all stages of the procedure.
Tsetska Tsacheva emphasized that the parliament had the will and the ambition to introduce mechanisms for local governments to carry out economic policies of their own and confirmed the parliament is open to proposals for legislative amendments.
Several ministers, among them Tomislav Donchev, Vice-Premier and Minister of European Funds and Economic Policy, the Minister of Regional Policy, Lilyana Pavlova, the Minister of Agriculture and Foods Desislava Taneva, experts, mayors, business and NGO representatives took part in the conference.
The Head of Parliament is scheduled to hand in the annual “Best of the Year Mayor” award for 2014 tonight. The ceremony is to be held at 6 pm in Hall 6 of the National Palace of Culture in Sofia.