The President of the Economic and Social Council Prof. Lalko Dulevski participated in an off-site meeting of the Council for Regional Development and National Infrastructure to the President of the Republic of Bulgaria on the topic of “State policy for promoting economic activity in the underdeveloped and disadvantaged regions of Bulgaria. Alternatives to traditional industries”, which was held on 7th April in Smolyan.

The event was opened by President Rosen Plevneliev, and the ministers responsible presented the highlights of the pursued government policy for promoting the economic activity in the underdeveloped and disadvantaged regions. Statements were made by the Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev, Minister Lilyana Pavlova, Minister Angelkova, Minister Lukarski and the Minister of Agriculture and Food Desislava Taneva.

Concrete proposals and recommendations for the successful development of Smolyan region were presented by the Mayor of Smolyan Mr. Melemov, the new Governor of Smolyan Nedyalko Slavov and the Vice-Chairman of National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria  Dimitranka Kamenova, Mayor of municipality of Berkovitsa.

Local authority representatives from the region and the country, social partners, representatives of professional chambers and other NGOs outlined the main challenges in the region and expressed their position on the possible alternatives to the traditional industries. Also concrete solutions and opportunities were proposed for stimulating the economic activity in the region, different mechanisms for overcoming the problems related to demographic processes and depopulation, the obstacles to investors and others.

The last discussion underlined the important role which the regional development councils should have in defining the local priorities and policies. Some of the specific proposals were aimed at the need of promoting entrepreneurship and improving financing for SMEs and local young entrepreneurs.

In his speech, the ESC President Prof. Dulevski stressed the importance of the topic and congratulated President Plevneliev for the initiative to hold the meeting in the town of Smolyan. In this regard, he reminded that a year ago in Smolyan the ESC jointly with the European Economic and Social Committee (EESC) organised a regional discussion concerning the Rhodope region, in which the EESC President Henri Malosse took participation. Meanwhile, at the end of 2014, the ESC adopted an opinion on the new instrument of the integrated territorial approach “Community-led Local Development”. According to the ESC, this approach creates terms for the regional policy to conform with and finance the solving of real problems of the local communities in cooperation on local level between the regional and local government and the civil society.

Prof. Dulevski appealed to all institutions to “pay particular attention to the needs of young people, especially in the underdeveloped and mountain regions, because no matter what kind of investments and funds from the operational programmes are available, if the young people are not here, who are these efforts for, what future is expected for this and similar regions of the country”. The young people need policies that keep them in school, encourage them for vocational training and of course actions are needed to create better living conditions in the populated settlements, stated he. The ESC is working on these issues and will come forward with a position on the topic after analyzing the results of the national survey on the migration intentions of the high school-leavers.

Dilyana Slavova, ESC member, made an interesting proposal - Bulgaria to initiate the development and adoption of EU macro-regional strategy for the development of the Rila-Rhodope region, similar to the the Danube strategy, with sufficient financial resource, which to include participation of neighboring countries that are not EU members.

In conclusion, President Plevneliev expressed his satisfaction with the great interest and commitment to the topic from the local and public authorities, the business and other stakeholders, and committed himself to implement this format in other regions of the country.



is the “bridge” between citizens and the national government. Its mission is to support such “bridging” so as to facilitate the communication between the society and the national government. It is the new and modern institution of the civil dialogue.

The ESC's mission is to promote civil society organisations access to and involvement in the process of decision-making on strategic economic and social issues.

The main goal of ESC's operation is to enable different representatives of organised civil society to feel free to state their views whereas unanimity on matters of common interest is encouraged. The Council expresses and protects civil society interests by communicating agreed statements and proposals submitted by its members to the executive and legislative authorities.

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