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The "Beautiful Bulgaria" Project 2009

In 2009, some 241 designated locations on the territory of Bulgaria will be improved with funds from the state budget under the "Beautiful Bulgaria" project, with a total of 21 million euros. The money will be allocated to 160 Bulgarian municipalities, which have successfully submitted their projects for the revival and improvement of their respective locations. Reported by bnr.bg

"Beautiful Bulgaria" is one of the most successful Bulgarian socially targeted projects. Its basic purpose is to relieve unemployment in the country by engaging jobless people in construction works with the aim of improving the urban environment.

The project was initially launched in 1997 with the assistance of the UNDP. It expanded through the years, encompassing a growing number of municipalities. As of 2005 "Beautiful Bulgaria" was controlled entirely by the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy.

The idea for people in this country to live in a more beautiful and comfortable environment with renovated administrative buildings, churches, schools and libraries has attracted a growing number of Bulgarian municipalities. Numerous local administrations have applied for the financial support of "Beautiful Bulgaria".

In late 2008 the project was included in the government plan of action for achieving economic stability in the world financial crisis. Bulgarian Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev said, "We realise that Bulgaria, like all other EU countries, is entering a harder period of time in view of the economic environment on an international plane. That is why we have looked at all possible ways of supporting the economy, the employment of people and preserving as far as possible their jobs.

So these 241 projects are related to improving the social infrastructure, as well as assisting small business in tourism and the municipalities in general. The projects would guarantee 6,400 jobs and will help the re-qualification of 4,000 Bulgarians. Thanks to this ambitious programme some 1,600 permanent jobs would be provided."

Social Minister Emilia Maslarova added, "Nearly 70% of Bulgarian municipalities are making use of this project. We are trying not only to renew cultural and historic monuments in Bulgaria, our churches, libraries and so on but also to improve our social infrastructure. So far we have renewed 100 nurseries and kindergartens.

Furthermore almost 400 social homes and day care centres have been supported one way or another by the project. I think that the improvement of 241 sites across 160 Bulgarian municipalities in the course of the next 12 months is an extremely ambitious task, but one which we are quite capable of coping with"