The President: Solving the problems of the municipalities requires a long-term strategy and commitments of the state, not a wishful and abstract conversation

Rumen Radev called on the mayors to raise with the executive power the question of the state and future of the Electricity System Security Fund due to the planned liberalization of electricity prices from July 1

Industry / Bulgaria
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We cannot continue to speak wishfully and abstractly about the problems of municipalities such as the demographic crisis, the murderous regional imbalances, solving the severe structural problems piecemeal, relying on the dedication and initiative of individual mayors. All this requires a systematic approach, and in the lagging regions a definite intervention of the state with a clear and long-term strategy and commitments is needed. This was stated by President Rumen Radev during the official opening of the General Assembly of the National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria. Within the framework of the forum, the members of the new Management Board and Control Board of the Association, as well as their chairmen, are expected to be elected.

The head of state congratulated the newly elected and re-elected mayors of settlements in the past local vote and emphasized that the trust they voted for requires responsibility to justify it. Rumen Radev emphasized that the mayors have the support of the presidential institution on all important issues of local self-government.

"Beyond the media noise and some much more vocal public groups, there remain millions of Bulgarians with their daily lives, problems and expectations, and you are the people who know best their concerns, which have no party color," the president addressed the mayors. According to him, it is no accident that people see the state in their face, since it is in the mayors that people see their last support during crises and political instability. "Expectations towards the local government are growing, without, however, increasing the powers and tools at its disposal to be able to meet these expectations", the head of state pointed out and highlighted the need for a balanced solution on this issue in order for Bulgaria to have a strong and responsible local authority.

The President recalled that at the beginning of his mandate he stood behind the cause of the mayors to achieve financial decentralization and greater autonomy of the municipalities, in order to solve the problems in the local government more rationally and for it to be stronger and responsible. According to the head of state, the investment program for municipal projects recently adopted by the government is a step forward, but it also includes a centralized approach, since the funds are allocated by the central government, albeit on the basis of imported ready-made projects. "The path is in another direction - decentralization, greater independence, and here you can continue to count on my support," said Rumen Radev.

The head of state called on the mayors to put before the executive power the question of the "Security of the electric power system" fund, since the discussed additional financing of the program for the renovation of multi-family residential buildings is discussed to come from this fund. The issue of the state and future of the fund is also important because of the planned liberalization of electricity prices from July 1, the president pointed out and recalled that his veto of the amendments to the Energy Act was due to the lack of clear mechanisms on how the energy poor will be compensated, and the Power System Security Fund is called upon to guarantee social protection and sustainability.

Rumen Radev also highlighted the issue of outpatient clinics for pre-hospital care in 351 settlements, for which the official government has developed, submitted and defended a project before the European Commission. The President called on the representatives of the executive branch to be asked what is the development on the subject, as in a number of remote settlements, people are left with the impression that the state has abandoned them without a medical post.

"It is unacceptable in the 21st century, in Bulgaria, a member of the EU, that many settlements do not have access to water supply and sewage, that there are so many technological losses of water, somewhere reaching 60-70%," said the head of state. He pointed out that the implementation of new technologies is necessary and gave an example of a high-tech closed water cycle in Jerusalem, where water losses in the network have been reduced to negligible amounts. The President also drew attention to the ratio between price and quality in water supply and called for fair legislation that would include the local government in setting prices, given the responsibility it bears for the quality of the service provided. "I expect the central government to intervene and help you, not just with money, but with new technologies that will really save and lead to optimization in this sector," the head of state emphasized.

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