Gripes of Sofia residents emerge in EU survey

Residents of Bulgaria’s capital city Sofia have emerged as among the least satisfied regarding the state of the streets and buildings, among people living in 79 European cities.

People in Sofia were among the least satisfied on this issue, among 11 EU capitals that ranked in the bottom 20 in their responses to a question in the latest survey on perceptions about quality of life.

The European Commission released on October 8 the results of the three-yearly Eurobarometer survey on the “Perception of Quality of Life in European Cities”. The survey was conducted in 79 cities of all EU member states as well as Iceland, Norway, Switzerland and Turkey.

A total of 41 000 urban dwellers rated their satisfaction with various aspects of urban life, in particular public services.

In Bulgaria, the cities surveyed were Sofia and Bourgas, with – as reported in the survey – populations, respectively, of 1 055 205 and 172 826.

For residents of Sofia, the top three issues in the city were health care services (50 per cent), air pollution (37 per cent) and unemployment (33 per cent).

In Bourgas, the top three most important issues for residents were health services (62 per cent), air pollution (57 per cent) and unemployment (45 per cent).

People in Sofia ranked among the least trusting, with just 39 per cent saying that they trusted the people around them. In Bulgaria’s capital, 71 per cent said that they were dissatisfied with the air quality. However, the city did not rank among the highest in terms of those complaining about excessive noise, at only 40 per cent.

Asked whether they were satisfied to live in Sofia, 48 per cent “strongly agreed”, 36 per cent “somewhat agreed”, eight per cent “somewhat disagreed” and seven per cent “strongly disagreed”.

This produced an overall satisfaction of 84 per cent, placing Sofia in 23rd place, tying with Brussels and Riga.

Overall, the survey found:

  • As in 2009, healthcare, employment, education and training are the issues most people want their cities to deal with above all.
  • The survey suggests citizens in most European cities feel finding a job is hard. Only in 9 cities did a majority of citizens say it is easy to find employment. Compared with 2009 this job insecurity has increased significantly, though in some cities the outlook has become more positive.
  • In 50 cities, at least one person in two disagrees that it is easy to find good housing at a reasonable price.
  • The survey also records a low satisfaction with schools and educational institutions in many capitals.
  • On a more positive note the survey finds that in all but 5 of the cities surveyed, a majority of the respondents agree with the statement that the presence of foreigners is good for the city and that foreigners are well integrated.
  • There are wide disparities between cities on how people assess the quality of public transport, health care services, or their personal financial situation.
  • High satisfaction with public spaces, green areas, cleanliness and feeling safe seems closely linked with the overall satisfaction felt by people about in their city. When asked if they are “satisfied” living in their own cities, a majority – at least 80% in 71 cities – said they were.
  • The survey also suggests that more people than in previous surveys think their cities are active when it comes to fighting climate change. This is particularly the case in capital cities.



The Sofia Globe staff

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