Bulgaria’s cabinet is to be asked to add three million leva to the budget for the controversial “Bulgarian Louvre” project to complete it.
Building of the project, officially known as the National Museum Complex, began in September 2012 after the June 2012 signing of the contract.
The complex is being built with 27.2 million leva (about 13.5 million euro) from the European Union’s regional development operational programme.
Going up on an area between Vassil Levski Boulevard and Moskovska, February 19 and Oborishte streets, the project was dear to the heart of Veshdi Rashidov, culture minister in the centre-right GERB government from 2009 to early 2013.
At the time that building began, the Ministry of Culture said that the complex will have a large exhibition space, rooms for visiting exhibitions, a modern storage depository and restoration studios.
The design of the project is the work of Yanko Apostolov of a New York-based company.
After becoming Culture Minister in May 2013, Petar Stoyanovich poured scorn on the project.
At a news conference on July 16 2013, Stoyanovich said that there were “a lot of problems” in connection with the Bulgarian Louvre project – a name that he described as “a bit strange”. Stoyanovich said at the time that it was not clear what would be displayed in the future complex, how it would be displayed, and how the complex would be administered.
Now it has emerged that the cabinet will be asked to approve the transfer of three million leva from the central budget of the Culture Ministry to fund various changes to the project, including construction work not included in the original design.
Documentation submitted to the cabinet said that the project could not be implemented unless these changes were carried out.
According to the contract signed in June 2012, the project should be completed in June 2014.
The future presence of the “Bulgarian Louvre” is among Sofia’s campaign selling points in its bid to be named European Capital of Culture 2019.