Bulgaria’s government will grant Plovdiv a sum of 20 million leva (about 10.26 million euro) for its place as European Capital of Culture 2019, and will amend a regulation on state funding that prevents a municipality from receiving targeted funds for various cultural events.
This was announced at a meeting in Bulgaria’s second city, which brought together representatives of the national government, municipal administration, foreign ambassadors, the Plovdiv 2019 Foundation and the America for Bulgaria Foundation.
Bulgarian Prime Minister Boiko Borissov said that the funding will be given to Plovdiv in phases this and next year.
He thanked the America for Bulgaria Foundation for its 8.2 million leva financing for the project to restore the Episcopal Basilica in Plovdiv, where a visitors’ complex is to open in the second half of 2018 in time for Plovdiv’s status as European Capital of Culture the following year.
At the May 31 meeting of the Cabinet, the decision necessary to transfer the funding to Plovdiv would be taken, Borissov said.
Five million leva would be transferred to Plovdiv next week.
“We will make an effort, and I hope that the municipality will be strict, so that something very nice comes of the city in 2019, and we have the (European Union) presidency in 2018, so with both these events, in a year and half, Bulgaria will be in the focus of Europe,” Borissov said.
For some time, there has been an issue about the transfer of goverment funding to Plovdiv, because of Bulgaria’s rules on such funding. Funds already have been transferred, marked for infrastructure projects, and the rule change will permit funding of cultural events too.
Borissov, along with Culture Minister Boil Banov and the Minister for Bulgaria’s EU Presidency Liliyana Pavlova, also accompanied by the ambassadors of Austria, the Czech Republic, France and Italy, inspected the work on the Great Basilica, which is to be ready to receive visitors in 2018.