SOFIA DEVELOPMENT ASSOCIATION was founded as non-profit organization with the decision 348
of the Sofia Municipal Council to work for the sustainable development of the capital.


European Cities Conference

This year’s city of Vienna "European Cities Conference" was held on June 18-19, on the topic of digitalization. Vienna experts met in Vienna to discuss with their counterparts from the urban institutions in Central and Southeastern Europe– among whom Sevdalina Voynova and Elitsa Panayotowa with SDA, Sofia Investment Agency representatives and Bulgarian media representatives - to take along new impulses and strategic goals for implementation in the respective municipal administrations and cities, in the spirit of a lively dialogue on "Government2Government" projects.

What will European city administrations look like in 2030? What will the role of artificial intelligence in the digital transformation, what will e-governance be, what digital rights will citizens have? These were some of the essential aspects of digitalization subject to discussion and mutual learning.

Sofia supports CoR’s initiative “Cities and Regions for Integration”

"We are proud that Sofia is a lead partner of such a strong consortium," said Botyo Botev, Sofia Municipal Councilor at the opening of the briefing at the European Committee of the Regions in Brussels, organized by the Sofia Development Association, entitled "Sharing of challenges and creating solutions for the integration of third-country nationals at local level. "The event was attended by representatives of the European Committee of the Regions, the European Commission, directorates-general, institutions and non-governmental organizations. The basis of the briefing was the project INTEGRA, led by Sofia through Sofia Development Association, funded by AMIF and implemented by a consortium of the cities of Sofia, Prague, Kosice (Slovakia), Osijek (Croatia) and Rubano (Italy). Among the speakers were mayors and municipal councilors from the city-partners of Sofia, representatives of the DG HOME, EU’s Asylum, Migration and Integration Fund, the European Committee of the Regions.

The project manager Sevdalina Voynova emphasized that the biggest project strength is in the broad civic participation: the development and application of methods such as city walks, photovoice, scenario development, which allow many citizens to co-create integration policies and practices. More than 2,200 citizens in the five cities have joined the project activities so far, of which 80 local government representatives, 250 third-country nationals.

Laurent Thieule, CoR's Legislative Work Director, focused on the link between INTEGRA and the new initiative of the President of the CoR, entitled "Cities and Regions for Integration", as they both rely on urban networks integration models.

Laurent Aujean with DG Home expressed his appreciation of the results of the INTEGRA project, which take into account the local context of the specific region of Central and Eastern Europe. According to him, the public policy recommendations of the consortium are very good and profound, without being limited to access to the labor market.

Sabrina Doni, newly re-elected mayor of Rubano, Italy, pointed out the role of the project for a small town that has less resources and access to knowledge networks. "We have made Europe, now we have to make Europeans," she said.

Prague City Councilor Ondřej Mirovský said that the political will and leadership are key to counteracting nationalism.

Rayeiz Rahman, a migrant from Afghanistan living in Kosice, explained why he had joined the INTEGRA project and what it meant for people like him to have the opportunity to participate: "your voice be heard, to be able to say that foreigners also live here, to positively influence other migrants."

The briefing attracted more than 70 participants and it was highly appreciated. "Thanks for the interesting conference", "Very good, interesting and efficient project", "We rarely see something so innovative". This is a great recognition for Sofia and its leading role in making European policies.

The briefing materials can be found at:



Help shape the EU Circular Economy Strategy and Agenda!

images/projects/CICERONE_Project_Update_J_2019.pdfHelp shape the EU Circular Economy Strategy and Agenda!


Beginning June 4, 2019, the project CICERONE is launching an online consultation. The consultation aims to identify key objectives and innovation fields for the circular economy, that will feed into the EU EC Roadmap and Strategy. The online consultation will compile common circular economy objectives at European level and develop corresponding research and innovation areas. These will be integrated in the European Circular Economy Strategic Research & Innovation Agenda, enabling alignment between member states on where we should focus our efforts to accelerate the transition to a circular economy. The consultation platform can be reached here:

We invite program owners at EU, regional and local level to take part in the consultation process by registering to the online consultations.




Sharing Challenges, Creating Solutions for Integration of Third-Country Nationals at Local Level

Date: 11 June, 2019
Session 1:
Venue: European Committee of the Regions, 101 rue Belliard, JDE 53, Brusses
Time: 9:30 – 13:30

Session 2:
Venue: Permanent Representation of
the Republic of Croatia to the EU
Avenue des Arts/Kunstlaan 50, Brussels 
Time: 14:00 – 15:00

The integration of third country nationals is one of the most formidable tasks we face. Cities play a major role in integrating these newcomers and empowering them to contribute to their new communities. However, integrating migrants can be challenging because they constitute highly diverse groups, consisting of different genders, ages, cultural backgrounds with different motivations, skill sets, educational levels and experience.

The EU INTEGRA day is designed to explore the city-to-city approach to third country nationals integration, practices, tools and resources, lessons learned and policy recommendations based on the experience of the project partners from Sofia (Bulgaria), Prague (Czech Republic), Kosice (Slovakia), Rubano (Italy) and Osijek (Croatia).

REGISTRATION by 03.06.2019:

Sofia Development Association at WEBIT

For another year in a row, Sofia Development Association took active participation in the program of Webit Festival. The event was open on 14th of May by the Mayor of Sofia Municipality Mrs. Fandakova and the President of the Republic of Bulgaria Mr. Radev. “Sofia is more competitive than ever and attracts more than half of the foreign investments in the country. The startup ecosystem in the city continues to grow successfully. “Startup Sofia Accelerator” and SofiaLab work to support this community. At the same time, we organize hackathons and datathons that bring together dozens of young people willing to apply their skills in the context of the challenges we face in managing the city,” said the Mayor at the opening of the festival.

In the venue of the festival there is a separate Sofia area - SOFIA's PLACE, where during the two days of the festival Sofia Municipality and its partners presented programs, initiatives and successful stories in the field of entrepreneurship and innovation; prototypes and new technologies, products and services. Mrs. Fandakova and Mr. Radev visited the area and got acquainted with the latest news from Sofia innovation laboratory - SofiaLab.

At SOFIA's PLACE Sofia Development Association presented the innovation laboratory SofiaLab and some prototypes and products created through its programs: five video games developed during the Hack and Design Challenge, as well as the mathematical model-winner at the Datathon for combating air pollution, organized by the "Green Sofia" project. We also presented the social enterprise "Maria's World Foundation", which supports the employment of people with intellectual disabilities - employees produced badges with motives of Bulgarian embroideries on spot for the visitors.







Scientific-industrial laboratory RILab i 2030 Opening

On May 13, 2019, a scientific-industrial laboratory RIL i 2030 opened doors in the Bulgarian Academy of Science, with the participation of Sofia Mayor Mrs Fandakova, Eurocommissioner on Digital technologies and society Mrs. Gabriel and the Chairperson of the Bulgarian Academy of Science academic Revalski. The laboratory is established by a consortium consisting of two Bulgarian Academy of Science institutes, private businesses and SofiaLab of Sofia Development Association, while Sofia Municipality and Sofia Investment Agency are consortium partners. The goal of the lab is to support with R&D activities SMEs and technology intensive businesses in the light of Industry 4.0. The lab will provided modeling, prototyping, experimental research and testing, virtual production, staff training and public outreach events.

RILab i 2030 will contribute to the digital integration of science, business and education in the implementation of Sofia Smart Specialization Strategy.



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