On 7 and 8 June, Sofia Municipality (Sofia Development Association) hosted a working meeting of the Digital Transition Partnership. Sofia coordinates this partnership together with Estonia and the Finish City of Oulu.
The initiative is part of the Urban Agenda for the EU, implemented through an innovative method of broad partnerships between representatives of member states, city authorities, the European Commission, the managing authorities of operational programs, the European Investment Bank, experts, non-governmental organizations and representatives of the private sector.
Its main objective is to improve existing policies in the fields of legislation, education and European funding policies and to increase their effectiveness by introducing new measures.
The Urban Agenda for the EU will create new forms of interaction, focusing on urban issues and challenges with a European dimension.
Thematic partnerships are the main mechanism for implementing the Urban Agenda. Within these partnerships, the European Commission, member states and European cities will work together to strengthen the urban dimension of European policies.
The partnerships will work on 12 priority themes, defined in the Urban Agenda for the EU.
Sofia had applied and was selected, together with Estonia and Oulu, Finland, as coordinator of the Digital Transition Partnership.
The objective of the Digital Transition Partnership is to improve public services for citizens and to create new business opportunities.
The main panel discussions in Sofia are:
• New skills and learning of the future;
• Standardization of databases and compatibility;
• Urban planning;
• Health and social care of the future;
• New business models, accelerating urban growth;
• 5G and other key base technologies.
Elen Gerdjikov, Chairman of Sofia Municipal Council and Chairman of the Managing Board of Sofia Development Association, gave the start of the international meeting:
“We talked about smart cities, now we are talking about a smart society. Cities have the responsibility to play a decisive role in creating a smart society, not only by using and implementing technological solutions and related new services, but also as strong partners and intermediaries of the digital transition.”
More than 40 representatives of local and national authorities from European cities and countries gathered in Sofia to develop an action plan and policy change recommendations to assist and support the process of digital transition in Europe.
Inspiring speech by Plamen Roussev (founder of Webit) to the participants in the Digital Transition Partnership:
“If we talk about the future, we must think about empowering young people because they believe they can change the world.” Plamen Rusev highlighted the enormous potential in Sofia, Bulgaria and Eastern Europe, potential in the field of digital innovations and technologies. “It is not accidental that Sofia is one of the coordinators of the Digital Transition Partnership, because our city has already won recognition as SOFIA - DIGITAL CAPITAL.”