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Bulgaria/ 5.1 General legislation  

5.1.3 Allocation of public funds

In the Republic of Bulgaria, the municipality is the main administrative territorial unit, of local self-government. The Municipal Council is the main authority. Representatives are elected from their respective constituencies for a period of 4 years.

At the end of 2002, first regulatory steps were taken to normalise the financial decentralisation of public services, to be carried out by the municipalities including cultural activities. The main aim was to increase local income and a maximum level of local autonomy as well as to define the character and content of municipal services.

Upon Decree of the Council of Ministers (No.°16/2003), all public services were divided into two groups:

  • Activities delegated from the state in the fields of education, healthcare, social affairs and partially in the field of culture. Minimal standards have been adopted regarding the number of staff, amount of salaries, insurances and maintenance of buildings. The state is responsible for their financing through assigned taxes and for providing supplementary subsidies in cases when municipal funds are not sufficient to meet these standards; and
  • Local activities including public utilities, sanitation, kindergartens and most activities in the field of culture. Financing is generated from local taxes and charges, property management, fines, etc. Those municipalities with a low capacity to generate their own income receive compensation subsidies. Investments are financed through grants which are within the realm of government priorities and objectives.

2003 was the first year that this division of labour was realised and is seen as a serious step forward to strengthen local self-government and to overcome problems of the individual municipalities.

In 2006, the Bulgarian government developed the Decentralisation Strategy and the Programme for Implementation of the Decentralisation Strategy 2006-2009 - an important document aimed at raising the efficiency and quality of services delivered to the citizens (see also

Chapter published: 20-01-2011

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