Although it has been an issue of debate for several years in Bulgaria, little progress has been made with regard to cultural sustainability and sector specific strategies.
A Draft Strategy for the Development of Bulgarian Culture 2019 – 2029 was presented in 2019. The project includes a chapter on Performance and Financial Instruments, but it does not provide an accurate analysis of how many projects, including those financial instruments, have been developed so far. Furthermore, the participation of private entities and the civil sector is not described, while the Law on Development and Protection of Culture (1999) states that private entities and NGOs are equal to the state and municipal entities. the implementation of which is not foreseen in the Draft Strategy for the Development of Bulgarian Culture 2019 – 2029.
According to the Strategy, funding from the state and municipal budget, alternative funding for (unspecified) projects and programmes, as well as funding from donations and sponsorships are envisaged. The Law on Patronage and the pledge of creating an art lottery is mentioned, but there is no commitment for the deadlines needed to realise it. This tool has been discussed for years, but its actual creation has been suspended.
According to an analysis by the Cultural Economics Observatory, value added at factor costs of the sector is 4.5%. However, the cost of culture in Bulgaria is decreasing.
There is a difference between the commitments of the Strategy and the three-year budget forecast. The share of cultural funds will shrink from 0.5% in 2019 to 0.4% in 2020.
In addition, strategies for their development are required for the development of individual cultural trends. So far, Bulgaria has only a draft national strategy for the entire industry, but lacks in-depth analysis, ideas and recommendations in the various segments, including their financial provision.
Although the Strategy is project by the Ministry of Culture, the National Cultural Strategy does not show that it is related to other institutions in the country, as well as to the overall economic development of the country. However, the fact that Draft Strategy is not legally adopted yet doesn’t speak to cultural sustainability in Bulgaria.
There aren’t any programs aimed at facilitating cultural sustainability by the authorities.
In the first half of 2019, Plovdiv was the European Capital of Culture, becoming the first Bulgarian city to be chosen as such. The program included over 300 projects and nearly 500 events spread across the entire Central South Region. Many of the traditions of the ancient city came to life with renewed power and scale. An unknown cultural content has emerged that will remain a legacy for the future. Examples of projects that reflect the past and pave the way for the future are “Smoke. Tobacco Stories”, “Odysseus”, “Cyrillization Programme”, “Puldin Ethno – Festival of Еthnic Culture”, etc. Such events give the opportunity for stable economic growth in the region through cultural activities.