Sofia

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Sofia is one of the oldest cities in Europe and its history can be traced back some 7000 years. Declared a capital in 1879, Sofia is the largest city of the Republic of Bulgaria (BG), with 1.6 million permanent citizens and residents of about 2 million. The territory is 134,185 ha of which the residential areas are 38.1%, the territories for public servicing are 7.8%, and those for business purposes are 13.5%.

Sofia produces 33% of the national GDP which is 69% of the EU average (expected to become 80% by 2015). The unemployment is among the lowest in Europe - 1.3%, and due to the 20 universities based in Sofia, almost half of all employees have been through higher education.

The population has been increasing in recent years, as is life expectancy. The commuters and internal migration has also increased.
In a world of globalization, cities play an increasingly significant role in guaranteeing sustainable development.

Local economies are turning into a key mechanism, generating economic, social and cultural well-being for the citizens. Today, the “openness” of the cities is a sine qua non condition and a sign for a sound civil society, ready to face the new global challenges.

At present, migration policy is being managed at national level, but Sofia Municipality is actively developing the first local strategies and regulations, according to the growing population needs. The Authorities’ alertness has been provoked by the EU accession and the expected rise in immigration from the surrounding non-EU countries.

The Managing Authority in Sofia/Bulgaria is the Ministry of Regional Development and Public Work. Mrs. Violetka Doneva is acting as the lead for the OPENCities project. MRDPW aims to prioritise the project follow-up and sustainability.

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The OPENCities Monitor is conducted by BAK. BAK Economics AG (BAK) is an independent Swiss research institute.