FES in Bulgaria
The FES project in Bulgaria, like all other similar projects of the Foundation worldwide, is funded by the German Ministry of Economic Cooperation and Development. Hence it is part of the international cooperation in support of the development of democracy; its mandate is political education and consultation.
The working areas in Bulgaria are to be seen in the context of social democracy and are in line with to the strategic goals of the Foundation's head office in Berlin. This is reflected in the selection of subjects and partners.
The first office of FES in Bulgaria opened in September 1994. Since May 2003 it exists with its current staff and location. The small team of the project, consisting of a director and five staff, is supported by interns, usually 2 to 4 per year.
FES is a cooperating partner, not a funding agency. Activities of the project are planned together with partners and are executed in cooperation with them. Project instruments are in the first place national, regional and international workshops, seminars and conferences, research studies, political analysis, publications, as well as information programmes in Germany and Europe.
The character of the project allows flexibility in choosing subjects and in the organisation of events. Thus current issues can be taken up quickly and be integrated in the programme on very short term.
FES cooperates in Bulgaria with various partners according to its subjects and goals. Main partners are among others:
- State institutions: Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Office of the President, Parliament, General Prosecutor's Office, Sofia City Court
- National Association of Municipalities in the Republic of Bulgaria
- Foundations close to political parties: Institute for Social Integration, Foundation "Solidarity in Society"
- Independent research institutes: Institute for Political and Legal Studies, Centre for the Study of Democracy
- Youth organisations: Young Europeans for Security, Club "Generation 21"
- Trade unions: federations KNSB and KT "Podkrepa", as well as their branch organizations
- Employer's organisations: Bulgarian Industrial Association, German-Bulgarian Chamber of Industry and Trade,
- Media: Union of Bulgarian Journalists, Faculty of Journalism at the Sofia University
Other partners are included in specific activities.
The subjects are defined by the work lines, formulated as objectives. The main objectives of the FES activities are:
- Strengthening of political parties through political education and qualification in specific skills
- Development of concepts for socially just policies for mayor economic and social reforms
- Implementation of principles of the "Rule of Law", specifically in institutions of the judiciary
- Support of decentralisation, strengthening of the effectiveness of municipal services and the participation of citizens in local decision-making processes
- Encouragement of social dialogue, strengthening of trade unions in their internal reform processes, upgrading of qualifications of trade union representatives
- Encouragement of the participation of non-government organisations in civil and political development, especially support to socially and politically active young people and youth organisations
Within the project in Bulgaria FES organises alone or in cooperation with partners about 160 events with about 4800 participants per year, 54% of whom are women and 28% young people under 30 years of age (figures for 2008). These numbers don not include participants in open events and campaigns.
In addition the FES office in Sofia organises activities in the context of other, regional projects of the Foundation, e.g. activities in cooperation with the Regional Secretariat for Parliamentary Cooperation in South East Europe, which has its seat in Sofia. Other activities are organised for the regional projects "Intra-regional Dialogue in South East Europe" and "Labour Relations and Social Dialogue in South East Europe", directly with the Foundation's head office in Berlin or in the context of the project on "Global Union Federations". These activities sum up to about 10 to 20 additional events per year.
Essential the dissemination of results and contents of project activities is their publication in form of short reports, seminar materials and books (13 in 2008). All publications can be downloaded for free in PDF-format from this website.