“Sofia Municipality is the first municipality in Bulgaria to develop, approve and implement a Strategy for Smart Specialization. Its priorities for Sofia are information and communication technologies, as well as creative industries”, Yordanka Fandakova, mayor of Sofia, said at the two-day conference “Intelligent Specialization and Transfer of Technologies as Innovative Drivers for Regional Growth” held on May 3-4 at the National Palace of Culture. The event was organized by the Joint Research Center and the European Commission. It was attended by the EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel, the Deputy Prime Minister Tomislav Donchev and Markku Markkula, President of the European Committee of Regions (CoR).
“In recent years Sofia Municipality has actively participated in and supported events related to digital technologies and innovations, including the Webit Festival and Innovation Explorator, and with the assistance of EU Commissioner Maria Gabriel we will hold a Digital Assembly in Sofia in June, where we will organize a Balkan Hackathon”, the mayor of Sofia said.
The mayor also pointed out that Sofia Municipality is the first municipality in Bulgaria to start the process of opening data. With the support of the Europe Program and the cooperation of the Association for Development of Sofia, a platform with open data from the municipal administration has been developed, including information about the Sofia Municipality budget, the projects under the Culture program, public procurement projects, etc. At present, 27 sets of data have been published and maintained for Sofia Municipality. 23 more sets of data are scheduled to be published in 2018.
“We are also developing public areas with free access to internet in the public transport. The metro of Sofia is fully covered with free internet. Sofia Municipality has also applied for the “WiFi4EU” project for the installation of Wi-Fi in public spaces. Sofia is one of the coordinators of the “Urban agenda for the EU”, where the European Commission and a number of European cities are partnering directly. Sofia is a coordinator of the “Digital Transition” partnership together with Estonia and Oulu, Finland, the goal of which is to implement new solutions for improving European legislation, funding urban policies and training programs to facilitate digital transition in Europe”, Fandakova also said at her welcome speech to conference guests.
On the second day of the forum Vladimir Danailov, the CEO of Sofia Investment Agency, made a presentation on “The Digital Transition Partnership and Digital City Challenge” within the framework of the Digital Economy panel. He presented Sofia’s participation in the Digital City Challenge project. A video record of the presentation is available here.