„With a budget of EUR 2.3 million, we have helped to strengthen institutional capacity and human resources development in Bulgarian public institutions, local and regional authorities. Moreover, we created a basis for partnership and exchange of good practices among all participants, "Malina Kroumova noted during the closing event to the" Capacity-Building and Institutional Cooperation Programme”, under Norwegian Financial Mechanism. Most important, according to Deputy Prime Minister Kroumova is that, "with the successful implementation of the Programme, we have been able to convey the Norwegian experience to effective governance, which contributes to the overall objective of the two Financial Mechanisms - reducing social and economic disparities and turning Bulgaria into a competitive EU Member State".

Ms. Kroumova expressed her gratitude to the program management team - the Directorate for Good Governance in the Council of Ministers with Director Irena Parvanova, as well as to the Norwegian partners - the Norwegian Association of Local and Regional Authorities and Norwegian Barents Secretariat for the support provided. "I am confident that the established partnership between the Bulgarian and Norwegian organizations will have continuation and upgrading. Your knowledge and expertise is the key for achieving the goals identified at national level. The main goal of the Bulgarian government is not only to use the financial resource but to achieve sustainability and long-term results" Ms Kroumova added.

Within the framework of the Programme two major projects were implemented - to strengthen the capacity of the National Association of Municipalities in Bulgaria and to develop a regional database for cross-border cooperation. Exchange of experience has been carried out on important topics for the municipalities, such as dialogue with the central government, coordination of services provided and sustainable and transparent financial management. As part of the regional database project, partnerships have been established with neighboring to Bulgaria countries for exchange of statistical information, which allows data analysis for the region.

A brochure on program results can be found here.