image

Boyan Tomov: Initiatives such as TheMayor.EU prove how important EU membership is for our success as individuals

Boyan Tomov: Initiatives such as TheMayor.EU prove how important EU membership is for our success as individuals

The founder of the portal talks to the European Parliament's Office in Bulgaria about the path to the European Citizens' Prize for 2021

The project "TheMayor.EU - The European Portal for Cities and Citizens" is the Bulgarian winner of the European Citizens' Prize for 2021. The Prize is given by the European Parliament to citizens or organizations for projects, helping to promote better mutual understanding and integration between the citizens of the Member States. The Prize is in the form of an honorary medal and has a symbolic meaning.

The selection of laureates from all EU Member States was carried out by an 11-member European jury, including representatives of the European Parliament, prominent public figures, and civil and youth organizations.

In this interview, Boyan Tomov, founder of TheMayor.EU and Chairman of the Association "Euro Advance", shares more about the project with the Office of the European Parliament in Bulgaria.

Mr Tomov, please tell us why did you create the European Portal for Cities and Citizens? What inspired you?

I have always appreciated the efforts of the local authorities and every day I encounter new reasons to admire their work. They are the government bodies closest to the citizens and as such are burdened with great responsibilities and expectations. At the same time, mayors and municipal councils operate in conditions of very limited financial and power resources, which makes their work even more challenging.

When my team and I discussed these issues years ago, I realized that few people understand that municipal administrations deserve great recognition and that often the interesting and innovative solutions they introduce remain limited to their local community.

At the same time, I realized that the Bulgarian media environment suffered from a huge shortage of good news. I told myself that this should not be the case: good ideas should be made public, especially when they have the potential to improve life elsewhere in Europe and the world.

So, I decided to create the Portal of Bulgarian municipalities Kmeta.bg, which quickly proved to be necessary and relevant to the Bulgarian audience. Subsequently, my ambition was to expand that scope to the entire European Union and launch a multilingual project - TheMayor.EU. EU cities are an inexhaustible source of fresh ideas and innovative solutions, and we see this day on a daily basis.

Why is it important to share good practices?

Although the name of the portal is a reference to mayors, it is just as citizen-oriented - all of us who live in a certain locality, pay taxes and travel in Europe deserve the best, most efficient and transparent governance. Sharing good practices between local authorities can significantly help good solutions to find a direct path to implementation and multiply their effects.

Visitors to TheMayor.EU will soon be convinced that cities are the key players in the implementation of the European Green Pact, the fight against climate change, the accelerated digitalisation of Europe and the strengthening of local democracy.

At TheMayor.EU, we consider it important for European taxpayers to be aware of how public funds are spent, including those on European projects. That is why we give visibility to successful examples from cities, show how public resources can be spent most effectively and stimulate competition and the desire to prove themselves among the local authorities. This ultimately leads to a higher quality of life for all of us.

Is it difficult to maintain such a portal? What are the challenges?

TheMayor.EU has been working as a non-profit project since its launch. Users can read it and municipalities can present their work - all completely free of charge. Despite the difficulties, we have been able to maintain it for four years now, which shows that there is a sense and need for this type of content and there is room for growth.

What other projects is your association "Euro Advance" dealing with?

In addition to the web portal TheMayor.EU, the Association is working on various initiatives related to the promotion of good and sustainable practices for the development of European cities.

We are very proud of our participation in the European network "EUDIGIT - European Digital Citizens". As part of this project, together with Marseille, Rotterdam, Genoa, Varna, Cluj Napoca and Hamburg, we study and collect effective strategies of cities to combat the digital divide, facilitate the exchange of good practices between these cities and show successful models for promoting civic participation in democratic processes.

The association is also a long-term partner in the organization and promotion of the annual competition "Mayor of the Year", which this year will once again honour the most successful and popularly approved Bulgarian mayors.

What does the European Citizens' Prize mean to you?

My young team and I are extremely pleased with the recognition we are receiving today - the European Citizen Prize is another proof of the importance of our work since it shows us that we are moving in the right direction. Being ranked first by the national jury and the European Citizen's Prize Chancellery, in competition with other interesting projects, is an incentive to continue to work even harder.

Finally, I would like to call on the European institutions, such as the European Parliament, the European Commission, the Committee of the Regions, to pay more attention to such initiatives in the future. It is important that they support and invest in projects that have proven to be sustainable over time and to help them expand their reach.

After all, initiatives, such as TheMayor.EU, are important for the European sense of community; they contribute to the strengthening of European values, to the feeling of closeness between European citizens and prove on a daily basis how important EU membership is for our success as individuals.

Newsletter

Zurück

Wachsende Stadt

Alle

Smart City

Alle

Grüne Stadt

Alle

Soziale Stadt

Alle

Neue Europäische Bauhaus

Alle

Interviews

Alle

Neueste