1.7 Funding youth policy
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Youth policies in Bulgaria are funded by the state budget and by the European funds. The Youth Policies Directorate (Дирекция „Младежки политики“) of the Ministry of Youth and Sports organizes, coordinates, controls and implements the management of tools to fund youth activities from the state budget and from European and international financial sources. There are two national youth programs that are administered by the Ministry of Youth and Sports with specifically allocated budget for youth policy.
The National Youth Program (2021-2025)(Национална програма за младежта (2021-2025)) is one of the tools used by the Ministry of Youth and Sports to directly implement the national youth policy in the country.
The program is designed as a response to the witnessed trends with regard to various public processes, whereas its main priority is to ensrue supportive and encouraging environment for personal, professional and social realisation of young people in the country.
Its vision is as follows: improved quality of life and realisation of young people through the creation and application of sustainable mechanists for investing in their potential, which would contribute to the full-value socio-economic development of Bulgaria as a EU member state.
The program is in compliance with the objectives of the National Youth Strategy (2021-2030) as an implementing tool of youth policy in the coutry. Project proposals in the following thematic areas are funded under the program:
1. Non-formal learning to acquire skills and key competences;
2. Ecology and environment protection;
3. Leisure time, creativity and culture;
4. Promotion of healthy lilfestyle;
5. Tolerance and European affiliation.
In 2021, two application procedures were carried out and 28 projects were funded.
The National Program for the Implementation of Youth Activities under Article 10a of the Gambling Act (Национална програма за изпълнение на младежки дейности по чл. 10а от Закона за хазарта) is another mechanism for funding youth projects as part of the implementation of the national youth policy.
The National Program for the Implementation of Youth Activities under Article 10a of the Gambling Act was designed in relation to the reported negative trends regarding the risk behavior of young people related to different forms of addictions and aggressive behavior as well as the identified needs of young people in the country, by providing more opportunities for participation in activities leading to the formation of socially responsible behavior. The program started in 2017. The projects funded under this program comprise activities such as
discussions, campaigns and initiatives, trainings, broadcasting of awareness raising movies and videos, sports initiatives, etc. They reach more than 200 000 young people across the country, including young people with fewer opportunities.
The program is implemented in three priority areas. The main themes are as follows:
1. Prevention of gambling addiction;
2. Prevention of various forms of addictions – drug, tobacco, alcohol, internet, online/ computer games;
3. Prevention of aggression;
4. Promotion of healthy lifestyle.
Until 2020, the available budget was BGN 2 000 000 (approximately EUR 1 022 580) per year. In 2021 the allocated budget is BGN 5 405 000 (approximately EUR 2 763 530). Each priority area has a certain estimated budget, which can be changed within the specified amount upon the necessity and according to the available financial resource. Several application procedures were carried out in 2021 and fifty six projects were approved for funding.
The Ministry of Youth and Sports monitors and controls the legal and expedient spending of funds. The programs are administered in accordance with Ordinance No 5 of 11.08.2016 on the terms and conditions for financial support of projects under the national youth programs (Наредба № 5 от 11.08.2016 за условията и реда за финансово подпомагане на проекти по национални програми за младежта) (promulgated in State Gazette no. 68/2016, last amendment effective from 10.03.2017).
The mission of the Bulgarian National Audit Office is to control the implementation of the budget and the management of other public funds and activities by carrying out effective, efficient and cost-effective audit work to help the improvement of the management and accountability of public resources.
The National Audit Office adopts its annual audit program and carries out four types of audits – financial, compliance, implementation and specific adutis in all fields of the public life.
The main source of EU funds dedicated to youth policy are the Erasmus+ program and the European Solidarity Corps. The Human Resource Development Centre (HRDC) is the Bulgarian Erasmus+ National Agency. It is recognized as a successful national structure for managing these European programs. Since 1999, the HRDC is actively involved in the management and implementation of European educational programmes and initiatives.
Another EU fund used for youth policy is the Operational Programme “Human Resources Development” administrated by the the Ministry of Labour and Social Policy (MLSP). The Ministry of Youth and Sports implements two projects funded under Operational Programme "Human resources development" (2014-2020) through the European Social Fund that have a direct impact over youth policies: “National System for Planning, Monitoring and Reporting of the Implementation of Youth Policies” (completed) and “Development and Implementation of Quality Standards for Provision of Youth Services” (ongoing).