Minister Julian Popov: Vitosha is a valuable natural asset in the green system of Sofia

21 Feb, 2024 | 15:07

"Vitosha is a valuable natural asset in the green system of Sofia. There is a serious political, and now civic commitment to find a solution for both its development and protection." This is what the minister of Environment and Water Julian Popov said after today's round table on the topic "Sport and Tourism on the Territory of the Vitosha Nature Park", organized by the Minister of Youth and Sports Dimitar Iliev.

Minister Popov reminded that the search for solutions for the management of the Vitosha Nature Park has been underway since 2014 and added: "I am a moderate optimist that this time we will succeed, because we have already realised what an asset Vitosha is and that it is not only an economic asset, but it is also an asset for our health, for our air." He said that the Ministry of Environment and Water is now working with the administration of the Vitosha Nature Park and will have recommendations on the Park Management Plan by April, so that there will be an updated version and a public hearing on it.

"Vitosha is not an isolated mountain, because Sofia is surrounded by more natural assets, which also need to be developed and could relieve the great pressure on this mountain," recalled Minister Julian Popov. He emphasized again that its development does not constitute only in one lift, the modernization of the tourist and sports infrastructure will require huge human, material, and financial resources. But it is important that all stakeholders try to unite around a common vision by finding answers to the questions of how to use and protect Vitosha - as a sports, economic, and natural terrain.

The discussion at the Ministry of Youth and Sports was also attended by the Ministers of Tourism Zaritsa Dinkova, of Agriculture and Food Kiril Vatev, of Regional Development Andrey Tsekov, of Health Hristo Hinkov, the Mayor of Sofia Municipality Vasil Terziev, as well as the Regional Governor Vyara Todeva.

The Minister of Youth and Sports Dimitar Iliev expressed the common will by all ministers - participants in the meeting, together with the mayor of Sofia to find a solution "to make this beautiful mountain accessible for all, as an European capital deserves". The Mayor of Sofia Vasil Terziev committed the municipality to lead the process and promised to make a roadmap to solve the problems of Vitosha: "Let's not be the next ones who have gathered and have done nothing to make our children grow up on this mountain, to have a different attitude towards environmental protection and to improve the quality of life of everyone in Sofia". According to Mayor Terziev, regular meetings on the issue will be held in the next months.