On 29 March 2019 Charlina Vitcheva, Deputy Director General of the European Commission's Joint Research Centre (JRC) and Yordanka Fandakova, Mayor of Sofia, signed a memorandum of understanding on behalf of the JRC and the municipality of Sofia during a ceremony taking place in Sofia.
The document sets the formal context for collaboration between the two partners in the areas of climate, air quality, environment, transport, energy poverty and efficiency, protection and security of public spaces, smart specialisation, digital transformation and cybersecurity.
Special attention will be given to cities, including a focus on creative cities and the future of cities.
This collaboration builds on a successful series of already existing exchanges in various policy areas, including digital transformation, cultural and creative cities and air quality.
Both partners will co-organise an international conference of local authorities on air quality 'SOFAIR2', taking place on 12 April 2019.
In the year of the elections to the European Parliament, the Memorandum demonstrates how the EU and the national, regional and local authorities of the EU Member States can work together to improve the lives of citizens on the ground, be it to make sure they can heat their homes in winter, to get them through the city in a faster and safer way, or to improve the quality of the air that they breathe.
The signature ceremony took place during the opening of the innovation camp, an event organised by the municipality of Sofia in the framework of the pilot project "Science meets Parliaments – Science meets Regions".
The organisers' objective for this innovation camp is to come up with innovative, out-of-the-box solutions to the major societal challenges identified for the city:
- energy poverty,
- sustainable transport and mobility,
- the social effects of innovation,
with air pollution as a cross-cutting issue.
An innovation camp is an entrepreneurial discovery process requiring a higher degree of commitment and interaction from the participants than is the case in a traditional conference.
The methodology was developed and piloted by the JRC in close collaboration with the Committee of the Regions.
Throughout the whole series of events in the frame of the Science meets Parliaments/Science meets Regions, the JRC contributes to spreading a culture of evidence-informed policymaking in Europe.
- 29 Marts 2019