Volume 3, September, 2017
TRANSFER OF THE EUROPEAN SPATIAL PLANNING DISCOURSE IN BULGARIA: THE NATIONAL SPATIAL DEVELOPMENT CONCEPT
Velislava S. Simeonova
ABSTRACT - Twenty eight after the fall of “the wall" of political dependence and centralized state control, the process of Europeanization, although difficult, has succeeded in introducing new aspects and visions of spatial planning in Eastern European countries such as Bulgaria. Of course, this process isn’t over yet. Nonetheless, many of the traditional aspects of Bulgarian spatial planning have been banned, after being left unreformed for too long, or simply being an expression of limited political interest in the spatial discourse of the European Union.
Evidence of legal and institutional changes under the pressure of “Europe” can easily be found in the Bulgarian planning system, especially through the policy of regional development and planning. Subsequently, evidence of the Europeanization pressure of the European legislative framework and the European financial policy, can also be found.
Using the European spatial development discourse for justifying and discussing the national planning reforms is not a precedent in the Europeanization analysis. References to the European Spatial Development Perspective and other documents which form the European spatial discourse, offer the policy actors and participants in the planning process, additional arguments for the strategic course of spatial development, but also for rationalizing decisions that allow and determine the duration of the European resources in planning policies.
The voluntary transfer of ideas and principles, as well as the factors that determine it, is perhaps the most discussed topic in the study of the Europeanization of the Bulgarian spatial planning. The elaboration and adoption of the National Spatial Development Concept (NSDC) is part of the delayed process of Europeanization of the internal spatial discourse. However, the NSDC is the first national spatial document to transfer and adapt the policy objectives of the European Perspective to the spatial conditions and specifics of Bulgaria, at least on paper.
Keywords: Bulgaria, Discursive integration, European spatial discourse, Europeanization, planning