Towards a climate neutral EU:
efficient allocation of EU funds

Construction of a Water Park and Expansion of Vazrazhdane Park, Sofia

Organisation: Economic Policy Institute Website: Added: September 29, 2022
Project start date: February 01, 2018
Project end date: November 01, 2019


Narrative The current project envisaged the construction of a year-round recreational complex, as well as a next step towards the improvement of the area of Renaissance Park (‘Парк Възраждане’ in Bulgarian). Under the project, more than 18 thousand sqm of land have been added to the parking area of the park with passive recreation areas of different sizes and recreation areas in different parts of the park. It was planned that the project complements the urban regeneration and development measures in an integrated and sustainable way. The aqua park consists of two main areas: the "Water-entertainment area - Aquapark" and the "Relaxation and recreation area" with a total area of over 6.6 thousand sqm and a capacity of 500 users. On the project site of the water park are 5 outdoor pools (a leisure pool, 2 children's pools, a whirlpool, and a baby pool), the main highlight being the children's pool with an area of 684 sqm. The service building with a spa area has an indoor pool of the size of 25.00m/15.40m. The planned positive impact and objectives of the project can be summarised as follows: Encouraging the use of the city's mineral water wealth, both for free pouring from the park's mineral water deposit and for all pools and slides, as well as for heating the building; Providing access for people with disabilities to the sport and recreation facilities; Improving the socio-economic characteristics of the area and establishing new job positions. The indoor swimming pool and sauna park have been open to visitors since mid-June 2020.

Financial data

The project has been financed under the Sofia Urban Development Fund. The approved funding is BGN 5 300 000 (EUR 2 709 000), of which BGN 3 127 000 (EUR 1 599 000) is co-financed by the European Regional Development Fund under the Operational Programme "Regions in Growth" 2014-2020.


Recommendations Beyond the visibility of this project and its perceived usefulness for improving liveability in the city, the project’s implementation questions the optimal use of EU funding in an urban context. In a metropolitan capital city with air pollution levels usually exceeding acceptable healthy norms building a water complex with significant outdoor facilities seems to be far from optimal. What is more, because of the weather conditions in Sofia, these open-air facilities can be used in the best-case scenario for not more than 4 months yearly.

Information sources

Other info

European Climate Initiative (EUKI)
This project is part of the European Climate Initiative (EUKI). EUKI is a project financing instrument by the German Federal Ministry for Economic Affairs and Climate Action (BMWK). The EUKI competition for project ideas is implemented by the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) GmbH. It is the overarching goal of the EUKI to foster climate cooperation within the European Union (EU) in order to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions.