“We found that much of our infrastructure, was damaged and very deteriorated”

After the breakup of the USSR, Bratislava’s biggest problem is the urban renewal of the city, buildings, green areas and leisure places.

M. Milan Ftacnik: Mayor of Petrzalka, Bratislava, Slovakia.

By Carlos Augusto Olarte

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M. Milan Ftacnik: Mayor of Petrzalka, Bratislava, Slovakia.

Milan Ftacnik is well known politician of Slovakia. He was Education Minister of Slovakia on the period 1998-2002 In 2002 he was the leader of the Social Democratic Alternative party. In 2005 he makes part of Bratislava council and in December 2006 he was elected mayor of Petrzalka (Bratislava).

District of Petrzalka, Bratislava

Number of inhabitants:126 565

Area: 28.7 km2

Population density per km2: 4 410

Sea Level: 140 asl

Year of Foundation: 1946

It is the newest part of Bratislava, as well as the largest one. For the first time it was mentioned in the 13th century as the village of Peèeneh inhabited by people on guard-duty. After the Tartar incursion the settlement perished. It rised again only in the 17th century. However, the territory fulfilled the function of recreation area with gardens full of apricot trees. It became a part of Bratislava in 1946. Bratislava is set in the hills of the Small Carpathians and on the edge of the Danube flats, where the mountains and the Danube river meet. It lies in the southwest of Slovakia.


What do you think about this forum and what do you expect from this forum?

This is quite new for me because I am mayor for about one year, so this is the first time that I have the opportunity to meet with other mayors from European Union, Latin America and the Caribbean. It is very interesting to have the chance to talk about the experiences about other societies in others parts of the world. To have this opportunity to talk with other mayors from other parts of the globe can bring us a lot of new ideas which can be implemented in our countries and in our cities.

I think I can bring some of my expertise as mayor of Bratislava. Before, I was member of the council of Bratislava, so I am sure that I can share some experiences with this forum about the social cohesion practice from our capital.

What do you expect about the decentralized cooperation between European Union, Latin American cities and your country?

As you know, we were a communist country for many years, after the period of the transformation and after this opening of our frontiers, we found that many of our things, for example buildings or our infrastructure in general, was damaged and very deteriorated.

For example we have buildings where people lives in which are very ugly, dangerous and unstable, so we have to find a plane of the recovery of that kind of building. We have such of plans of our country but with more help from European Union we can make this “reconstruction” faster than we can do it with our own founds.

I think this kind of events can make that other communities know our present and our needs. I think it is an opportunity to learn about the experience of other countries, and to find help we need, speaking about money, but also about different kind of public policy to establish.

The problem is not only about buildings or infrastructures. The problem is also about the surrounding and the renovations of the surrounding. It is not only about buildings where people want to live in, they also want places to relax, to read or to learn. This renovation is complex.

So if you make a list from the most important to the less important problems in your city, how could be this list?

The issue of urban renewal is the most important problem in my city.

The second question is transportation. The transport problem in cities is very important, for example, if you have a good transport network like you in Paris, the social cohesion could be obtained more easily. The access to this kind of public goods like transport or health is at the base of the social cohesion.

For example, quarters, districts or neighbourhoods with different access to these public goods, you can have some problems of social cohesion. So the key is to offer homogeneous public goods in all different districts in your city.

The third biggest problem in my city and in cities in general is the problem of primary education. Mayors and governors of local governments have the responsibility of the primary education. If they don’t emphasize in primary education and the development of a homogeneous primary education in all the regions, the problem in the society and the difference between classes will increase with the passing of years.

What about the cooperation that you receive nowadays from the other countries. Do you think this kind of cooperation could be more efficient? Do you think there is other kind of cooperating in a more efficient way?

In fact we are only at the beginning of the cooperation. We have adopted a plan between 2007 and 2013 and this cooperation just started. That’s why I can’t tell you if this cooperation could be more efficient. I think it is the moment to start programs and project between Bratislava and the European countries.

In the past we had some experience with European countries but it was more precisely about the “reconstruction” of west and central Europe, so it is the first time that we will start a decentralized cooperation with them.

What do you think about meeting mayors from all around the world that have so many differences in comparison with your city?

It will be a very enriching experience because citizens are the same in all around the world. As mayors, we have to establish the better public policies to increase their welfare. I think we can share the common experiences from Latin America and Caribbean and what we do in central Europe.

Citizens expect good surroundings for their life, parks, green areas; this is what mayors have to bring them. And it is the same in all cities in the world. The conditions are different, the money we use is different, but the needs and the expectation of people are the same.


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