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REC Bulgaria

REC Bulgaria implements its activities in cooperation with the government, local authorities, companies in the environmental sector, and private and state institutions. Its team of experienced staff assists in environmental problem solving at local level with international support from REC head office and in cooperation with Bulgarian partners. REC Bulgaria particiates in both regional projects and international initiatives.

REC Bulgaria supports NGOs, private and state institutions and other stakeholders in the environmental field in their role within a democratic and sustainable society. Projects are implemented by REC Bulgaria in the following areas:

  • Environmental capacity building
  • Environmental information dissemination
  • NGO support
  • Business and environment
  • Local initiatives
  • Public participation
  • Environmental policy
  • Climate change
  • Environmental law 

REC Bulgaria is the only organisation in Bulgaria legally connected with the Regional Environmental Center for Central and Eastern Europe. Any other organisation or individuals using our name have no affiliation with the REC, and have no endorsement to use the REC’s name and reputation.

Country office expertise

  • Development of educational materials and programmes for local sustainable development, biodiversity and nature conservation
  • Waste management, energy efficiency, water and air quality management, and the management of protected areas and Natura 2000 sites
  • Assistance for project development focused on EU Structural Funds
  • Training of local authorities, non-governmental organisations and businesses in the development of project proposals in the field of sustainable development
  • Support during the preparation of strategic documents, such as short-term and long-term strategies at local and national level
  • Organisation of information campaigns on various environmental topics
  • Support to transboundary cooperation
REC Bulgaria Team


Country Office Director


Ventzislav Vassilev

Ventzislav joined REC team in 2010. He has 15 years of professional experience in development, management and implementation of projects and consultancy services in the fields of water management, biodiversity and sustainable use of natural resources. He isMScin Ecology and Environmental protection, and has post-graduate education in GIS application in Forestry and Environmental protection.

He has broad knowledge and practical experience in Integrated River Basin Management including surface waters monitoring in compliance with WFD requirements, assessmentof the ecological status of water ecosystems, analysis of human pressures, integration of protected areas objectives and development of programmes of measures.

Ventzislav has also experience in implementation of the EU Bird Directive and Habitats Directive, including communication and management planning for Natura 2000 sites, conservation measures targeted at species and habitats, assessment of environmental impacts of policies, regulations and investment projects.


Project Manager


Lora Stoeva

She has a Masters in Environmental Monitoring and has 7 years of experience as Climate change expert with specific experience in LULUCF (Land use, Land-use change and Forestry).

Part of REC Bulgaria team since 2016.

Head office

Executive Director

Mihail Dimovski

Mihail Dimovski

Mihail Dimovski brings over 18 years of experience, 15 of them at senior level, in environment and climate change policy development, with a specific focus on EU legislation and the approximation process, multilateral initiatives and milestone regional platforms in Central and Eastern Europe, the European Union and beyond. He also has demonstrated experience in fundraising, as well as in the management and implementation of flagship initiatives and platforms supported by various technical assistance programmes.

Before coming back to the REC he worked for the Environment Agency Austria and for leading multinational consulting companies, with a senior role in project planning, acquisition and implementation. At the REC, he was responsible for the implementation of large regional projects and for the coordination of the Law Development, Enforcement and Compliance topic area.

Mr. Dimovski is a former member of the Executive Planning Committee of the International Network for Environmental Compliance and Enforcement (INECE) and of INTERPOL’s Pollution Crime Working Group. His work is highly regarded by decision makers and practitioners in the REC’s beneficiary countries, as well as by the European Commission, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe (OSCE), and other international organisations and governments that provide support to the region.

Deputy Executive Director, Environmental Policy Directorate (Acting)

Mihallaq Qirjo

Mihallaq Qirjo

Of Albanian nationality, Mihallaq Qirjo holds a PhD in applied ecology and has been involved in the environmental field since 1990. He was appointed head of the REC’s country office in Albania in 1994. In this role, he is involved in the design and implementation of environmental programmes and projects at national and regional level, with a focus on the development of environmental policies and institutions, capacity building, education and awareness raising. He is also a lecturer in ecology at Tirana University’s Faculty of Natural Sciences. He was appointed acting deputy executive director for environmental policy in September 2016.

Deputy Executive Director, Operations

Zoltan Erdelyi

Zoltan Erdelyi

Born in Zalaegerszeg, Hungary, Zoltan Erdelyi earned a master ' s degree in economics from the Budapest University of Economic Sciences (now Corvinus University) and the Freie Universitaet Berlin. He also studied in the United Kingdom and Spain. He is currently working towards a PhD in management sciences with Miskolc University.

He has 17 years' professional experience in the operational and financial fields of companies in Germany and Hungary. Before joining the REC, he worked for 13 years in management roles, from chief financial officer to deputy executive director for operations, at multinational companies in Hungary. For six years his tasks also included regional responsibilities for Central and Eastern European countries.

He became deputy executive director of the REC in May 2009.

Regional Director for South Eastern Europe

Gordana Kozhuharova

Gordana Kozhuharova

Gordana Kozhuharova is from Skopje, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. From 1998 until autumn 2008, she worked for the Macedonian Ministry for Environment and Physical Planning as head of the Department for Cooperation and Project Coordination.

Among her responsibilities was the coordination of the programming and implementation process of the EC’s Instrument for Pre-accession Assistance (IPA). She was senior programming officer for Component I and IPA coordinator for Component III under the IPA, dealing with the Operational Programme for Transport and the Environment. Between 2000 and 2003 she was head of the Division for Multilateral Cooperation, and from 2003 to 2007 she was head of the ministry’s Department for European Integration. She joined the REC in 2008 as regional director for South Eastern Europe (SEE). She is responsible for supervising and coaching REC country and field offices in the SEE region and, as one of REC’s senior managers, for supporting the REC’s strategic vision and programme planning for the region. She is currently completing post-graduate studies in environmental management. She speaks English and Macedonian.

Director of the Sustainable Development Academy

Janos Zlinszky

Janos Zlinszky

As director of the Sustainable Development Academy (SDA) he is involved in the design, management and teaching of the Course for Sustainability, a course for key government officials run in partnership with Venice International University and other academic institutions. The SDA also manages programmes for young leaders and promotes public education for sustainable development.

He is former head of the Department for Strategy and Research in the Office of the Parliamentary Commissioner for Future Generations. He also served as senior advisor on environmental policy to the president of Hungary, and as senior advisor to the executive director of the REC.

In 2003, he was visiting professor at the Ecole Superieure de Commerce et de Management (ESCEM, France), where he designed and taught a course on sustainable development. Earlier teaching and research experience includes work at Carleton University, Ottawa, and a fellowship with Cambridge University, where he taught courses in environmental politics as part of the MSc programme, and introductory courses for master's degrees in environmental law. In 1996, he set up the Department for Environment Studies at the Catholic University in Hungary and continues to serve as associate professor in the Department for Environmental Law and Competition Law in the Faculty of Law at Pazmany Peter Catholic University in Budapest.

Janos Zlinszky has published extensively and has presented at many conferences over the years. His qualifications include doctorates in natural sciences and environmental biology from the Eotvos Lorand University, Budapest, and a PhD from the University of Ulster, Coleraine, UK. He is a member of various academic societies and NGOs engaged in work for sustainability, among them Societas Internationalis Limnologiae, and the Balaton Group.

Director for International Cooperation and Strategy

Matthias Puhringer

Matthias Puhringer

Following legal training in Austria and Switzerland, Matthias Puhringer has focused throughout his academic and professional career on various aspects of international relations, development cooperation, EU affairs and their respective policies. Prior to joining the REC in 2010, Matthias Puhringer worked in the public service and civil society sector in the areas of public diplomacy, judicature, administration, and project and programme management in Austria and abroad. As director for international cooperation and strategy at the REC, he provides leadership and policy coordination in terms of the REC's relations with member states, resource partners and other cooperation partners; builds alliances and strategic partnerships for the REC; and contributes to the identification and implementation of innovations and continuous improvements that support organisational excellence. Since 2011, he has also served as acting director of the REC's offices in the Czech Republic and Slovakia.

Local office

Current staff

  • Ventzislav Vassilev, Country Office Director
  • Lora Stoeva, Project Manager