Looking to the Future of Local Self-Government in Bulgaria



Taking stock of the past 4 years of the current mandate – main findings, successful stories and lessons learned. These were just a few of the main topics of the discussion held during the last large forum for the current mandate of Bulgarian municipalities.

Mayors, municipal council chairs, secretaries, experts and other participants enjoyed two full days of workshops and discussions with Deputy Prime Minister, five ministers, Vice-President of the National Assembly and a deputy-minister as keynote speakers. They had the opportunity to exchange ideas on the future guidelines and framework for local self-government development in the upcoming 10 years and also to visit the traditional Municipal EXPO, dedicated to products and services for the municipalities.

Three parallel workshops took place on the first day of the event – “The Voice of the Mayors”; “Municipal Councils Stocktaking”; “The Expertise of the Municipal Secretaries and Experts”. The views, proposals and ideas gathered from the so called “main pillars” and driving force behind local democracy development – mayors, municipal council chairs, secretaries and experts – will be used as a starting point in the new municipal mandate.

The discussions with the representatives of the executive power focused on the following topics:

  • European and National Priorities for 2021-2027 – EU and national funds programming framework.
  • Operational Programme “Regional Development”: strategy and approach for comprehensive, integrated and sustainable local development.
  • Common Agricultural Policy: contribution to local communities and rural areas development.
  • Operational Programme “Environment” after 2020: support for greener investments and circular economy.
  • Improving child and school-based healthcare. New regulations on healthy nutrition for children in kindergartens and schools - concerns of the municipalities.
  • Municipal hospitals and their funding.
  • Implementing the new Social Services Act as of 2020. Personal assistance for people with disabilities and the role of the municipalities.
  • Control functions of municipalities assigned under the Copyright and Related Rights Act.
  • Education – higher control over the system of delegated budgets, vocation training and others.

At the end of the second day the traditional message to the municipal councilors and mayors from the next mandate 2019-2023 was agreed upon and it will be included in the Handbook for the newly elected official after the local elections in Bulgaria this autumn.

Family photo – first day of the Conference