Fruitful discussions, exchange of best practices and new contacts with local authorities from Hungary
Last week a delegation from Hungary, consisting of 44 mayors, deputy-mayors, experts and representatives of the Hungarian National Association of Local Authorities (TÖOSZ) visited Bulgaria. The study visit was organized in close cooperation between NAMRB and TÖOSZ and is part of the Best Practices of Local Governments Program in Hungary 2019.
The main topics of interest discussed during the four days’ visit were social services for elderly, Roma inclusion and democratic participation. As part of the programme the delegation had two days of panel sessions with speakers from different Bulgarian municipalities and a day and a half for field visits in Plovdiv, Peshtera and Sofia Municipality. They also met with the Secretariat of the National Council for Cooperation on Ethnic and Integration Issues at the Council of Ministers.
NAMRB Executive Director Ms. Silviya Georgieva and her Hungarian counterpart emphasized the similarities in the historical development of the political regimes in both countries and their impact on local self-government organization. Considering that it is only natural that Bulgaria and Hungary face similar challenges at local level and implement common approaches and solutions, which in the end contributes also to the fruitful exchange and added value of the discussions between the two countries.
On the first day of the visit NAMRB team presented the local self-government system in Bulgaria with focus on social service for elderly, fight against discrimination and social inclusion of vulnerable groups. The Hungarian delegation was also informed about the procedures held in Bulgaria on awarding the European Label of Governance Excellence (ELoGE) to local authorities having achieved a high overall level of good governance across the Council of Europe 12 Principles of Good Governance.
During the second day the speakers from Montana, Veliko Tarnovo and Tundzha municipalities presented their best practices and concrete examples in the sphere of democratic participation, social services for elderly and Roma inclusion.
The field trip to the Complex for Social Services in Plovdiv included a visit to the social enterprises on the territory of the complex and demonstration of all services provided, including music therapy, therapeutic horseback riding, sports (judo, golf), tailoring etc. In Peshtera the delegation had an exchange on a new municipal project supporting local Roma citizens for acquiring own property and legal house construction.
The Hungarian delegation expressed satisfaction with both the information received and the discussions held. Despite the differences in the administrative systems in the two countries, the local government authorities are sparing no efforts for elaborating effective approaches in solving existing problems and challenges.
Photo: Welcoming Speech by Ms. Silviya Georgieva, Executive Director NAMRB
Photo: Field visit in Peshtera Municipality, Bulgaria