The Dutchman Jakob van Beylen, who is a municipal councilor in Veliko Tarnovo and a passionate collector of Bulgarian carpets, was a guest of the current cohort of the National Program of BSoP. He spoke to the participants about the voting rules in the parliament and municipal councils and made a comparison between Bulgaria and the Netherlands. In his homeland, the option of “abstaining” in decision-making does not exist. Jakob van Bailen also touched on the issue of criticism of his own party. At the end of his participation, he showed the participants specially brought by him Chiprovtsi carpets, which are part of his collection of nearly 590 ancient Bulgarian carpets.
The second day of the second course began with a panel on the municipal budget. Zdravko Sechkov, Executive Director of the Foundation for Local Government Reform, acquainted the trainees with the legal basis for its compilation, as well as with its structure. Donka Mihailova – Mayor of Troyan, Elena Baltadzhieva – Mayor of Kavarna and Lilia Donkova – Mayor of the Kremikovtzi district of Sofia shared their practical experience in compiling the municipal budget and the opportunities to implement policies through it.
Refugee inclusion policies at the local level were also a topic discussed during the day. Lecturers included Narasimha Rao, a representative of the UNHCR to Bulgaria, Bonka Vasileva, a member of the 45th National Assembly, and Dr. Sagar Al-Anezi, a member of the Refugee Advisory Council. Philanthropy was the last topic of this training day. Iliana Nikolova, Executive Director of the Workshop for Civic Initiatives Foundation, spoke about donations as an opportunity for local development. Lidia Chorbanova, Ivan Velkov and Kalina Georgieva, graduates of BSoP in different years, shared with the participants the realized donation causes of their cohorts.