More than 400 participants and guests worked together in Varna from the 13th to the 16th June in the framework of the European Conference and the accompanying events of EASPD and NASO.
NASO President met with EASPD Secretary General
A meeting was held between EASPD Secretary General Luk Zelderloo and NASO President Georgi Georgiev, in his capacity as an EASPD Board member, in Sofia on 10 October 2017. The meeting was part of the official visit programme of Mr Zelderloo to Bulgaria on the occasion of the organisation of a European conference of EASPD the following year.
Mr Zelderloo confirmed his positive impression of NASO's work as a representative of the European Association for Bulgaria, emphasizing its full cooperation with partner institutions, municipalities and NGOs in relation to social services provision and management and disability policy advocacy in Bulgaria. He believed that this high-level partnership with state institutions was a remarkable achievement for NASO and a great contribution to NASO members. Mr Zelderloo appreciated the effective cooperation between NASO, in its capacity as the largest social service provider in Bulgaria, and local authorities all over the country.
They discussed the forthcoming European Conference of EASPD, NASO, and MLSP in Varna, in particular its organisation, programme, participants, topics for discussion, partners, and the key issues to be raised with the stakeholders and the responsible institutions from Bulgaria and Europe. It was decided to hold the conference on social economy during the first half of 2018. EASPD conferences are the European largest forums for social service providers, social service specialists, social enterprises, disability-related experts and interested bodies. The conference will bring together the deepest expertise in this area and will provide a unique opportunity to work simultaneously for European and national social policies. Between 300 and 400 attendees are expected to be present, there will be sharing of good experience and practices from different countries, as well as multilateral and in-depth discussions. For this purpose, various thematic workshops will be set up, and small seminars, panel discussions, etc. will be organized.
During the meeting a broad discussion took place about the need to place the conference’s focus on social entrepreneurship and its relevance to the social services sector in accordance with the Bulgarian needs and conditions.
As an EASPD Board member, Mr Georgiev will update the Board on how the organizing process of the conference is going on at an EASPD Board meeting at the end of October this year.
Mr Zelderloo and Mr Georgiev also discussed the most important points of the Bulgarian legislation that should be brought into line with the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities. “It is important that Bulgaria should send such messages to Europe through its legislative changes during the Bulgarian presidency of the Council of the EU,” Mr Zelderloo stressed.
The meeting outlined the joint activities of EASPD and NASO by the end of 2017, as well as their action plan for the following year and their long-term activity programme aiming at helping the best European legislative practices in supporting people with disabilities become part of the Bulgarian reality and achieve better opportunities for people with disabilities and social service providers in Bulgaria. The 2018 visits of Mr Zelderloo to Bulgaria were also agreed.