From 6 November to 13 November, the International Meeting of the project SPECIAL – Solidarity Purposes Enhance Cooperation Initiatives And Learning, funded by the Europe for Citizens Programme in the framework of the Town Twinning action, took place in the municipality of Bükkábrány, a municipality located in the province of Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén.

The project SPECIAL was led by the organisation MOKLASZ, which coordinated a partnership composed of the local council of the municipality of Swieqi (Malta), the municipality of Vallerano (Italy), the association NikArt Journey (Cyprus), the municipality of Gallese (Italy) and the municipality of Jevisovice (Czech Republic).

The International Meeting of SPECIAL allowed the meeting of delegations from different countries, who were able to dialogue and exchange opinions and ideas in an environment that fostered cooperation between different municipalities and associations. Cooperation between small local realities fosters the emergence of bottom-up collaborations, encouraging the enlargement of the exchange network of European municipalities, which are geographically and culturally different but united by shared European values.

The meeting had the structure of a Conference and three Workshops, with a common thread linking the topics, which was solidarity, and moments dedicated to the discovery of the local culture.

The first day started with a welcome to the delegations and the local community by the mayor of Bükkábrány, preceded by the president of the organization MOKLASZ. Both the president of the organization and the mayor stressed the importance of holding events where cooperation and collaboration play a primary role, and how important it was to hold this event after the emergency we experienced and are still experiencing. Afterwards, the Workshop “The action of local administrations in preventing economic hardship and cultural deprivation in the youth sector” took place. The delegations presented their municipalities and the policies they are pursuing in this field. The second part of the day was dedicated to the 2nd part of the Workshop “The local fiscal system: how the tax income helps small administration in supporting the community”, in which Tax Experts from MOKLASZ presented the fiscal system in Hungary and the other delegations presented their local fiscal system.

The second day was dedicated to the Workshop “The local fiscal system: the support to the community and the Covid-19 experience”. During this part the delegations presented the implemented policies for the COVID-19 Pandemic and the European support in them. Subsequently, the delegations were called to share their point of view in the debate dedicated to the perception of European policies in everyday life. The debate produced interesting insights, that were shared with the other participants.

The following days were dedicated to team-building activities and discovering local culture and traditions: the delegations had the opportunity to visit Mezőkövesd and listen to the stories of local craftsmen, to make an interactive visit to the archaeological exhibition in Bükkábrány, to visit the social farm run by the Hungarian Red Cross and to taste local food and drinks, as well as to attend the performance presented by the actress from the Hungarian National Theater Nelli Szűcs, entitled “Sári Fedák’s life”.

The mayor of Bükkábrány, Szabolcs Szalai, declared: “This experience allowed us to get to know our municipality and the people who live there. I am very happy to have hosted this event: my municipality has hosted delegations from other European countries and worked with them in a general climate of cooperation and collaboration”.