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Welcome to the Summer Seminar website!

The Summer Seminar is an annual forum for young public policy professionals from South Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region serving as a platform for discussion and networking among young state officials and representatives of think-tanks and research centers.

This long-term regional initiative was launched by the Economic Policy Institute (EPI) with the support of a joint project of the Bertelsmann Foundation and the World Bank in 2000 in order to contribute to meeting the most visible and pressing challenges for South-Eastern Europe (SEE) at that time. Since then, EPI continues building actively on this concept which initially targeted young state officials from Bulgaria and Romania working in the field of EU integration.

Throughout the years, the Summer Seminar initiative broadened significantly its scope and geographical coverage. The EU membership prospects for many countries along with the overall processes of democratic transformation and the deep-rooted socio-economic reforms paved the way for a gradual involvement of other countries from the Western Balkans and the Black Sea basin and as of today this traditional initiative covers 15 SEE and Black Sea countries – Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Georgia, Moldova, Montenegro, North Macedonia, Romania, Russia, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine.

Each year since 2000, after a competitive selection process, the Summer Seminar gathers app. 35 promising young professionals, coming nowadays from all the above-mentioned countries, for a week-long event in the vicinity of the city of Varna at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast. Thus, by bringing together this diverse group of participants to meet distinguished international experts and practitioners and to discuss not only topics of regional significance but also up-to-date issues in the field of the European politics and economy, EPI aims at encouraging the exchange of good practices in this part of Europe and creating an environment for successful professional networking.

Two Decades of Regional Cooperation and Public Policy Exchange in SEE and the Black Sea Region


2019 marks an important year in the development of the EPI’s traditional Summer Seminar for Young Public Policy Professionals from Southeastern Europe and the Black Sea region, as it marked the 20th anniversary of our long-term regional project. Within the last two decades the Summer Seminar proved to be not only a high-level expert forum for discussions on different public policy issues and EU affairs, but also a well-known and highly reputable regional initiative, which is actively contributing to the successful cooperation and networking among young public policy experts from SEE and Black Sea countries.

The 20th anniversary edition of the Summer Seminar entitled "Public Policy Challenges - European and Regional Dimensions" took place in the period June 3-7, 2019 in Albena complex (close to the city of Varna) – a symbolic location at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast for fostering regional cooperation between for SEE and Black Sea countries. The 2019 edition of the Summer Seminar was made possible thanks to the kind financial support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Black Sea Trust for Regional Cooperation, the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria, the Central European Initiative and the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria. 

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