Summer Seminar 2008

Summer Seminars » Summer Seminar 2008

For a ninth time in a row within the period June 09-14, 2008 the Economic Policy Institute (Sofia) successfully organized the traditional Summer Seminar for Young Public Servants from South Eastern Europe “Preparation for EU Accession”. The regional training took place on the Bulgarian Black Sea coast, “Albena resort” (www.albena.bg), near Varna. The event was carried out thanks to the kind financial support of the Swiss Agency for Development and Cooperation (Bern), the Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria (Sofia), the Hanns Seidel Foundation (Sofia), the UNDP (Sofia), the Austrian Embassy to Bulgaria (Sofia) and the DZI Bank (Sofia).

As a tradition the Summer Seminar was organized in a friendly and multicultural environment where the free transfer of knowledge and know-how was successfully combined with exchanges of experience and best practices drawn from the different administrative systems in the Balkan region. The five-day long training academy gathered more than 70 persons among which EU/SEE lecturers, honorary guests, representatives of academic and business circles, SEE participants, etc. The participants came from ten countries from South Eastern Europe: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia and Turkey (List of Participants). Some of the institutions presented were:

-    Central Finance and Contracting Agency, Zagreb;
-    Council of Ministers of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo;
-    Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria, Sofia;
-    European Commission, Brussels;
-    European Commission Representation in Bulgaria, Sofia;
-    European Union Integration Office, Government of Serbia, Belgrade;
-    Government of Romania, Bucharest;
-    Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich & Sofia;
-    Ministry of Agriculture and Food Supply, Sofia;
-    Ministry of Defence, Sofia;
-    Ministry of European Integration, Tirana;
-    Ministry of Finance in Belgrade / Podgorica / Skopje / Sofia / Zagreb / Bucharest;
-    Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Podgorica / Sofia;
-    Ministry of Health and Social Welfare, Zagreb;
-    Ministry of Health, Sofia;
-    Ministry of Industry and Infrastructure, Chisinau;
-    Ministry of Justice, Sofia;
-    Ministry of Labour and Social Policy, Skopje;
-    Ministry of State Administration and Administrative Reform, Sofia;
-    Ministry of Transport, Sofia;
-    Partners for Financial Stability Program, Warsaw;
-    Secretariat-General for European Union Affairs, Ankara;
-    Secretariat for European Affairs, Skopje;
-    Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, Brussels;
-    UNDP (Bulgaria), Sofia;
-    Union of European Federalists Austria, Vienna.

The Program of the five-day long seminar was very intensive. It combined both panel session presentations and working group discussions. The agenda was divided into the following thematic panels (Program):

-    PANEL: The Process of EU Integration – the Pre-accession Experience of Bulgaria and Romania;
-    PANEL: The Process of EU Integration – Challenges to the Candidate Countries;
-    PANEL: The Process of EU Integration – the Potential Candidate Countries;
-    PANEL: The Enlarged European Union – Economic Expectations and Tasks;
-    PANEL: Challenges in the EU Integration Process: Financial Aspects;
-    PANEL: The Western Balkans – Different Aspects of European Integration;
-    PANEL: Good Governance Policies in South Eastern Europe;
-    PANEL: The External Relations of the European Union;
-    PANEL: The Future of the EU.

The successfully conducted ninth consecutive edition of the traditional Summer Seminar had a number of positive effects on its specific target group - young representatives of the public administration structures of the ten mentioned above SEE states. The current edition of the training directly contributed to further increasing the administrative and professional capacity of the SEE young public servants, as a result of the exchanged experience, best practices and know-how among them. During the event, the representatives of the targeted public administrations had the opportunity to discuss among themselves important and up-to-date topics of common concern, as well as to share their personal experience and skills. Thus, the participants in the event established stable contacts and reached some common solutions of similar problems. The higher communication and closer cooperation among the young public servants ensured their better preparedness for dealing with the future challenges and problems in their daily work.

In various informal discussions during the five-day long seminar on the Bulgarian Black-Sea coast, the participants pointed out as a serious asset of the training, the high quality of the lecturers and the excellent organization of the event. According to the get feedbacks (via e-mails/telephone calls) the organized by EPI training seminar, was a success. Some of the impressing letters we got immediately after the seminar could be partially summed-up as follows:

Alisa Tumpa (Croatia) - it was a very interesting seminar. We all have broadened our knowledge about Europe and our neibourghood countries. We were lucky that we were also good company and that is good basis for our further cooperation. Thank you for your hospitability. Hope to meet you again.

Amela Alihodzic (Bosnia and Herzegovina) - once again I would like to cordially thank to EPI for being invited to speak during the Summer Seminar in Albena; it was the precious experience for me, especially to meet you all from EPI and the colleagues from the region. Also, your exceptional hospitality made my stay in Albena unforgettable. It will be my privilege and pleasure to continue the cooperation with EPI. Looking very much in advance to welcome you soon in Sarajevo, I remain very sincerely yours.

András Inotai (Brussels) - Many thanks again for the invitation, I had an excellent time in Albena. Congratulations to the organization of this very productive event.

Andrei Aculov (Moldova) - Thanks a lot for a great organization of Summer Seminar 2008, especially to Plamena, Desislava, Dr.Petkova, Yasen, Kalin and Dragomir. I found a lot of new friends.. I would be glad to be invited once again at this seminar in 2009 and will appreciate if you invite me as a speaker.

Benedicte Contamin (France) - It was a pleasure attending the Summer Seminar, and Bulgaria, through the Economic Policy Institute, certainly makes a valuable contribution to the cause of stability in SEE. I am certain that Bulgaria's and Romania's experience as new EU Member States is worth being shared with future Member States from the Western Balkans, and the young civil servants from the region must have benefited from that experience.

Dragan Tilev (Macedonia) - Let me first thank you and your colleagues for excellent organization of the Seminar and for giving me opportunity to talk about Macedonian (and my personal) experience. It was pleasure for me to be in Albena (wonderful place) and to be part of your event.

Dušan Carkic (Serbia) - Dear all, First of all I would like to thank you for invitation and hospitality. I must say that it was a great pleasure and honor for me to participate in the interesting and useful summer seminar. It gave me opportunity to hear so many different views on EU issues and to meet a lot of interesting people. I hope that we will increase our cooperation and I look forward to future meeting.

Egla Gollaj (Albania) - Dear friends, Let me thank the EPI once again for organising this Seminar and also all of you, for the time we have spent together. For me it was a very interesting experience. Congratulations for Bosnia & Herzegovina, for the SAA signement!

Franz Cermak (Brussels) - Great event, good location, very interesting presentations.. Best wishes and good luck for your future endeavors..

Geoffrey Mazullo (Poland) - It was an honor and a pleasure to participate in this year’s Summer Seminar. Thanks again for the invitation. I found the Summer Seminar enlightening, interesting and extremely useful. Congratulations on a fantastic event!

Hristo Yovkov (Bulgaria) - I am very grateful that I have the opportunity to attend the seminar and participate in this important part of our education. It was very helpful to me to learn so much and I hope to share what I’ve learned with members of my colleagues. I would like to take this opportunity to thank you for presenting such an excellent review lectures and I am most grateful for the time and effort that you put into preparing the seminar. I am sure that this seminar series will continue into the future and I do hope that we will be able to have the opportunity to join your future events.

Sabina Dipalo (Croatia) - many thanks to all of you, Plamena, Yasen, Dr. Petkova and others, for giving us a really unique experience to be part of your summer seminar. It seems somehow insufficient to use any phrase for describing how good it was to participate in that event. Maybe you'll all laugh now, but I simply have to say that whenever I think of the last week - a line from one of Cher's songs comes to my mind automatically - it's, of course, "If I could turn back time"..

Vladimir Ateljević (Serbia) - The pleasure was all mine. Firstly I would like to congratulate you on an excellent organization and so many valuable contacts and I may say friendships we've made. If you find it useful and worthy Serbian European Integration Office and my self are fully at your disposal at any time. We would be very glad to continue such a successful cooperation.