Summer Seminar 2013

Summer Seminars » Summer Seminar 2013

For a fourteenth consecutive year the Economic Policy Institute organized its traditional Summer Seminar for Young Public Policy Professionals from South Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region. This year’s seminar was held in the period June 3 - 7, 2013 in Flamingo Hotel Complex, Albena thanks to the kind financial support of the Hanns Seidel Stiftung and the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria.

The 14th Summer Seminar edition entitled "Public Policy Challenges - European and Regional Dimensions" brought together a diverse group of 32 promising young public policy professionals from state institutions and policy-oriented research centers of nine of the targeted SEE and Black Sea countries. Traditionally, the already well-known and highly recognizable international seminar gathered also a great number of distinguished speakers - international and local experts, ambassadors, practitioners and academics from the EU-member states, international organizations, as well as from the SEE and the Black Sea region. Amongst this year’s reputable contributors were:
• H.E. John Rowan, Ambassador of Ireland to Bulgaria, Sofia;
• H.E. Mladen Andrlić, Ph.D., Director of the Diplomatic Academy, Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Republic of Croatia;
• Ognian Zlatev, Head of EC Representation in Bulgaria, Sofia;
• Kristalina Georgieva, European Commissioner for International Cooperation, Humanitarian Aid and Crisis Response;
• Willem Noë, Policy Officer, DG Enlargement, European Commission, Brussels;
• Ivan Curzolo, Director, South East Europe Transnational Cooperation Programme;
• Roussi Ivanov, Director General for EU Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria;
• Dr. Kaloyan Simeonov, Assistant Professor, Department of European Studies, Sofia University;
• Stanislav Daskalov, Head of Liaison Office in Brussels, Regional Cooperation Council;
• H.A.Prof. Mimi Kornazheva, PhD, Director of BRIE, University of Ruse;
• Dr. Kiril Velichkov, Head of Department “European Projects and Financial Institutions”, CIBANK, Sofia;
• Dr. Kiril Avramov, Department of Political Science, New Bulgarian University, Sofia.

By introducing important and up-to-date issues, relevant not only for the EU member states but affecting also the countries with future membership perspective as well as the EU neighboring countries, this year’s prominent lecturers provoked the attention of the participating young experts, which resulted in fruitful discussions and deliberations. A very pleasant coincidence made possible also the participation of Commissioner Kristalina Georgieva, who addressed the audience at the closing session of the Summer Seminar. 

The key topics on the 2013 Summer Seminar agenda were as follows:
• EU during the Irish Presidency;
• The New EC Approach towards the Membership Negotiating Countries and the Experience of Bulgaria from the Fifth Enlargement of the EU;
• Facing Common Challenges through International Cooperation;
• Future-oriented Public Policies;
• Multilevel Governance;
• Countries’ Image as a Factor Fostering Regional Cooperation;
• Economic Challenges and Regional Competitiveness;
• Croatia on the Threshold of the EU;
• Future EU Enlargement;
• The Future of the Economic and Monetary Union and How it Will Shape the Future of the EU;

This year’s seminar agenda successfully combined the panel sessions and honorary speeches with plenty of interactive sessions, which additionally contributed for the better exchange of knowledge, experience, constructive ideas and best practices among the participating young public policy professionals. The methods of the World Café and the Public Debate were successfully incorporated in the seminar’s program and all the participants acknowledged the importance of such an approach for their better preparedness for tackling the future challenges in their everyday work, as well as for increasing their professional skills and capabilities. In addition, collaborative tasks on Country Branding and Public Diplomacy, specially prepared by the EPI team, provoked active discussions, leading to mutual learning and exchange of know-how and experience.

One of the main messages outlined during the 14th seminar edition „Even in times of crises, we have to be more united” showed once again the necessity of the implementation of such fruitful regional initiatives, which are leading to successful transfer of knowledge, best practices, ideas and experience amongst the future leaders from the SEE and Black Sea countries. Throughout the years the annual training seminars have proved to be encouraging the face-to-face dialogue and promoting regular cooperation and networking not only among the young public officials of the targeted countries, but also between the SEE and Black Sea young experts and high-level officials from EU institutions, member countries’ decision-makers, think-tanks, etc. Thus, the Summer Seminar proved once again that it is a successful initiative, which is of great importance for increasing the administrative and professional capacity of the SEE and Black Sea young public policy professionals, as well as for enhancing the cooperating and networking in the region.