Summer Seminar 2014

Summer Seminars » Summer Seminar 2014


2014 marked an important milestone in the history of the EPI traditional Summer Seminar for Young Public Policy Professionals from South Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region – namely its 15th anniversary. This year the traditional regional initiative took place within the period June 1 - 5, 2014 in Albena resort at the Bulgarian Black Sea coast thanks to the kind financial support of the Hanns Seidel Foundation, the Representation of the European Commission in Bulgaria and the Austrian Embassy in Bulgaria.

The 15th jubilee edition of the EPI Summer Seminar entitled "Public Policy Challenges - European and Regional Dimensions" provoked the attention of a great number of public policy professionals from state institutions and policy-oriented research centers of the SEE and Black Sea countries. However, after a competitive selection process, only 33 young and proactive public policy experts were chosen for participation in the prestigious international forum. The anniversary edition of the EPI regional initiative also gathered over 20 honorary guests and distinguished speakers – high-level officials from EU institutions, notable experts from international and regional organizations, ambassadors, representatives of well-known and reputable NGOs and think-tanks in Europe, practitioners and academics from the EU-member states, the SEE and Black Sea countries. The distinguished speakers who contributed to this year’s Summer Seminar were:
Ambassador Traian Chebeleu, Deputy Secretary General of the BSEC Permanent International Secretariat;
Dr. Klaus Fiesinger, Head of Department of Central, Eastern and South-Eastern Europe, Hanns Seidel Foundation, Munich;
H.E. Dimosthenis Stoidis, Ambassador of the Hellenic Republic to Bulgaria, Sofia;
Dr. Arnold Kammel, Secretary General, Austrian Institute for European and Security Policy (AIES);
Paul Ivan, Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre (EPC), Brussels;
Dr. Kaloyan Simeonov, Chief Expert in the Ministry of Finance of the Republic of Bulgaria and Assistant Professor in the Department of European Studies of Sofia University;
Tanya Mihaylova, Director of the Diplomatic Institute, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria;
Monika Panayotova, Member of European Parliament GERB/EPP;
Ognian Zlatev, Head of EC Representation in Bulgaria, Sofia;
Robin Brooks, Deputy Chief - Political/Economic Section, U.S. Embassy Sofia;
Ulrike Hauer, Head of Sector for ENP Policy and Process, European External Action Service;
Lothar Jaschke, Head of Section- Political Press and Information, European Union Delegation to Sierra Leone;
H.E. Marián Jakubócy, Ambassador Extraordinary and Plenipotentiary of the Slovak Republic to the Republic of Bulgaria;
Prof. Dr. Gabriela Drăgan, General Director, European Institute of Romania;
Stanislav Daskalov, Head of Liaison Office in Brussels, Regional Cooperation Council;
Marin Lessenski, Program Director, Open Society Institute, Sofia;
Dr. Evgeni Evgeniev, Economist, World Bank; Associate Professor at VUZF University;
Eolina Milova, Senior Operations Officer, Sustainable Development Department, World Bank Country Office Bulgaria;
Dana Onofrei, Programming officer, Ministry of Regional Development and Public Administration of Romania, Joint Managing Authority for the Joint Operational Programme „Black Sea Basin 2007-2013”;
Irena Mladenova, Associate, Economic Policies, Office of the President of the Republic of Bulgaria;
Pavel Ivanov, Secretary of the Administrative Reform Council, Council of Ministers of the Republic of Bulgaria;
Saša Ojdanić, First counsellor, Mission of the Republic of Serbia to the EU.

The five-day long international forum offered a diverse agenda which led to fruitful and lively discussions between the participating young experts and the prominent speakers, as well as to effective communication and valuable networking among the young public policy professionals which took part in the initiative. This year the participating young experts had the opportunity to discuss variety of important and up-to-date topics concerning not only the future public policy challenges, but also the challenges and perspectives in the EU politics and economy, the regional cooperation in the SEE and Black Sea region, the transformation and integration processes, etc.

The key topics on the 2014 Summer Seminar agenda were as follows:
• Transformation and Integration Processes in Europe - Current Challenges and Future Perspectives;
• Public Policy Challenges;
• Political Challenges before the SEE and Black Sea Countries;
• Economic Challenges and Regional Competitiveness in SEE and the Black Sea Region;
• International and Regional Cooperation in SEE and the Black Sea Region;
• Enhancing the Transatlantic Economic Cooperation;
• European Union External Relations – Views from Inside;
• Public Policies to Leverage Competitiveness;
• EU During the Greek Presidency;
• The Future of Europe.  

Besides actively participating in the thought-provoking panel sessions, the seminar participants had the opportunity also to exchange their experience, know-how, views and ideas during the interactive sessions included in the seminar’s agenda. The method of the World Café, which has already become a traditional one for the EPI Summer Seminars, was welcomed by the participants with enthusiasm. They defined such kind of practice-oriented approaches as very useful and valuable for enhancing their professional skills and communication capabilities. The specially prepared by the EPI team task for the participants on the Europe’s Future Challenges and Perspectives additionally contributed for the better collaboration and the more effective networking among the young specialists.

The 15th Summer Seminar once again proved that the EPI annual forum for young public policy professionals from South Eastern Europe and the Black Sea region is not only increasing the administrative and professional capacity of the future leaders from these countries through the successful transfer of experience, know-how, best practices and ideas, but it is also significantly contributing for enhancing the regional cooperation, as well as for thriving an effective collaboration and networking not only among the public administration structures 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.

This year’s seminar edition was also highly evaluated by the participating young experts in their Evaluation forms. The SEE and Black Sea public policy professionals have expressed also their admirations for the high level of the speakers and the topical agenda, their satisfaction from the excellent organization of the seminar, as well as their gratitude to the organizations that kindly supported the seminar.

The successful implementation of the 2014 Summer Seminar anniversary edition and its high appreciation both by the speakers and participants make us proud of the seminar achievements and of the fifteen years of its tradition and encourage us to further develop this fruitful initiative!