(July 8th-10th, 2012, Kopaonik, Serbia)
The Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, in cooperation with the Center for Social Dialogue and Regional Initiatives from Belgrade and the Embassy of the United States in Serbia, organized a three day seminar, entitled “The Experience of Bulgaria in the EU Accession and Membership Process – Recommendations for Serbia”.
The seminar aimed at promoting cooperation between students, young professionals and academics from Serbia and Bulgaria and bringing closer European integration experience of Bulgaria to the Serbian students and Serbian public in general. The case of Bulgaria’s EU membership experience can be really valuable for Serbia’s future accession negotiations, the use of EU pre-accession funds, and the corruption problems. By the structure of its political system, structure of economy, major developmental issues, population and culture, Serbia and Bulgaria are very similar to each other.
The goal of the project was to make a connection between the young population in the two countries and to make an opportunity for them to educate and inform each other about major challenges and obstacles that Bulgaria was facing during its EU integration process and what Serbia can learn from Bulgarian experience. This contact and joint work experience was also an opportunity for establishing a new friendship and partnership relations between Bulgarian and Serbian young leaders.
The conference consisted of two parts. Its first part consisted of a panel discussion on topics about the Bulgarian experience of EU accession and membership in three opening panels. On the second day, students were divided into three groups, where they had workshops and training on the three most important topics of EU accession process, and from which Serbia can learn from Bulgaria the most. Those are: Fighting corruption; Economy, Finances and Trade ; Harmonization of foreign policy of Bulgaria and Serbia with Foreign policy of the EU.
The Bulgarian lecturers, presenting Bulgaria in the event were:
Solomon Passy, President of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria, Former Minister of Foreign Affairs
Gergana Passy, President of the Paneuropean Movement – Bulgaria, Former Minister of European Affairs
Maxim Behar, Member of the Atlantic Club of Bulgaria
Milen Keremedchiev, Former Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs
Tihomir Bezlov, Expert, Center for the Study of Democracy
Kalin Marinov, Executive Director, Economic Policy Institute