From 29 October to 1 November the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) and Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) organized the third and final seminar of the 2015 Course for Promising Politicians (CPP) in Ljubljana, Slovenia. The candidates of this program are young and promising social democratic politicians from the countries of former Yugoslavia and Albania. This seminar zoomed in on the inner workings of the institutions that make up the EU, as well as the processes involved in the accession of new candidate member states. Additionally a large part of the program was used to simulate the accession process, not only to learn about the accession process in a practical fashion but also to practice negotiation techniques.
Day one: European Union & negotiations theory
The participants were welcomed by Ivana Racic, from the FES office in Serbia. Shortly thereafter FMS trainers Suzan Cornelissen and Marianna Tsirelson introduced themselves as well as the rest of the program. The first day was not just used to learn more about the inner workings and dynamics of the various EU institutions, but also to stimulate discussion and critically reflect on the European dream. The trainers also discussed some basics with the participants on the practice of “Lobbying in the EU”. As the first day came to a close, the trainers conducted a short simulation game in order to prepare the participants for the next day.
Day two: Simulation game with focus on the Balkans
During the second day the EU accession process was simulated. All participants had to play the relevant institutions (European Parliament, Commission and Council) or an applicant country. They did not only have to put the theory on the EU and negotiations from day one into practice, they also had to use their political, debating and public speaking skills. Because of this method the participants did not only learn about the workings of the EU institutions, but also on the dynamics of the institutions themselves as well as the interaction between them and the decision-making process.
The third and final day began with a guest lecture by Prof. Jernej Pikalo of the University of Ljubljana. He spoke about Slovenia’s road to EU accession, which was followed by questions from the participants. As the third day came to an end the participants were awarded with a certificate.
Course for Promising Politicians
Since 2003 the Promising Politicians Course has been organized three times annually. It includes seminars on ideology, media and communications skills and EU integration. The aim of the course is to introduce young politicians to the various aspects of political leadership, governance and the dynamics and structures of party policies. In addition, the organisers aim to create a network among young and politically active persons and to improve their knowledge on the political developments of countries in the region.
The first seminar of this year’s program took place in Montenegro and discussed the ideology and policies of social democracy and other mainstream political theories. The second seminar took place in Albania and focused on debating skills.