The New Political Generation: Investing in Skills
From 27 February until 4 March the European Forum organised a youth seminar "The new political generation: investing in skills" in Sofia, Bulgaria. This seminar was one of the "networking for democracy seminars, which have taken place annually since 1997. The aim of these seminars is to expand the network of the European Forum and to train new contact persons for the country updates editor.
Invited were representatives of the social democratic parties of the Stability Pact countries, including Moldova. Represented were 4 Serb parties (including Djindjic’ Democratic Party, Civic Alliance, Social Democratic Union, Socialdemocracy ), 5 Bulgarian parties (Euroleft, new movement Socialdemocrats, Socialist Party, Social Democratic Party, United Labour Block), 2 Romanian parties (Democratic Party, Social Democratic Party), 1 Montenegrin party (Djukanovic’ Democratic Party of Socialists), 1 Albanian (Socialist Party), 1 Molodovan (Democratic Party), 1 Macedonian (Social Democratic Union) and 1 party from Slovenia (United List of Social Democrats).
The seminar was divided in a practical and a theoretical part. For the practical part a Dutch trainer from the Alfred Mozer Foundation, Gregor Niessen, was asked. He intoduced the SWOT analysis to the participants and trained with them the making of SWOT – analyses, writings skills, objectivity and country updates criteria. For the theoretical part two Europarliamentarians, Hannes Swoboda and Jan Marinus Wiersma, gave a contribution about respectively the use of internet in politics, political skills, and the Stability Pact. An independent Bulgarian political scientist, working at the political department of the University of Sofia (and allied to the BSP of Bulgaria) held a lecture on the political landscape of Bulgaria. At the end of the seminar the participants were asked to write a report about the seminar or about the political situation in their country and to give their comments to the existing updates on their country. This way the participants were given the opportunity to bring the acquired knowledge and skills into practice.
Parallel to the seminar a special programme was set up. PES co-ordinator for East Central Europe Friedrich Roll, PES Vice-President Jan Marinus Wiersma and Leader of the Parliamentary Group, Hannes Swoboda held talks with the 5 leaders of the Bulgarian left. They showed their support to the recently formed left alliance (excluding Euroleft).
The participants were very enthousiastic about the seminar.They liked the combination of the pratical exercises with the theoretical part. For the Forum it was also a fruitful and enriching week. A new network of contact persons has been established and a substantial amount of documents with actual information on the countries concerned has been gathered. Since the end of the seminar there has been frequent email contact between the country updates editor on one side and the participants on the other side as well as between the participants themselves. There is a beginning of an initiative from the Serb and Albanian participants to organise an informal meeting with more representatives of the countries/ parties.