2011: Central and Eastern Europe’s Transition and Change in the Middle East

Annual Conference

Sofia Platform: Central and Eastern Europe’s Transition and Change in the Middle East

Sofia Platform emerged as an initiative aiming to bridge the experience of the countries from Central and Eastern Europe to the countries in transition in the Middle East and North Africa on a longer term. Founded by the Bulgarian Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the kick-off Annual Conference “Central and Eastern Europe’s Transition and Change in the Middle East” sketched the broad framework within which topics of relevance for the countries in transition can be tackled.

Organized around 6 panels dealing with political transition, the role of civil society and media, strategies of anti-corruption and reformation of the political institutions, the first conference in a row identified some areas of a particular importance to be dealt with timely. Among these, the participants identified the security sector reform, transitional justice, building administrative institutional capacity, building strong think-tank communities, etc. In series of follow-up events the platform continued to offer its participants both continuation and deepening in the processing of the respective topics. In this context the countries from the MENA region could both step on the pool of good practice examples and learn how to avoid possible mistakes.

The Conference included also keynote speeches from Nickolay Mladenov, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bulgaria; Thorbjørn Jagland, Secretary-General of the Council of Europe and Asta Skaisgirytė Liauškienė, Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs of Lithuania, representative of the OSCE Chairmanship, as well as a presentation on Capacity Building for Democratic Institutions provided by the network of Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe.

For more details on the discussions which took place during the different panels of the Conference, please follow the links below:

Panel 1: The Political Transition

Panel 2: Civil Society and Free Media

Panel 3: Anti-corruption Strategies

Panel 4: Reforming Political Institutions

Panel 5: What Future Role for the EU in the MENA Region?

Panel 6: The Way Ahead