“IN THE CURRENT CIRCUMSTANCES, THE UNITY OF THE EU IS KEY.”

The FEPS Foundation’s “Ones to Watch” program is an initiative launched in 2015 as an alternative, innovative approach to the challenges we face, especially in Central and Eastern Europe. The program covers a group of 11 countries that joined the EU in 2004, 2007 and 2013.

During the 2-day course, the participants looked for progressive solutions to modern, multifaceted crises that plague not only the EU, but the whole world, they talked about the social democratic model for a more united, fair and egalitarian EU, ways to achieve lasting peace, and they touched also the upcoming EU elections. The participants, who came from the countries of Central and Eastern Europe: Slovenia, Croatia, Romania, Bulgaria, Hungary, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, also had the opportunity to meet with representatives of the PSD party, the Social Democratic Party of Romania, with representatives of the foundation Stânga Democratică (FSD), a progressive think-tank founded in March 2015, which is also a branch of FEPS and belongs to a family with a social democratic worldview. Among others, the program participants also attended a reception at the Victoria Palace, where they were received by government representatives, with whom they had the opportunity to learn more about the functioning of the Romanian government, their priorities and the work they plan until the end of the mandate.

Maja Mohar pointed out that the “Ones to Watch” program is crucial especially from the point of view that it enables the participants to have a lot of informal socializing, exchange of views and thus get to know the structure and operation of related foundations in the countries of Central and Eastern Europe.

As she mentioned herself, socializing with various representatives of local politics was very close to her personally, because as the president of the local community in her place she faces very similar challenges.

At the end of the program, the participants discussed individual “country reports”, reports on the situation in the countries from which the participants came. According to Maja Mohar, this is an excellent way to get to know the structure of another country and get acquainted with the state of the political culture of each country. They talked about the state of social democracy in their countries, addressed the problems caused by corruption, touched on the war in Ukraine and the effects it has on the state of Central and Eastern European countries.

The event was co-organized by the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Stanga Democratica.

In the gallery below, some highlights from the “Ones to Watch” program.