The event took place between Oct 26 to 28th, 2023 in Veliko Tarnovo (Bulgaria)

On 26th of October 2023 in the morning, the international participants had a history hunt “Europe in Veliko Tarnovo – shared values, shared future”. The participants visited the hall where the first democratic Bulgarian Constitution was adopted and UNESCO heritage site in the village of Arbanassi. They had a discussion how values unite Europeans.

On 26th of October 2023, the international participants were joined by the domestic participants. Over 70 representatives of Bulgarian NGOs, the network of Europe Direct, EDC, educators, decision makers, young people, journalists from 14 different towns from the country, joined the official opening of the event. The president of the Board Dr Teodora Kaleynska opened the forum. Mrs Asya Rafaelova on behalf of the Altius Foundation (SP) greeted the participants and presented the project philosophy, goals and developments. She explained also the methodology of the project. Then the participants formed 5 small discussion groups on recent important topics of the EU policies – climate change, E-democracy, young and old people inclusion, equality in Europe, migration and security. The discussion groups were led by an international participant and by an EDIC representative. The groups discussed not only the problematic issues and expectations of the citizens from their regions but also they have drafted recommendations in the area of their thematic discussion. The groups presented their conclusions in the evening plenary.

On Oct 27th, 2023 the international “European Parliament Elections 2024” took place. The event was moderated by Prof. Ingrid Shikova, founder of European studies specialty at Sofia University and long-term pioneer of BG integration process. Special guest was Mr Teodor Stoychev, head of the Buro of the EP in Sofia. The participants had an introductory priority intervention on the coming EP elections 2024. The international participants presented the long road of the development of European direct democracy and European elections. The stories from Italy, Spain, Germany, Greece, Cyprus, were met with great interest and many questions. The shared thoughts and data from public surveys and citizens’ expectations from Lithuania, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia were analyzed, compared and summarized. This approach again showed how closed are all citizens of EU in their expectations for more open, transparent and functional democratic Parliament. Mr Stoychev commented with the participants the coming elections and the strategy to work together for the success of democracy in Europe. The platform was presented. The participants of the different groups presented their findings and common recommendations. After the last meeting in Berlin 2024 the recommendations will be finalized in a Citizens’ paper and sent to the EU institutions.