A special edition of the Eastern European Initiative Congress (EEIC) is ahead of us. The Congress is a 2-day meeting of diplomats, experts, local government officials and NGOs. Over1000 participants from more than a dozen of European countries will be discussing the most pressing problems of this part of the continent between 25-26 September this year. During the event Lublin will also be presented with the prestigious award of the Council of Europe, an awarded for exemplary international cooperation and pro-European activities.
- Congress has consistently been part of the calendar of important events related to the Eastern Partnership and is an important platform for multi-disciplinary dialogue. In attendance there are representatives from the international organizations, NGOs, culture circles, local governments, entrepreneurs, journalists from this part of Europe. The mission of the EEIC is to inspire cooperation across borders, and to exchange knowledge and experiences on cooperation between the European Union and the countries behind its eastern border. I am proud that this year's 6th edition of the Congress will also be a time when Lublin is presented with the highest honorary prize awarded by the Council of Europe. I am glad that in the year of celebrating the 700th anniversary of granting Lublin the city rights, it was our city that was honoured with this distinction – says Krzysztof Żuk, Mayor of Lublin.
The 2017 Europe Prize is the highest ranking in the 4-point scale of the awards presented annually by the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe, to a city which is most active in promoting European ideals. Previously Lublin was awarded the European Diploma (2007), the Flag of Honour (2008), and the Plaque of Honour (2013). Each year the prize goes to only one city in Europe and is preceded by a three-tier, lengthy qualification process. Lublin is the fifth Polish city to receive this distinction from the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
In the words of the Europe Prize Sub-committee, Lublin has a robust international cooperation which translates into many projects being carried out with foreign partners and demonstrated its ties with foreign communities. The city was given the award for organising a range of celebrations to mark Europe Day such as mock sessions of the European Parliament for young people or cultural events such as the Night of Culture, the International Dance Theatre Festival or the Magicians' Carnival as well as for staging annual editions of the Eastern European Initiative Congress. Finally, the Committee noted that Lublin is also very dynamic in the field of European and international solidarity, for instance it organises humanitarian aid convoys to Ukraine and Georgia.
The Council of Europe Award will be presented on the first day of the Eastern European Initiative Congress.
This year the participants of the Congress from Austria, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Belarus, Georgia, Lithuania, Germany, Russia, Slovakia, Ukraine and the United Kingdom will participate in 40 discussion panels within 11 theme lines. Discussions and debates of experts, intellectuals and practitioners will take place at the Lublin Conference Centre.
Discussions will be held on the following thematic lines:
"Germany - Poland - Ukraine"
"Innovation and business"
"Politics and security"
"Science and education"
"Models of Reconciliation"
Seminars are prepared by the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development – a line realized by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Poland in cooperation with the OECD.
The Eastern European Initiative Congress has attracted nearly 5,000 experts from Europe and the world since 2012.
Inaugural lectures will be delivered by: prof.Jerzy Buzek - Member of the European Parliament and Refat Czubarov - leader of the Crimean Tatars.
The following persons have confirm their participation in the Congress this year:
Ryszard Czarnecki - Vice-President of the European Parliament,
Małgorzata Gosiewska - Member of Parliament, Vice-Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs,
prof. dr hab. Waldemar Sługocki - Member of Polish Senate, Deputy Chair of the Committee on Foreign Affairs and the EU,
Iurie Bodrug - Ambassador of Moldova to Poland
Margulan Baimukhan - Ambassador of Kazakhstan to Poland
Jan Piekło - Ambassador of the Republic of Poland to Ukraine,
Vasyl Poluyko - Deputy Minister of Environmental Protection of Ukraine,
Pavol Demeš - former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Slovak Republic in 1991-1992,
William Tompson - Director of the Eurasian Section of the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development
Sławomir Nowak - President of the Ukrainian State Road Agency (Ukravtodor)
Dr. Mykola Riabchuk - winner of Polish-Ukrainian Reconciliation Award,
dr inż. Karl Schmidt - Commercial Counselor of the Austrian Embassy,
dr Bogumiła Berdychowska, - a specialist in Polish-Ukrainian relations
Congress is organized in cooperation among others with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development, the Polish Institute of International Affairs, the Institute of Central and Eastern Europe, the Centre for Eastern Europe, Lublin universities and non-governmental organizations.
Side events are also on the cards, like exhibitions, music and film screenings. Current information can be found on the trilingual website http://www.kongres.lublin.eu and in social media.