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Papers

UKRAINE ON THE ROAD TO THE EU AND NATO: LESSONS FROM BULGARIAUkraine on the road to the EU and NATO: Lessons from Bulgaria

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Based on the findings of the workshop ‘Ukraine’s Road to the EU and NATO and the Experience of Bulgaria

Prepared by
Alexander Politov, Reason Institute
Milen Lyubenov, Institute for Political and Legal Studies

The agenda  of the political parties and the agenda of the  societyThe Agenda of the Political Parties and the Agenda of Society in the European Integration Process

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By Svetlana Lomeva and Ivaneta Dobichina, Razum Institute

INTRODUCTION
“The agenda of society differs from the agenda of the rulers” – in the last several years this has been a topic which emerged in the public debate not only in Bulgaria but also in the Southeast European countries. This topic was discussed for some time until it was defined as “over-exposed” and debating it as “boring” and “of interest to no one”. Discussions on the low trust in the political parties and the institutions were gradually fading along with the expectation for some practical results. We spoke, we put forward different ideas, but nothing changed in practice; seemingly all of us sighed with relief in resignation that this problem is part of democracy, that societies are mistrustful of politicians all over the world and “you see, who are we to solve it?” Whether the different “agendas” of society and the rulers are part of the democratic development and whether it is normal that society should not believe in those elected to make the decisions, and mainly how could we assist the solution to this problem – this is only part of the questions in a study, which tried to find the answers among young politicians and representatives of analytical centers that are close to the political parties of Bulgaria, Macedonia, Serbia and Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Romania, Albania and Croatia,.
In the beginning of the study, our main hypothesis was that the low turn out at the polls, the withdrawal of different social groups from participating in the decision making process may be a normal phenomenon in developed democracies, but in the Southeast European countries, which have been building their democracies for the last 14 years, the differing agenda of society and the rulers may be a serious challenge for the sustainability of the changes.
Young political leaders from different parliamentary groups and different non-governmental organizations, which are active in the field of political education and training, took part in the study. It was carried out using anthropological methods, the interviewed persons being asked to expand their views in a written form. Thus, the data obtained was derived from two main sources: interviews and field examiners’ reports on the one hand, and the detailed written views of the interviewed persons on the other hand.