"Different models of past and future European integration – a look from the inside and outside of the European Union"
Slovenian Ministry of Foreign Affairs and the National Focal Point for Financial Mechanisms – Government Office for Development and European Cohesion Policy – and the EEA Donor States Norway, Liechtenstein and Iceland organised a conference “Different models of past and future European integration – a look from the inside and outside of the European Union”. The conference aimed to exchange Slovenian and EEA EFTA countries’ experiences with different models of European integration.
Experience of small countries inside or outside the EU was at the heart of discussion which also touched upon the future of the EU and best forms of integration in the EU that has undergone a reform process during the crisis. Being an EEA EFTA Member State, Norway boasts economic stability and is interesting for Slovenia for having extensive knowledge of EU-Norway relations building on a thorough, research-based review of relations with the EU analysing Norway’s agreements with the EU and the influence Norway has on EU decision-making. A broad-based independent committee undertook the review and published its findings in the report “Outside and Inside – Norway’s Agreements with the EU”. Iceland, former candidate country for EU accession that in the aftermath of a very specific bank crisis opted for a new governance model supporting the participation of newly activated civil society movements, a country where the Eurosceptic political option regained the lead after the last election while EU accession negotiations were suspended until the citizens have their say on the matter by means of a referendum. Liechtenstein as a very specific example of a country with stable financial conditions and a lean administrative body that efficiently tackles numerous responsibilities connected with the EEA membership. Slovenia as an example of a small country that has only a decade’s experience in being a fully-fledged EU Member State, a country that, through a series of consultations on the future of the EU, is getting ready to face the changed situation in the EU, one that is aiming to develop a vision that will enjoy democratic support, be aligned with the Slovenian strategic interests and boost Slovenia’s influence on shaping the future of the EU.