The parade of European dignitaries visting Slovakia following parliament elections in September continues. On November 24 and 25, Bratislava will host a conference named "The Possibilities for Bilateral Co-operation in Europe - in Slovakia and Austria."
The meet is being organised by the Economic University in Bratislava, the House of Europe in Bratislava and the Vienna-based Institute for the Danube region and Central Europe. Seminars and lectures will be held in the capital's beautiful Primaciálny and Zichy Palaces, as well as at the Austrian Embassy.
Slovakia, as one of the EU's 'associated countries', is desperately trying to develop European contacts at the moment. This goal is being pursued not only by government bodies but also by non-governmental organisations which are trying to spread European awareness throughout Slovakia and to establish contacts with partner organisations abroad.
The aim of the Bratislava conference is to discuss lines for future co-operation between Slovakia and Austria. Organisers have invited parliamentary chairmen, ministers, political representatives, professors and experts from both Slovakia and Austria. These people will make presentations on politics, economy, finance and banking, transport and the environment, culture, education and the media.
The conference will be organised around ten specific groups focusing on particular themes. These groups will be forums for the open exchange of views and experiences, and according to conference organiser Roman Lauko, director of the House of Europe, it will be open to the public.
The House of Europe is a non-profit, non-governmental civic organisation which promotes non-partisan political, cultural and educational paths towards European integration. With branches in 23 European countries, the House has prepared and launched an educational programme for students of secondary schools as well as an anti-drug programme for children. The House of Europe founded a branch in Bratislava in December 1997.
Among the officials who have agreed to take part in the session are: Heinz Fisher and Jozef Migaš, the speakers of the Austrian and Slovak parliaments, respectively; Juraj Štern, the chancellor of the Economic University in Bratislava; Ivan Mikloš, Slovakia's vice-Premier for Economy; Vladimír Masár, the governer of the Slovak National Bank; Peter Skalicky, the chancellor of the Technical University in Vienna; and many others. Conference seminars will be simultaneously translated into Slovak and German.