A report from the 1st Executive Seminar on EU Rapprochement and Integration by Maia Cuceaidze (Moldova)

The three weeks of the Seminar flew by. It felt like it was only yesterday that we arrived in Berlin, and then the day came when we were already receiving our course certificates at our farewell reception. Now that I am back in my office in Chișinău with a big bag of experience, knowledge, and contacts, I can say with certainty that it was one of the best learning experiences I´ve ever had.


The main topic was European integration, two words that are firmly embedded in the DNA of Moldovan foreign policy. Two words that brought the representatives of the Associated Trio, Western Balkan countries, and Turkey together around one table for the first time in such a format. While we all represent different regions of Europe, and have different starting points in our relations with the EU, different backgrounds and expertise, at the same time we all share the desire to become members of the EU family in the near future.


The course offered us a unique opportunity to discuss the current hot topics of the EU and our countries’ agendas, including the future of the EU, the security aspect of the enlargement process, the need to continue the internal reforms within the EU, and our potential contributions to making Europe stronger and more stable.

We travelled to Brussels to hear from the primary source about the prospects for our countries to become fully-fledged members of the EU. Another valuable experience was our visit to Warsaw, where we learned about Poland’s experience in the accession process.

Our interlocutors were high-level officials and experts from the Federal Chancellery, the Bundestag, the Federal Foreign Office, the European Commission, the European Parliament, NATO, Frontex, the OSCE, the Polish Senate, and other institutions.

Besides theoretical knowledge, we also gained useful practical skills, especially after successfully taking part in simulation games, workshops and training. This was indeed an excellent symbiosis of theoretical and practical expertise, which will help us in our professional endeavours.


However, what I want to emphasise particularly is something that came naturally to us from the very first day: the chemistry between us – the participants of this course.


We realised that we do share common interests and common challenges in our paths towards EU accession. During these three weeks we also learned more from each other, creating in the process hopefully long-term connections, ultimately aspiring to find ourselves together as integral parts of the greater European family.


I would like to take this opportunity to express my sincere gratitude to those who made this possible: the Federal Foreign Office, particularly Andrea Christ, Ambassador Christine Althauser, Henry Paul Krüger and Louis Dallmann for all their support and for accompanying us during this time.


Summing-up these three weeks of our journey, I would like to share here some numbers that briefly describe these 21 days:

- 3 weeks;

- 3 countries;

- 3 capital cities;

- more than 50 speakers;

- more than 200 000 registered steps in my phone’s step counter, which amounts to

- ~ 160 km, – a distance equivalent to travelling from Berlin to Dresden.

I would like to conclude by sharing a quote from my farewell speech, which I delivered on behalf of the entire group at the end of the Seminar:

The future of Europe is in good hands.

The future of Europe is in our hands!

Thank you, Berlin.



A report from the 2nd Executive Online Seminar on EU Rapprochement and Integration by Roksolana Smerechynska (Ukraine)

Participating in the 2nd Executive Online Seminar on EU Rapprochement and Integration was a pivotal experience for me as a young diplomat involved in Ukraine's pursuit of closer ties with the EU. The seminar took place just a month prior to the release of the European Commission's enlargement report, providing a timely platform for meaningful discussions.


Expecting a series of lectures and discussions on the EU's future and impending reforms, I was pleasantly surprised by the depth of candid conversations that unfolded. The seminar, conducted online, managed to provide almost real-life experiences, demonstrating the dynamism of our interactions. Thanks to the virtual setting, we had the chance to exchange ideas and gain crucial insights from German diplomats and experts based in Berlin, Brussels and Luxembourg.


One recurring theme echoed throughout the seminar: the power of cooperation and co-creation. In diplomacy, starting from a foundation of trust emerged as a guiding principle, emphasising the importance of managing signals, forward thinking and being present in every interaction.


Furthermore, the seminar reinforced the significance of the inner compass in diplomacy, particularly when shouldering responsibility for one's country. It underscored the importance of maintaining a long-term perspective, understanding that building trust and contributing constructively are not just advantages but necessities for effective diplomatic engagement.


In addition, the seminar not only sharpened my diplomatic skills but also offered profound insights into the unanswered questions surrounding the future of the EU. As diplomats, we recognised that our voices held significance, helping shape the continent's trajectory.


I was also happy to make meaningful connections with other participants, all of whom are contributing to their countries' integration into the EU. It was valuable to share our experiences, exchange ideas, learn from each other and collectively address certain questions in cooperation based on synergies.


Altogether, the seminar equipped me with insights and a diplomatic mindset crucial for navigating the intricate landscape of international relations. As I reflect on the seminar's impact, I am gratified that these experiences will not only contribute to my personal growth but also play a meaningful role in Ukraine's journey toward EU accession.


I extend my sincere gratitude to the Federal Foreign Office, the Training for International Diplomats division and the coordinators for making this seminar a great opportunity to learn, meet and connect.