The Annual Forum, the second year, was held in Zagreb 2008.
Zagreb is the capital and the largest city of the Republic of Croatia. The wider Zagreb metropolitan area includes the City of Zagreb and the separate Zagreb County bringing the total metropolitan area population up to 1,2 million. It is the biggest metropolitan area in Croatia.
Zagreb is a city with a rich history dating from the Roman times to the present day. In 1945 it was made the capital of Croatia when the demographic boom and the urban sprawl made the city as it is known today.
Responsible host for the Forum was the partner organization PRAGMA. The Forum gathered about 215 participants from eleven countries – Boznia-Hercegovina, Croatia, Macedonia, Serbia, Albania, Kosovo, Sweden, Belgium, France, Italy and USA. Three quarters of the participants were women, one out of four were men.
The focus was on Equal Opportunities, Democracy and European integration issues, reflected both in the plenary sessions and in different seminars and workshops.
During the final plenary session, the Freja Forum debate, an audience response system was used. This opportunity to express opinions was appreciated by many participants. Questions were both about democracy issues and opinions on different parts of the Forum. The majority of the participants were very satisfied with all the different parts.
A questionnaire was also used, where participants could express contributions they received from the Forum and suggestions for next year. A lot of suggestions were given, both on program, participation and organization of the Forum.
Here is some examples:
“The participants have got more knowledge and information about standards, instructions and methods in EU integration. The knowledge of the process is giving a more optimistic view of the connection to the EU”.
“The advantage with the Forum are the participants and lecturers from different countries, which provide the participants with thoughts and opinions about the presented topics. Through the debate they found out which problems other countries had to confront”.
“The forum started the communication on many topics, as for example the importance on women in decision making, where the experience from the Balkan region was very important. Other areas which contributed to the participants’ experience from the Forum was the Swedish presentation of cooperatives, strength of women from Macedonia to promote their ideas, new way for discussions and meetings.”
The forum created enthusiasm, hope for democracy and discussed the elimination of corruption. The Forum is a base for on-going progress of the society with extensive contacts in the region.
The Freja Forum 2008 emphasised the example of the Croatian integration process to empower the European perspective of other countries in the region.
The Forum recognizes the process of European integration as the central political project in Europe that can contribute to further development of democracy and equal opportunities in the countries that have the ambition of joining the Union.