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Brussels, 31 March 2008

Over 100 Slovenian officials discuss the European Union with high-school students in the ‘Officials back to school’ project

On Monday 31 March 2008, 112 Slovenian officials and senior representatives of European and Slovenian institutions will visit 79 high schools throughout Slovenia to debate the European Union with students. The ‘EU back to school’ project is an European Commission initiative in which officials and senior representatives of the Member State holding the EU Council Presidency go back to high schools and give students a first-hand presentation of the EU. In Slovenia the project is run under the aegis of European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik.

According to European Commissioner Janez Potočnik, this is an important project that allows high-school students to find out about the European Union in a special way – from the personal experience of the people who shape and help develop European policy. The project also gives officials the opportunity to hear what high-school students think of the EU and what kind of EU they want.

In Slovenia, the 79 high schools participating in the project will be visited by 112 officials and senior representatives of European and Slovenian institutions. The Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia Janez Janša and the European Commissioner for Science and Research Janez Potočnik will also together revisit their own former high schools.

The ‘Officials back to school’ project was carried out for the first time in January 2007, during the German EU Council Presidency, on the initiative of German Federal Chancellor Angela Merkel. The experience was repeated in autumn 2007, during the Portuguese Presidency. On that occasion, Portuguese Prime Minister José Socrates and European Commission President José Manuel Barroso joined Portuguese officials on their visits to schools. Slovenia takes up the baton on Monday 31 March 2008, when Slovenian officials who work for the European institutions and representatives of Slovenian institutions will share their European experience with high-school students all over Slovenia.

At European Commission level, the project is organised under the patronage of Margot Wallström, Vice-President of the European Commission in charge of institutional relations and communication strategy. In Slovenia, the project is run under the aegis of the European Commission’s representative, Janez Potočnik, the European Commissioner responsible for science and research. The Government of Republic of Slovenia is also participating in the initiative under the auspices of the Minister of Education and Sport, Milan Zver.

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