CEP Council Officially Established

Belgrade, 12 January 2017.

CEP Council meetingThe kick-off meeting of the newly-established CEP Council took place in Belgrade on 12 January 2017. The Council members include distinguished national and international experts, high-level representatives of the renowned national institutions, academia and international and multi-lateral organisations.

Mr Nebojša Lazarević, President of the Governing Board at CEP, presided over the meeting and welcomed the distinguished Council members. He emphasised the significance of this advisory body for the future programmatic development of CEP and strategic planning of the further research. Ms Milena Lazarević, CEP Programme Director, and Ms Ranka Miljenović, CEP Senior Project Manager, presented CEP’s areas of work and key achievements to date. Considering the programme areas, CEP Programme Manager Dušan Protić presented the highlights of the previous work within the area of Internal Market and Competitiveness. Finally, CEP’s 2017 Priority Work Plan draft was presented, followed by a discussion with Council members on thematic priorities in view of domestic and international challenges ahead.

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From Slovak to Maltese Presidency of the Council: Passing the Torch in Times of Uncertainty and What for Enlargement?

Panel-diskusija "Od slovačkog do malteškog predsedavanja Savetu: Primopredaja i proširenje u doba neizvesnosti"A panel discussion “From Slovak to Maltese Presidency of the Council: Passing the Torch in Times of Uncertainty and What for Enlargement?”, organised by CEP and the EU Info Centre, was held on Tuesday, 20 December. The panel was moderated by Milena Lazarevic, CEP Programme Director, while the panelists included H.E Michaell Davenport, Head of the EU Delegation to Serbia, H.E Dagmar Repčekova, Ambassador of the Slovak Republic in Serbia, Mr Fabian Psaila, Representative of Malta to the EU Council and Ms Tanja Miščević, Head of the Negotiating Team for Negotiations on the Accession of Serbia to the European Union. They discussed the achievements of the Slovak Presidency and the priorities of the Maltese Presidency, with a special focus on enlargement policy. The panel equally focused on Serbia’s position towards the topics addressed.

Ambassador of Slovakia to Serbia H.E. Dagmar Repčekova said that she was pleased with the Slovak Presidency of the EU and pointed out the budget for 2017 and the European Coast Guard as some of the greatest successes. The Ambassador said that the EU appreciates the readiness of Serbia to continue the integration and expressed her hope that the Maltese Presidency will continue the good trend with Serbia, which has opened four chapters for the past half year.

Mr Psaila said that Malta has been committed to the enlargement policy from the beginning and promised that his country, presiding over the Union, will continue the work and cooperation initiated in the mandate of the Slovak and Dutch Presidency, in favour of the success of Serbia on the road to membership. Mr Psaila pointed out that Malta will aim towards promoting the Union and restoring the confidence of citizens: "It is rather a philosophy than a six-month job."

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“Achieving Excellence through Regional Cooperation”: CEPS WeB Position Paper presented

Sena Marić, CEPWorking breakfast on the topic Achieving Excellence through Regional Cooperation was held on 24th November in Belgrade, gathering members of the Think for Europe Network (TEN) as well as distinguished experts from the Regional Environmental Center (REC) and the Center of Excellence in Finance (CEF). Participants discussed the added value of pursuing a regional approach and shared their experiences in regional networking. The aim of the event was to formulate new ideas for inspiring the creation of a more constructive regional initiatives in the Western Balkans region. Additionally, the event served as an opportunity to present the first Position Paper of the newly created Centre for Excellence in Policymaking (CEPS WeB), established by six think-tank organisations from the Western Balkans, members of TEN. The discussion was moderated by Simonida Kacarska, Research Coordinator at the European Policy Institute (EPI).

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Public Administration Reform - Seminar for Civil Society Organisations

SIGMA Seminar for CSOsA two-day seminar for civil society organisations was held in Belgrade on 14th and 15th December 2016 gathering more than 30 CSOs from Serbia. The participants had the opportunity to learn from SIGMA experts on the framework of Principles of Public Administration, to participate in the workshops and see the premiere of multimedia presentations about the key reform areas these Principles cover, developed by SIGMA/OECD and produced within the WeBER project. The aim was to introduce SIGMA Principles of Public Administration to a wider group of CSOs coming from local communities from all around Serbia who are active in PAR related areas. The event was organised by CEP and SIGMA as part of the WeBER.

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Involving NCEU Members in Preparation of Negotiating Positions for Chapters 1 and 28

Sednica Nacionalnog konventa o EUBelgrade, 8 November 2016. Current developments and novelties within the negotiating chapter 1 – Free Movement of Goods, and chapter 28 – Consumer and Health Protection respectively, were presented at the meeting of the working groups of National Convention on the European Union. The meeting was chaired by Dušan Protić, CEP's Program Manager for Internal Market and Competitiveness, Coordinator of the above-mentioned working groups.

Nebojša Lazarević, a member of the Core Negotiating Team in the Serbian EU accession negotiation, in charge of coordination of negotiations in chapters 1 and 28, familiarised members of both working groups with the current status of this chapters in the negotiation process as well as with upcoming activities that are expected to occur shortly. Lazarevic presented detailed steps of the process of making conditions for the opening of these chapters and expressed his realistic expectations that the conditions will be met by the fall of 2017.

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"Europe in Crisis: Thinking Forward"

Belgrade, October 26, 2016.

Europe in Crisis: Thinking Forward

Brexit, the refugee influx, the rise of extreme political parties, and terrorism threats are only a few issues that have made the EU seem more vulnerable than ever. In cooperation with BEUM Association (Belgrade European Union Model), CEP organized a series of panel discussions titled Europe in Crisis: Thinking Forward, on October 26th, 2016. The event gathered prominent international and national experts and nearly 400 young graduates from across the world. The first panel examined the ongoing turbulent times in the EU, while the second panel addressed the possibilities for reinvention of the EU enlargement policy. The event gave a chance to the students to ask sharp questions to the panel experts and have their say on the issues discussed.

Ambassador of the Slovak Republic to Serbia Dagmar Repčeková emphasised that Brexit was a signal to member states to think of the EU’s future, and they started to do so with the informal European Council meeting in Bratislava. “We now need to think about the future of integration and disintegration of the union,” she told the audience. The problem is that some member states are calling for more integration, but there are also those states (usually outside from Eurogroup) asking for more nationalism. Also, the language spoken in member states is often different from the one spoken in Brussels. What Slovakia wants is more Europe but not necessarily more Brussels. Talking about Serbia and the enlargement policy, Ambassador Repčeková notd that a country with 70% of EU GDP average is not an equal partner, and argued that Serbia should take some time to become equal. She believes that even in five years’ period, EU will not be ready for new enlargement and that it should concentrate on issues such as the impact of the refugee crisis. 

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Panel Discussion “Member States’ Role in the EU Negotiation Process – Playing Cat and Mouse?“

Serbia and the EUOn Monday 6th of June, European Policy Centre (CEP) is organising the panel discussion “Member States’ Role in the EU Negotiation Process – Playing Cat and Mouse?“  in cooperation with European Policy Centre (EPC) from Brussels, and with support of the Think Tank Fund of the Open Society Foundation. The event will take place from 9.30am to 12pm, in Hotel Metropol in Belgrade.

The opening remarks for this panel discussion will be delivered by the Head of Negotiating Team for Accession of Serbia to the EU, Ms Tanja Miščević, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb, and former Adviser to the President of Croatia, Mr Dejan Jović, Senior Policy Analyst in European Policy Centre (EPC) from Brussels, Ms Corina Stratulat, as well as Director of CEP, Mr Nebojša Lazarević. In her presentation, Corina Stratulat will focus on the findings of the recently published EPC research on attitudes towards the enlargement in 17 member states, the results of which have pinpointed a kind of “nationalisation” of the process due to the increased focus on bilateral issues and interests of the member states. The keynote speech at the opening of the event will be delivered by Jadranka Joksimović, minister without portfolio responsible for European integration.

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First Progress Report on Serbia Launched

Belgrade, March 31, Palace Serbia – European Policy Centre presented the first report of the Independent Reporting Mechanism on the progress of Serbia for 2014-2015, within the multilateral initiative Open Government Partnership (OGP). Opening addresses were given by Kori Udovički, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Public Administration and Local Self-Government, Veronica Cretu, Member of the Steering Board of the Open Government Partnership, and Milena Lazrević, Programme Director of the European Policy Centre (CEP). The event was organized by CEP, and along with government representatives, also gathered representatives of civil society organizations and independent state institutions. 

OGP Report LaunchReport findings point out that Serbia has been able to implement its OGP commitments to a significant extent, with the most important achievements being related to budget transparency and civil society capacity building. "The most prominent challenge appears to be participation at the local level, and a recommendation for the coming period would be for the local governments to work on engaging and developing the civil society sector, as well as to participate more proactively themselves," said Milena Lazarević.

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Uloga država članica u procesu pregovora o članstvu 1Belgrade, June 6, 2016 – The role of the Member States in the EU membership negotiation process is becoming increasingly important - the enlargement process might be blocked or entirely brought to a halt if contentious issues are not solved bilaterally. This was the conclusion of the panel discussion “Member States’ Role in the EU Negotiation Process – Playing Cat and Mouse?”, organised by CEP and the European Policy Centre (EPC) from Brussels.

The opening remarks were given by Tanja Miščević, the Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of Serbia to the EU, Dejan Jović, Professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Zagreb and former Advisor to the President of Croatia, Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst at EPC, and Nebojša Lazarević, Director of CEP. A discussion followed, with Srđan Majstorović, Deputy Director of the Serbian European Integration Office, Sonja Stojanović Gajić, Director of Belgrade Center for Security Policy, and Andrej Horvat, Project Leader at the Deutsche Gesellschaft für Internationale Zusammenarbeit (GIZ) as the main discussants.

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CSO Forum 2016 Opens New Horizons for International Development and Human Rights


The CSO Forum 2016, which took place on 17-18 March in Brussels, brought together civil society organisations from around the world to discuss international development and human rights with representatives of European institutions and Member States. Entitled EU Engagement with Civil Society and for Human Rights: Turning big pledges into local changes”, the event served to spur a constructive dialogue and gather feedback on best practices in providing support in a complex and evolving context in order to help the EU institutions develop operational responses to emerging challenges.

The event was organised with a purpose to discuss the EU policy shift towards supporting the enabling environment, participation and capacity of civil society as an actor of governance, enshrined in its 2012 Communication "The roots of democracy and sustainable development: Europe's engagement with Civil Society in external relations". Another crucial aspect of the CSO Forum concerned the EU’s commitment to promote and protect human rights, the rule of law and democracy worldwide, clearly outlined in the “Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy”, the second iteration of which was adopted in 2015.

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