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  • European Talks

    If you get tired of reading, then have a listen to our podcast. European Talks podcast is a short form conversation that aims to untangle difficult questions on various topics related to Serbia’s relations with the EU and its member states, by talking to experts, diplomats, and other relevant actors. Whether you are a researcher, a politician, or just genuinely curious about the topic, European Talks podcast will provide you with valuable ideas, answers as well as new questions.

    Imperatives for the Biden Administration: What can the US, the World, and Serbia Expect?

    Our guest was Mr John Allen, a retired four-star general and the President of the Brookings Institution, one of the most influential think tanks in the world. Although the outgoing President Trump continues to claim that the US elections were rigged, President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take his position in the White House, with the aim to diminish divisions in the US. As the world and Europe have high hopes for the Biden administration, we discussed what can be expected in the next four years.

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    Work-life balance in the EU – Benefits of becoming a member state

    Following the European Commission’s 2017 Proposal for a Directive on work-life balance for parents and carers, the new EU Work-life Balance Directive was passed by the European Parliament in April 2019. The aim of this Directive is to “improve families’” access to family leave and flexible work arrangements’, and ultimately “contribute to an increase in women’s employment and families’ economic stability.” Moreover, it introduces a set of legislative and non-legislative measures, i.e. policy measures, designed to modernise the existing EU frameworks in the work-life balance area. How much more funds will the countries of the Western Balkans receive, once they become members, having in mind that our closest neighbour, Croatia, receives 10 times more from the EU for this area? We talked with Ms Katarina Ivanković Knežević, Director in the Directorate-General for Employment, Social Affairs and Inclusion in the European Commission, former State Secretary at the Ministry of Labour and Pensions of Croatia.
     
     

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    Armenia and Azerbaijan at the same table: an attempt to approach opposing positions

    A conflict between Azerbaijan and Armenia over the Nagorno Karabakh, a territory which is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan, but de facto ruled by the Armenian majority living there, re-erupted a couple of days ago. In order to get the full picture of what is happening on the ground, and to see what can Europe to prevent the conflict from escalating, we have invited two prominent experts, one from Armenia and the other from Azerbaijan. Discussants: Benyamin Poghosyan - Chairman of the Centre for Political and Economic Strategic Studies in Yerevan - Former director of the Institute for National Strategic Studies at the Armenian Ministry of Defence - Graduated at the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy Anar Jahangirli - Consultant in public affairs and communication - Former diplomat from Azerbaijan, with the focus on NK - Graduated at Harvard

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    Winds of change in Montenegro: What to expect in the next period?

    The recent elections in Montenegro suggest that major changes could soon take place in the country in the Western Balkans. Montenegro has opened all chapters in the process of negotiations with the EU, but how far has the enlargement process really progressed and what can be expected in the coming period when it comes to the EU accession process, but also with the political climate in the country? We spoke with Stevo Muk, President of the Managing Board of the Institute Alternative, Podgorica-based think tank.
     

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    En route to a better public administration: Why bottom-up pressure is necessary

    Welcome to the first episode of the WeBER podcast series of European Talks podcast, a new communication tool in the regional WeBER initiative context. Each podcast episode will be devised around a relevant public administration reform and civil society related topic in the region. With this series, we mainly target civil society, experts, government officials and external interested audience (rather than public). Highly conversational in nature, it is available in video format on WeBER portal - www.par-monitor.org. In the first episode, our guest is Gregor Virant, Head of SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management, a joint initiative of the OECD and the EU, principally financed by the EU), and former Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia. Milena Lazarević, an expert on this topic, of the European Policy Centre - CEP Programme Director and WeBER initiative Team Leader, talked with him about the SIGMA principles of public administration, the WeBER initiative and why civil society must monitor and involve in the public administration reform process. Useful links: www.sigmaweb.org www.par-monitor.org www.europeanpolicy.org

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    Advancing Albania’s road to EU: Side with agendas and ambitions

    In the midst of the COVID-19 crisis, the Council of the EU gave the green light to the opening of accession talks with Albania. What are the expectations regarding the next steps, given the current pandemic restrictions? Can the revised enlargement methodology lead to a more effective accession process? What is the current political climate in this country? In this episode, we talked to Gjergji Vurmo, programme director of Institute for Democracy and Mediation - IDM, Tirana-based think tank.

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    What does the future of EU accession process hold? The case of North Macedonia

    In this episode, we talked about the current political situation in North Macedonia, EU sentiments of its citizens, and about the strengths and risks of the revised accession methodology for the Western Balkans. Our guest is Dr Simonida Kacarska, director of the European Policy Institute - EPI in Skopje, North Macedonia.

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    EP remains engaged in fostering democracy in the Western Balkans

    A few days ago, elections were held in Serbia, in which the ruling party won a convincing victory. These elections were boycotted by part of the opposition. With our dear guest, Vladimír Bilčík, member of the European Parliament and its rapporteur for Serbia, we talked about the election results, relations between the European Union and the countries of the Western Balkans, and regional relations, especially the turbulence between Montenegro and Serbia, and how this affects the EU accession process.

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    European Investment Bank: assisting the Western Balkans against COVID-19

    The European Commission announced over €3.3 billion of EU financial support for the Western Balkans mobilised jointly with the European Investment Bank (EIB) in order to tackle the COVID-19 crisis and help with the social and economic recovery. How will this support be implemented and what will be the role of the EIB? We will address these questions in this podcast episode with the Head of EIB Regional Representation for the Western Balkans, Dubravka Negre.

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    COVID-19 crisis is an opportunity to enhance EU – Western Balkans relations

    The beginning of this year promised to reset the sluggish dynamics of the EU-Western Balkans relationship, following the EU’s endorsement of a revised accession framework. However, the pandemic has shifted the focus to other topics, like solidarity and economic recovery. What impact will developments related to the COVID-19 pandemic have on the EU accession process of the region? What are the EU’s expectations from the region in the following period? We will address these questions in this podcast episode with our Chairman of the Governing Board and BIEPAG member, Srđan Majstorović.

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