The European Perspective of Kosovo on the basis of the Enlargement Strategy: What should Kosovo do in the coming years?

On March 16, Group for Legal and Political Studies organized a Roundtable Discussion on the topic “The European Perspective of Kosovo on the basis of the Enlargement Strategy: What should Kosovo do in the coming years?”, held in Prishtina within regional BENCHER Project. The aim of this event was to discuss the promotion and enforcement of the rule of law in the Western Balkans, particularly in Kosovo.

The panel also shared their views in regard to Kosovo’s position vis-a-vis the EU Enlargement Strategy, with a particular focus on the reforms needed in the upcoming years. Furthermore, they had the chance to discuss the current government’s approach towards this Strategy, its implications and the overarching Kosovo’s European perspective.  At the beginning of the discussion, GLPS presented the country analysis entitled “EU’s Benchmarking Mechanism on ‘Fundamentals First’: Results and Challenges”. This analysis  studies the effectiveness of the EU’s benchmarking system on a selected policy issues pertaining to ‘fundamentals first’. This analysis also puts forward a set of recommendations on how to improve the benchmarking mechanism of the conditionality policy. This event is part of the Think and Link Regional Policy Programme, supported by the European Fund for the Balkans and Open Society Institute, under the umbrella of Think for Europe Network (TEN).


Ms Fitore Pacolli – Member of the Committee on European Integration, Kosovo Assembly;

Ms Venera Ramaj – Policy Advisor on Rule of Law at the Embassy of the Kingdom of Netherlands in Kosovo;

Ms Albana Rexha – Author of the Report and Research Fellow at Group for Legal and Political Studies;

Ms Albana Merja – Research Fellow at Group for Legal and Political Studies.

Venue: EU Information and Cultural Centre in Prishtina

How effective is the EU in applying its conditionality mechanisms?

13-14 March 2018 – At two-day Conference „EU and Western Balkans: towards greater credibility and engagement on both sides” held in Belgrade on 13-14 March 2018, results of our BENCHER project were presented (Benchmarking for EU reform – how effective?).

During the first day of the Conference, findings of regional comparative study created within the Project are presented; the aim of findings is to enable better understanding of EU mechanism for promotion and implementation of the Rule of Law.

First panel of the Conference brought the discussion on how EU could develop a more effective mechanism for the establishment of the Rule of Law and which main obstacles impeded this process.  Panelists were Igor Bandović, Senior Programme Manager in European Fund for the Balkans (EFB), organisation which is one of the Donors of the Project, Ardita Abazi Imeri, Programme Coordinator in European Policy Institute (EPI) from Skopje, Alida Vračić, Executive Director of the think tank organization Populari from Bosnia-Herzegovina, Endrit Shabani, Researcher from Department for Policy and Interational relations of the Oxford University and Adnan Ćerimagić, analyst from European Stability Initiative (ESI). The panel was moderated by Sena Marić, Programme Manager and Senior Researcher from CEP.

Igor Bandović explained why it is important for civil society to be involved in discussion about Rule of Law and reforms in this area and why EFB decided to support this Project. He said that he, observing the way governments in the region treat the Rule of Law, noticed „worrying trend“ i the way how it is treated in the Western Balkans.

„You can not make any progress in the Rule of Law unless you do not have freedom of the media“, warned Bandović. „Rule of Law is not just judiciary reform, as it was ofter perceived. It is rule of normality, freedom and stability. Only if we adopt all this, we will make progress in this area and will be commended by European Commission“, said Bandović.

Abazi Imeri said that research showed that the Region has not advanced enough in this area and that „EU is too mild when negotiating chapters referred to the Rule of Law“, which leaves space for governments in the Region to interpret themselves what Rule of Law means, as well as to often neglect this issues, at the expense of resolving political issues and „political chapters“. Alida Vračić added that we have to be aware of the fact that reforms and democratizations are „neverending process“ and that we have to be „more realistic and less emotional“ when it comes to the EU accession negotiations.

About the importance on economic reforms and fight against corruption during reform process within the Rule of Law spoke Endrit Shabani. He said that he has no doubt regarding EU intention to help Western Balkans, but that he doubts that this will be achieved by the current approach.

Responsibility in this area in also on the EU, agreed Ćerimagić. Commission has to communicate better and better present its findings in this area, but it should make additional efforts to explain to the citizens why certain reforms need to be implemented.

The second day of the Conference was dedicated to the consideration of effectiveness of the EU approach to the Rule of Law in Serbia, with special review after opening of accession chapters 23 and 24. Dragana Bajić, Researcher from CEP, presented CEP study, related to this subject, which provides significant findings referred to the factors which influenced limited Serbia`s achieved results in these two chapters. She said that, although certain progress was achieved in some of the parts, in majority of them there have been „stagnation, if not regression“ since 2006.

„EU conditionality is not an universal remedy. We as civil society often overestimate the rule of Union in the refom process – as if we forget that the main responsibility for the implementation of the reform is on the state“, emphasized Bajić.

Deputy Commissioner for Protection of Equality, Tatjana Jokanović, spoke about the importance of the fight against discrimination, especially among youngest population, as well as about activities of the Office of Commissioner in this area. Noora Häyrinen, Head of the Political Section, EU Delegation in Serbia emphasized that „difficult chapters“ as 23 and 24 are, do not have to be left for the end of the process, but it is necessary to work on them continuously. She praised Serbia for making a huge move by making the European Commission`s six-month progress report in these chapters (the so-called “non-paper”) available to the public, although it is not bounded by the rules to do so.

Milan Antonijević, Director of Lawyer`s Committee for Human Rights (YUCOM) expressed concern and dissatisfaction with the Rule of Law in Serbia. In certain areas, for example, regarding the presumption of innocence, Serbia doesn`t have good position: presumption of innocence is not respected, neither by the courts and state authorities, especially media, said Antonijević. Also, Condition is bad when it comes to the asylum seeking, said Radoš Đurović, Executive Director of Asylum Protection Center. Asylum seekers are in legal vacuum in Serbia and within total number of the people which expressed wish for asylum, small number succeed to submit this request; movings of migrants among various reception centers are often, regardless the fact that they have been registrated in certain place for longer period of time, underlined Đurović.

Panel was moderated by Sena Marić, Programme Manager and Senior Researcher from CEP.

BENCHER Project, implemented in cooperation of CEP with the partners from Think for Europe Network (TEN) is financially supported by European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE). More about the Project you can find here.


Event announcement: Marking the benchmarks – Promoting and enforcing the rule of law in the Balkans

Since its 2011 enlargement strategy, the European Commission has adopted a more rigorous approach to democratic conditionality, building mostly on lessons learned from its eastward expansion. The EU’s increased focus on ‘good governance’ criteria (such as the rule of law, independent judiciary, media freedom and efficient public administration) was formally reflected for the first time in the negotiation frameworks for Montenegro and Serbia, which require that Chapter 23 (on the Judiciary and Fundamental Rights) and Chapter 24 (on Justice, Freedom and Security) are opened in the early stages of the talks and closed only at the very end of the process, and that overall progress is conditioned by progress in these fields. Moreover, the heavy weight of rule of law issues can now also be felt in the pre-accession phases.

But despite the EU’s firm insistence on democratic reforms, all of the applicants in the region, including the front-running countries, have been backsliding. By assessing the effectiveness of the benchmarking mechanism on Chapters 23 and 24, the BENCHER project seeks to explain the mixed results in the EU’s attempts to induce compliance, exploring whether the Union is more successful in some sub-policy areas than in others, and why.

How is the EU helping candidates to achieve progress on rule of law reforms? To what extent are the current benchmarks appropriate? What more can be done to improve the track record of democratic conditionality in practice throughout the Balkans, so that results match up to the rhetoric? This event will address these and other questions, drawing on the results of the BENCHER regional comparative study. Short presentations from the expert panel will be followed by an interactive exchange with the audience. The debate will be on the record and the media will be invited.


21 March 2018


  • Tanja Fajon, Member of the European Parliament
  • Sabine Zwaenepoel, Senior Expert, Team Leader of Centre of Thematic Expertise, DG NEAR, European Commission
  • Srdjan Majstorović, President of the Governing Board, European Policy Centre – CEP, Belgrade
  • Albana Rexha, Senior Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Pristina
  • Gjergji Vurmo (tbc), Program Director, Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana
  • Corina Stratulat, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre (Moderator)


Interview with Srđan Majstorović: CSO’s a can contribute substantially to a better understanding and faster reconnection of the region

CEP is one of the co-founders of the regional Think for Europe Network and its Secretariat. One of the main focuses of CEP’s work is regional cooperation. Why do you think regional cooperation between think tanks is important?

CEP is very proud to be part of TEN. It represents a network of distinguished think tank organisations dedicated to the most valiant goal – enhancing the quality of public services for citizens of the countries of the region by offering evidence-based alternatives. Having in mind all the normative, institutional and even cultural challenges regarding creating and monitoring of public policies in the countries of the region, it is obvious that jointly, as a network of organisations, we can do more, we can be louder, and our ideas can have a stronger impact.

One of the essential parts of the EU integration process for the countries of the Western Balkans is regional cooperation. Unfortunately, Governments are not leading by example. On the contrary, we are witnesses of their inability to recognize that regional cooperation is not an obligation imposed from the outside, but a necessity. This necessity entails working together on securing a better normative, institutional, social, economic and cultural environment for their citizens. We are concerned and we do want this to change, but we do not want to wait for those who call themselves “leaders”. Instead, we are trying to lead by positive example, and show that organizations from the region can work together for the benefit of their citizens. “Leaders” are welcome to catch up with us.

Recently published Strategy for EU Enlargement has also recognized that Serbia is one of the countries that has made great progress in the EU accession process. Would you agree with this assessment? Would you describe the speed of Serbia’s negotiating process as satisfactory?

The Strategy is stating the obvious. Montenegro and Serbia are the two countries that are negotiating their accession to the EU. But the EU accession process is dynamic, and it cannot be locked in one moment in time. That’s why I strongly believe that the Strategy is providing a positive framework and a credible offer by the EU to all those countries that are ready to prove their credibility and address the challenges – deficiencies of rule of law, corruption, organized crime, state capture by parties and individual interest, authoritarian tendencies, freedom of the media…

The speed of the process is less important than its goal to enable equal legislative, economic and social conditions to Serbia’s citizens, like the ones enjoyed by the citizens of the EU member states. I am convinced that Serbia can do better and go faster. I trust that our administration still has the capacity for that. Unfortunately, this capacity is eroding due to lack of ownership of the EU agenda in different line ministries and Government agencies. Mixed messages coming from the officials confuse the administration and demotivate them. Serbia deserves clear statements from the highest officials that the EU membership is our choice, our wish and our generational chance. No “ifs” and no “buts.

Srđan Majstorović, Chairman of CEP Governing Board

Srđan Majstorović, Chairman of CEP Governing Board

 Regarding the Strategy, it has been confirmed that the EU will not allow accession of the states that have bilateral disputes, hence greater cooperation between the Western Balkan states in resolving these disputes is expected. In what way can CSOs speed up this process and contribute to regional reconciliation?

It is obvious that those countries who prove to be incapable of resolving bilateral issues would signal that they didn’t understand the message from the Strategy; that the EU is not ready to import more insatiability. Bilateral issues must be recognized as a historical chance that can be resolved within the context of EU integration of the whole region. If you wish, it can be a chance to reconfirm the very basis on which the EU was established as a peace project. It will require change of mindset and language currently used by regional officials. Closer regional cooperation and rapprochement needs to be recognized as a chance to change the negative image and make the region more appealing to the citizens of the EU.

It is good that the CSO’s from the region decided not to wait for their “leaders”. There are numerous examples of regional networks of CSO’s who are investing significant efforts to bring citizens closer and to motivate them to understand and accept recent history in order to pave a stable foundation for a common future. CSO’s cannot and should not substitute the governments. It is their task to enable the official framework for reconciliation and rapprochement. However, CSO’s are indispensable in creating an atmosphere that is conducive to reaching that result and they can contribute substantially to a better understanding and faster reconnection of the region.

What do you consider to be the biggest challenges civil society in Serbia is facing? To what extent do you believe that civil society organisations (and CEP, in particular) are involved in the EU accession process? 

I am cautiously optimistic regarding the role of CSO’s in the EU accession process thus far. National Convention on European Union proved to be a functional and a resilient mechanism for inclusion of CSO’s in the EU accession negotiations. CEP has the honor to chair 3 Working Groups in the National Convention and we were ready from the start to make a substantial contribution to its work. We are strong advocates of strict monitoring of the negotiation process which we understand as a broader responsibility than a simple ticking off the box exercise.

However, the biggest challenge remains how to establish and maintain an atmosphere of constructive dialogue with the government representatives who are sometimes failing to recognize good intentions when CSO’s are being critical of their performance. It is our duty to raise concerns and offer alternative solutions when we recognize that certain obligations are not implemented in a timely manner. Often, this is perceived by government officials as a “political attack” which is far from reality. CSO’s have the right to alarm the public who is the real “boss” to those who they are electing and paying their work. The EU accession process is a long and complex process, thus we would ask for more patience and more dialogue with the civil society in order to have a sustainable environment for future cooperation.

*This interview is produced as a part of the fourth issue of the TEN Newsletter.

TEN one of the best think tank networks in the world

30th January 2018 – We are proud to inform you that the Think for Europe Network (TEN) has been selected as one of the best think tank networks in the world, according to the ranking of prestigious US program of the University of Pennsylvania, which has ranked world’s best think tanks and think tank networks for 11 years.

On the occasion of the publication of this Report, in 75 countries in the world and in more than 100 cities, the events on which the Report is presented are simultaneously held. For the first time, Serbia is among countries that participated in this huge initiative, at the event organised by European Policy Centre (CEP), the Think for Europe Network Coordinator. You can find more about the event here.

You can find the 2017 Go To Think Tank Report Index here.

What’s the role and importance of think tank organisations today?

30th January 2018 – Final conference of the International Visegrad Fund Project “Raising capacities and advocacy potential towards more substantive involvement of civil society organisations of Visegrad group and Western Balkan countries” was held today in Belgrade. Within the Conference named Think tanks in policymaking: Challenges and impact in Southeast Europe, annual Go To Think Tank Index Report for 2017 was presented; Report has been published for 11 years and presents annually evaluation of think tanks worldwide. Today, in 75 countries, events dedicated to presentation of the Go To Think Tank Index Report were held on the same day. This year, Report has been presented for the first time in Serbia, in organisation of European Policy Centre (CEP).

Final conference was organized in two panels. First panel named Transparency and Inclusiveness in Policymaking: State of Play in the Western Balkans brought discussion about Western Balkans` experiences regarding position of think tanks. Policymaking in Western Balkans is continuously characterized by poor and unsystematic involvement of civil society organizations (CSOs); on the other hand, the need that process of creation and adoption of policies is based on accurate information, as well as that contribution which think tank organizations provide to state authorities is evidence based and containing verified data is today bigger than ever, especially having in mind trend of democracy regression and growing information manipulation in South-east Europe.

Ms Milena Milošević, researcher in Institute Alternative from Montenegro, moderated first panel discussion. Panelist were Ms Milena Banović, Head of Department for Planning and Creating Enabling Environment for the Development of Civil Society, Office for cooperation with Civil Society, Ms Sanja Mešanović, acting Deputy Director of Republic Secretariat for Public Policies, Mr Radu Cotici, expert from Regional Cooperation Council (RCC), Ms Lejla Ramić-Mesihović, Director of Foreign Policy Initiative from Bosnia and Herzegovina and Ms Dragana Bajić, researcher from CEP.

Мilеnа Bаnоvić from The Office for cooperation with civil society emphasized the importance of the Office and its activities aimed to contribute to better cooperation among public administration organizations and civil society organizations. Also, she presented advantages and weaknesses of different models of cooperation among mentioned organisations.

In the creation of public policies, it is necessary to be guided by a smart choice, which means that public policies should be formed based on data and managed according to the results, thinks Ms Sanja Mešanović. She adds that it is particularly important that these policies are characterized by transparency.

Results of the regional public opinion survey „Balkan Barometer“ are presented by Mr Radu Cotici. He spoke about biggest problems that civil society encounters when communicating with state authorities, as well as which recommendations RCC gives in order to improve the current state.

Ms Lejla Ramić-Mesihović looked back on positive and negative aspects of CSOs participation in the process of policymaking. Although CSOs give huge contribution to state authorities, they at the same time make mistakes, she added.

Within second panel named Bridging Decision-Making and Expert Knowledge: what role for think tanks, participants disussed about experiences of Visegrad Group countries (Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland), as well as how much exchange of experiences among these countries and Western Balkan countries can help both. Panelists also discussed role and position of think tanks today, through the prism of publishing above mentioned 2017 Go To Think Tank Index Report.

For the first time, this year CEP was evaluated and was ranked on the list of best European think tanks.  Besides, the Think for Europe network, which consists of 6 CSOs from the Western Balkan, and whose work is coordinated by CEP, is on the list of the world’s best think tank networks.

Mr Srđan Majstorović, President of the CEP Governing Board moderated the panel, and panelists were Mr Michal Vit, fellow researcher for Czech organization EUROPEUM, Mr Andrew Cartwright, professor at Central European University from Budapest, Ms Sonja Stojanović Gajić, director of Belgrade Centre for Security Policy and Ms Milena Milošević from Institute Alternativa, this time in the role of panelist.

„I think that the most important thing which our organization currently does is development and participation in regional cooperation with other organizations from Western Balkan, as well as participation in regional initiatives for supervision of state institutions` activities“, said Milošević.

Sonja Stojanović Gajić warned that we, often guided by the facts, forget how important it is to affect the emotions of people. Therefore, it is not enough just to present research in the form of figures and information, but we should present the atmosphere and how people feel, she added.

„Support to populist political parties has been growing because they are aware of the importance of the impact on citizens` emotions and they abundantly use this fact“, highlighted Stojanović Gajić.

Panelists eventually agreed that the role of think tanks in the world of increasing global insecurity and the growth of authoritarianism is more important than ever and that work on strengthening cooperation among think tanks should be done.

Event announcement: Think tanks in policymaking – Challenges and impact in Southeast Europe

Policymaking in the Western Balkans (WB) is characterised by weak and unsystematic involvement of the civil society organisations (CSOs). On the other hand, necessity for evidence-based policymaking in the countries across Southeast Europe is greater than ever, considering the trends of democratic regression and growing manipulation of information in this region.

Think tanks and policy research institutes are supposed to play an impactful role in promoting transparency, inclusiveness and objectivity in policymaking, however their space for manoeuvre is hindered by numerous challenges, including uncertain funding opportunities and hostile political environment.

The Final conference of this project, financed with the support of International Visegrad Fund, will address these issues. The conference will be held on January 30, 2018 in Belgrade, at the EU Info Centre Premises. The Conference is named Think tanks in policymaking – Challenges and impact in Southeast Europe, and will address these issues in light of publication of 2017 Go To Think Tank Index Report.

Our panelists will be representatives of CSOs from the Visegrad Group countries and the Western Balkans, as well as representatives of state institutions.

Interview with Lejla Ramić-Mesihović: Efficient and professional public administration one of the pillars of successful pre-accession process

“Comprehensive and results-oriented regional cooperation has been recognized by both regional and international community as one of the strongholds of the reform processes. Exchange of experience, positive practices and lessons learned is surely beneficial for each country of the region and we can all learn from each other.”

Can you tell our readers about the current state of affairs regarding EU integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina? How much is civil society, and your organization in particular, involved in the process and its coordination structures?

Bosnia and Herzegovina holds the status of a potential candidate for EU membership and it filed a formal application for EU membership in early 2016. On 9 December 2016 received the European Commission’s Questionnaire. At the same time, the country has been trying to conduct reforms included in the Reform Agenda, adapt and implement the Stabilisation and Association Process and improve its internal coordination and communication. Due to political complexities and insufficient political focus on European integration process, some answers to the EU Questionnaire still remain un

answered mid-December, but there are indications that efforts have been intensified on completion of disputable part of the answers. Civil society organisations interested in the European integration process operate on three levels: activist, watch dogand think tank. FPI BH is a think tank. Our mission is to serve the society in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and its institutions through a wide range of research opportunities, publications and organization of events, which promote awareness of BiH internal governance issues, as well as its foreign policy directions.

How does „civil society scene“ look like in BiH? In your opinion, what are the challenges faced by civil society in your country, and on the other hand, what are the opportunities that should not be missed?

Lejla Ramić-Mesihović, Foreign Policy Initiative Director


Civil society organisations often lack capacity to see the entire picture and coordinate among themselves. Some developments have existed for the past couple of months in institutionalisation of cooperation between the CSOs and the BiH Council of Ministers on issues of general nature. In addition to this, two organisations initiated establishment of the Alliance for offering NGOs’ i.e. alternative answers to the EU Questionnarie. There is also the Initiative for Monitoring of EUI, which is primarily focused on a part of political criteria from acquis chapters related to the Rule of Law. In principle, we support work of both networks. BiH does not have a structure such an EUI convent, which could support European integration processes as a good and competent base, which would be complementary with efforts of governing structures in terms of competence and could bring into the matrix an appropriate civil society monitoring and participation in the process as it evolves. The Alliance does have the ambition to grow into this structure, but this ambition still remains to be seen in practice.

As a member of the Think for Europe Network (TEN), your organization is one of the key partners on the WeBER project. How would you describe the project, its mission, its role and its benefits for public administration reform in Western Balkan countries, and B&H in particular? Do you think that the WeBER model of regional cooperation could be replicated to other spheres of joint interest between countries of the region?

We are approaching the end of the second year of the implementation of WeBER project and we are very proud of the activities and results achieved so far. WeBER has been recognized as one of the best examples of how regional cooperation and comparative approach to the work of civil society organizations in the Western Balkans can yield results. In BiH, we have managed to gather more than twenty CSOs as members of the PAR National Working Groups, we have achieved excellent cooperation with BiH PARCO and our WeBER Platform members with whom we are in constant contact regarding PAR activities in BiH. Efficient and professional public administration is one of the pillars of successful pre-accession process and we are trying to provide continued and expert support to our institutions and CSOs. Furthermore, we are particularly proud on the work being done by the six local level organizations which have received small grants in BiH. Their projects are ongoing, but they have already managed to achieve some concrete results, which exemplifies the need for more focus being paid on the improvement of the local level administration.

Comprehensive and results-oriented regional cooperation has been recognized by both regional and international community as one of the strongholds of the reform processes. Exchange of experience, positive practices and lessons learned is surely beneficial for each country of the region and we can all learn from each other.

Can you tell us more about ongoing projects and initiatives that your organisation is currently implementing both in BiH and/or at the regional level?

FPI BH is a pioneering organisation in shadow reporting on European Integration in BiH and in the region and it has strong passion for both European integration and foreign politics in the wider sense of this term. We focus on expanding society’s knowledge about the changing nature and conduct of international relations, foreign affairs, diplomacy and repercussions on BiH institutions. Our experts analyse the foreign policy and try to advocate among relevant stakeholders and decision makers in the legislative and executive branches in BiH and in the international community. Ever since we started our enageged analytical activism in 2004, i.e. two years prior to formal registration of our non-governmental organisation, we tried to do our best to contribute to the strengthening of processes related to mentoring and training of emerging young professionals in BiH. Also, we are trying to contribute to improvement of public understanding about the nature of the governance reform process in BiH, it’s foreign policy and EU integration process. In addition to this, we have been working hard with a number of decision-makers on affirmation of principles related to gender equality in decision-making processes. On regional level we are proud to be in company of very good and foreward thinking think tanks through the Think for Europe network. FPI BH is also a proud supported of activities done under the Western Balkans 6 advocacy group.

Civil society needs to become acknowledged as a partner to governments in our region and its contribution to policy creation and monitoring recognized. What message would you send to CSOs in our region on how to strengthen their position Vis-à-vis their governments and policy making structures?

Civil society organisations have to advance their specific competences needed for participation and contribution into the process and improve articulation of their profiles which are today primarily driven by priorities of the donor communities in the region. We are to be comprehended as partners to governments in actions which are to lead to better, European future and stability in the region. We are not enemies. Though sometimes, a lot of space for improvement exists for advancement of mutual understanding and ways of cooperating. I do believe that in this sense, the best is yet to come.

*This interview is produced as a part of the third issue of the TEN Newsletter.

Second Meeting of PAR National Working Group in Skopje, Macedonia

On 27 October 2017, The European Policy Institute (EPI) – Skopje coordinated the second meeting of the NWG in Skopje, Macedonia.

The meeting served as consultation between the NWG, the representatives of the Small Grant Facility from Macedonia and the Ministry of Information Society and Administration of Macedonia.

The representatives the NWG and the grantees had opportunity to get acquainted with the latest version of the Strategy for the Reform of the Public Administration 2018 – 2022 and unique opportunity provide their views and input on the newly presented text. The structured engagement of the civil society in the structures for monitoring and coordination of PAR was advocated for, while the grantees advocated for inclusion of  local- self government in the scope of the Strategy. The meeting was attended by 23 representatives of CSOs from Macedonia.

Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform – WeBER – is a three-year project financed by the European Union (European Commission) and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  You can find more about project here.


Second Meeting of PAR National Working Group in Podgorica, Montenegro

On 30 October 2017, Institut Alternativa organised the second meeting of PAR National Working Group (NWG) in Podgorica, Montenegro.

This meeting was organised as part of the regional WeBER project, financed by the European Commission and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands. Participants in the meeting included 5 CSO representatives from Montenegro, which form the NWG for monitoring the Public Administration Reform.

Since some of the NWG members are also grantees within the framework of WeBER’s Small Grant Facility for civil society monitoring of PAR at local level, their representatives shared experiences and key findings in their projects so far into the implementation. One of the NWG members, Novi Horizonti, has already concluded its research into local level PAR reforms, their representative presented the study on proactive publishing of information at the local level, with the Municipality of Ulcinj as the case study, providing examples of research methods that could easily be replicated in other municipalities in order to compare results.

IA’s representatives presented the work done so far on preparing the WeBER methodology, as well as the research conducted on the first two indicators that has already been finished, regarding the areas of Accountability and Policy Development and Coordination. Possibilities for sharing the early results and methodological dilemmas of the PAR Monitor with the NWG have been discussed, as the NWG members expressed interest to contribute to the research process.

During the second session, the NWG members discussed their potential inputs to the Annual Report of the European Commission for Montenegro and provided proposals to be addressed during the Third Regional Meeting of the WeBER Platform in Skopje on November 1-2 2017.


Western Balkans Enabling Project for Civil Society Monitoring of Public Administration Reform – WeBER – is a three-year project financed by the European Union (European Commission) and co-financed by the Kingdom of the Netherlands.  You can find more about project here. NWGs are national consultative mechanism for participation of civil society in the dialogue with relevant public authorities on design and monitoring of PAR processes in the WB. NWGs are constituted in each of the WB country as national extensions for dialogue on PAR of the wider mechanism – regional WeBER Platform.

More about WeBER Platform structure can be found here, while organisations from Montenegro that wish to join can use the permanent open call for expression of interest for CSOs to join the NWGs.