Mile Lasic, an accomplished journalist and later a professor of European Integrations at the University in Mostar, was recently a guest on the TV show ‘Vicinities,’ a program that seeks to create a constructive dialogue on recent political issues in the region. It airs its 6th season in the Western Balkans this coming Fall.
Following five consecutive years of success, ‘Okruzenje’ (Vicinities), the first regional television talk show on social and political affairs, is back for its sixth season. The shooting of the first cycle has just wrapped, and plans for the second cycle are underway.
The first six episodes showcase a raft of content including topics such as ‘What does the energy future of the Western Balkans look like’?, ‘Security threats in the Vicinity’, ‘Balkan leaders: Between the Past and the Future’, ‘Why are the Balkans all about politics’.
Recent momentous changes, shifts and events in Europe over the past few months have given rise to not only concern, but also fear, anger and reactionary responses. However, small signs of hopeful progress in politics, social advancements and civil society must be celebrated and seized on as the first steps for real change, while not being naïve about the challenges that still lie ahead.
A strong Europe means a strong Western Balkans and vice versa. Even though they are geographically indivisible, they seem distant from each other when it comes to the values they cherish, their economic status and living standards, and most of all, when it comes to their vision of a common future. These so-called ‘two ends’ will meet this July in Trieste at the fourth Western Balkans’ Summit - part of the Berlin initiative.
After the successful completion of the ‘Teaching for Learning’ workshop in Belgrade last weekend, the ePACT team, together with the trainers from the Serbian Ministry of Education, traveled to Niš in southern Serbia to implement the second pilot training session, within the framework of ePACT.
Mr. Dragan Gejo, Head of the Regional School Department, opened the two day training workshop and highlighted the importance of such initiatives that help teachers improve their skills and familiarise themselves with new methodologies.
The opening speech of Mr Aleksandar Pajić, Assistant Minister of Education in Serbia, strongly confirmed the excellent cooperation between the Ministries of Education in the six target countries within which the ePACT project is implemented and the two operating organisations - CDRSEE and Euroclio. Ms Kovac, Executive Director of CDRSEE, also highlighted that cooperation between the state authorities and the civil society organisations can benefit society as a whole more effectively than when they operate separately.
At a seminar organised for the CDRSEE in Luxembourg by the European Investment Bank (EIB) together with the EIB Institute on 23 March, our Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac raised the problems the Western Balkans faces once again and how it needs the EU now more than ever to counter extremism and deal with the refugee problem.
Making up over 56% of the total migrant population, the Albanian community is the single largest group of migrants in Greece, and one that has experienced both struggles and solidarity in settling and integrating in the country.
Today most of the Western Balkan countries wait at the EU’s door in an almost endless queue. As they inch their way towards it, the further away it appears. The comparison with the disintegration of Yugoslavia seems to be the word on the street; we can now read and hear of the fear of a similar denouement once again. The ominous lyrics of a famous Yugoslav song from the eve of the nineties "Just let there be no war" are being referred to today. As individuals or a group of individuals, we need to react to what appears to be a return to the situation in the 90s. We must show that the solidarity which the EU lacked from its inception, is indispensable for the well-being and prosperity in Europe.
2017 kicked-off with another two regional launches of the new JHP workbooks in Zagreb on 17 January and in Sarajevo on 19 January.