CENTER FOR DEMOCRACY AND RECONCILIATION IN SOUTHEAST EUROPE

News

01Oct

Vicinities Europe 2 pilot shows filmed successfully!

The first two episodes of the pan-European current affairs TV show “Vicinities Europe” are now a reality. After 9 months of continuous efforts by the CDRSEE team, hosts Susan Nadeau and Tim Judah gathered in the studio with guests from across Europe for very lively and sometimes intense discussion about the migrant and refugee crisis, and on current events and the future of Europe. 

The pilot shows were made possible thanks to the financial support of the ERSTE Stiftung.
  
The show “Quo Vadis, Europe?”, which looked at recent current events and what they mean for Europe, included guests Florian Bieber from the University of Graz; Silvie Lauder of Respekt magazine; Stephane Grueso of eldiario.es; and Nenad Sebek of the Regional Cooperation Council.    
  
The migrant and refugee crisis in Europe was the topic of the second show, which included Melita Sunjic of the UNHCR; Timea Kovacs of the Helsinki Committee for Human Rights; Philippe Fargues of the Migration Policy Centre; and Vasilis Tsartsanis, an independent filmmaker. Discussion intensified as guests looked for answers to a difficult and sometimes tragic situation. 
  
The show benefited from comments and the participation of a live audience that included members of the European Alternatives Network, European Fund for the Balkans Alumni and students from a joint master's degree programme with the University of Belgrade and the University of Graz.  
  
The shows are now in the editing stage and will be ready for broadcasting in the next week                                        .


  

11Sep

CDRSEE plays role in 25th Economic Forum in Krynica Zdroj (Poland)

The CDRSEE's new Board Member, Dr Hannes Swoboda, spoke on two panels, elaborating on capitalism and values in the 21st century, as well as on European Crossroads and Social Differences in the EU.

CDRSEE Director of Programmes Corinna Noack-Aetopulos moderated a panel on collective memory and national identity, where speakers from Ukraine, Kosovo, Poland and Germany discussed the use and abuse of history, the risks that artificially created national identities bear and whether a common European identity comes close to Utopia, as the President of the Institute of National Remembrance in Poland, Lukasz Kaminski, put it. 

Further speakers were Oleksandr Dekhtiarchuk, Member of Parliament and Head of the Supreme Council of the Ukraine; Leonid Finberg, Head of the Centre for Studies of the Culture and History of East-European Jews of the National University of Kyiv-Mohyla Academy; Ramadan Ilazi, the Deputy Minister of European Integration from Kosovo; and Eckart Stratenschulte, the Director of the European Academy in Berlin. 

28Aug

Serbian and Albanian PMs look to the future on Okruzenje

Aug. 27, 2015, Vienna -- With the spotlight set firmly on the future, Prime Ministers Edi Rama of Albania and Aleksandar Vučić of Serbia came together for the first time ever in a TV studio as guests of the CDRSEE's current affairs talk show "Okruzenje" ("Vicinities"), discussing prospects for the region's youth, regional cooperation and the Balkans' place in Europe.

The heads of state were joined by fellow guest Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, on the special edition of Okruzenje, a joint initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans and the CDRSEE that was filmed immediately following the Vienna Western Balkans Summit 2015.

They were to discuss the "Union of Youth of the Western Balkans Initiative" that the two prime ministers are spearheading to increase cooperation and raise quality of life in the region.

On the set, however, they discussed the youth initiative and more -- looking to the future, they emphasized how cooperation will help the region as a whole.

"We are not talking about the past anymore; such greater Albania, greater Croatia, greater Serbia shall not exist" Mr. Vučić commented.

And that cooperation will be best realized with the region as a part of Europe.

"It is a common European issue that both countries, Albania and Serbia, shall be part of the European family," Mr. Rama added.

The special episode, possible by the generous support of the ERSTE Foundation and the Regional Cooperation Council, will be broadcast on 10 national channels, including both the Serbian- and Albanian-language TV channels of Kosovo's public TV station RTK, Albanian Public TV RTSH, Serbian Public TV RTS, and national channels in all the other countries of the Western Balkans. Scores of regional TV stations in various countries will also broadcast the special edition.

The show was hosted by CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac, and her regular-season co-host Nenad Sebek, RCC’s spokesperson.

27Aug

Civil Society organizations meet with WB, EU leaders at Summit Forum

Aug. 26, 2015, Vienna -- Civil society leaders came together in Vienna for an important Civil Society Forum, ahead of the Western Balkans Summit Vienna 2015, to organize and prepare for their chance to voice their concerns and ask for support from the heads of state attending the major international event this week.

CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac and Project Manager Antonis Hadjiyannakis attended the Summit Forum, as the Center plays a major role in Civil Society in the Balkans and beyond through its education and media programmes. CDRSEE's current affairs talk show "Okruzenje" ("Vicinities") will tape a special edition after the Summit, with the Prime Ministers of both Serbia and Albania as guests, along with the general secretary of the Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Svilanovic.

The prominent themes of the Civil Society Summit were regional cooperation, freedom of the media and the creation of jobs and general prosperity. The speakers noted progress, however, just in the fact that such a diverse group could come together in a positive atmosphere and vow cooperation.

"This scene ... wasn't possible even a year ago," Albanian Prime Minister Ed Rama said as the discussion got underway.

The civil society leaders met ahead of the larger Western Balkans Summit Vienna 2015, the most important event of the year for the region when leaders from the Western Balkans countries and the European Union meet to discuss progress in EU enlargement, regional cooperation and other key areas. This year, civil society was given a prominent role, as governments turn to the organizations for dealing with ongoing issues in the region.

Franz Karl Prüller, Chairman of the Board of the ERSTE Foundation, kicked off the forum with moving remarks and positive motivation about the future of the region.

Guests on the panel included Edi Rama, Prime Minister of Albania; Aleksandar Vučić, Prime Minister of Serbia; Johannes Hahn, EU Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement Negotiations; Igor Lukšić, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration of Montenegro; and Igor Crnadak, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bosnia and Herzegovina.

The Civil Society representatives included Ardian Hackaj, Director of the public policy platform Shtetiweb at the Cooperation and Development Institute; Meliha Bajramović, Coordinator of Plenum Zenica; Faik Ispahiu, Director and Executive Producer of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and Internews; Dona Kosturnova, Executive Director of the Youth Educational Forum; Dejan Milovac, Director of the Center for Investigations and Deputy Director of MANS; and Aleksandar Simurdić, Secretary General of the European Movement, Local Council Novi Sad, Serbia.

The discussion was moderated by Ivan Vejvoda, Senior Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States.

The Civil Society Forum of the Western Balkans Summit 2015 is the joint initiative of ERSTE Foundation, Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the Karl Renner Institute, in close cooperation with the Austrian Federal Ministry for Europe, Integration and Foreign Affairs.

 

05Aug

Special Okruzenje with Albanian and Serbian Prime Ministers as guests

For the first time ever, the Prime Ministers of Albania and Serbia, Mr. Edi Rama and Mr. Aleksandar Vučić, will come together in one TV studio, for a special edition of the CDRSEE's current affairs talk show "Okruzenje", which is a joint initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans and the CDRSEE and will be filmed during the Vienna Western Balkans Summit and broadcast on TV channels across the Balkans. This episode was made possible by the unlimited support of the ERSTE Foundation and the Regional Cooperation Council.

Mr. Rama and Mr. Vučić will be joined by Mr. Goran Svilanović, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, as our guests on Okruzenje, or Vicinities, to discuss the "Union of Youth of the Western Balkans Initiative" that the two heads of state are spearheading to increase cooperation and raise quality of life in the region.

The Prime Ministers will discuss the initiative in front of a live audience and with four special youth guests from the Western Balkans. The youth initiative is seen as an important driver for tolerance, solidarity and cooperation among young people in the region.

The special edition will be recorded in Vienna on August 27 during the Summit, known as the Vienna WB6 Summit. It will be broadcast 48 hours later on 10 national channels, including both the Serbian- and Albanian-language TV channels of Kosovo's public TV station RTK, Albanian Public TV RTSH, Serbian Public TV RTS, and national channels in all the other countries of the Western Balkans. Scores of regional TV stations in various countries will also broadcast the special edition.

The show will be hosted by CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac, and her regular-season co-host Nenad Sebek, RCC’s spokesperson.

Read also in the media:

www.gazetatema.net/web/2015/08/07/rama-vucic-ne-nje-tjeter-duel
www.b92.net/info/vesti/index.php?yyyy=2015&mm=08&dd=10&nav_category=11&nav_id=1025479
rs.n1info.com/a83667/Svet/Region/Vucic-i-Rama-prvi-put-zajedno-u-TV-emisiji.html
www.rts.rs/page/stories/sr/story/9/Politika/2002629/Televizijsko+suo%C4%8Davanje+stavova...
www.slobodnaevropa.org/archive/news/20150810/500/500.html?id=27181450
www.nuns.rs/info/news/24496/vucic-i-rama-prvi-put-zajedno-u-tv-emisiji.html
www.vijesti.me/tv/rama-i-vucic-gosti-okruzenja-846299
koha.net/?id=27&l=70138
www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/vucic-and-rama-to-confront-stands-in-tv-debate-08-11-2015
www.tanjug.rs/full-view_en.aspx?izb=193488
english.albeu.com/news/news/rama-and-vucic-to-face-each-other-live-again/208891/
www.shekulli.com.al/p.php?id=296545
www.top-channel.tv/lajme/artikull.php?id=305852
www.panorama.com.al/rama-vucic-perballe-njeri-tjetrit-ne-nje-emision-televiziv/
gazeta-shqip.com/lajme/2015/08/08/rama-dhe-vucic-debat-online-per-tv-ne-serb/
www.gazetadita.al/rama-dhe-vucic-takohen-serish-kesaj-here-ne-nje-debat-televiziv-me-27-gusht/

28Jul

CDRSEE takes multiple roles in Vienna WB6 Summit

July 27, Vienna – The Center for Democracy and Reconciliation in Southeast Europe will play multiple key roles in the Vienna Western Balkans Summit, known as the Vienna WB6 Summit, to be held on Aug. 25 to 27, 2015, to discuss ways to bring the EU Enlargement process to the forefront once again.

CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac is one of only three representatives of Civil Society Organisations taking part in the Summit, which will be attended by the heads of state of the countries of the Western Balkans, Germany, host-country Austria, and others, as well as by many high-ranking diplomats and Civil Society representatives.

The Summit will be preceded by the initial Civil Society portion of the Vienna WB6 Summit, which brings together leaders from many CSOs from across Southeast European countries to find and articulate ways that Civil Society must take part in the region's integration into the EU. The Civil Society event will result in proposals for the full Summit.  

This is the most important event of the year in regards to the Western Balkans and its aspirations for accession in the European Union. The first summit took place in 2014 in Berlin, and the Austrian government has organized the follow-up 2015 event. This year the event is even more dynamic, as Civil Society organizations play a bigger part in the summit and the plans, giving a closer connection to the citizens.

The Summit will wrap up with a special edition of the CDRSEE's current affairs talk show, "Okruzenje" ("Vicinities"). Prime Minister Edi Rama of Albania and Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia, joined by Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council, Goran Svilanović, will discuss the "Union of Youth of the Western Balkans Initiative" that the two heads of state are spearheading to increase cooperation and raise quality of life in the region.

 

27Jul

International round table discussion with think-tanks and VP of the EC Ms. Federica Mogherini

July 23, Sofia – Vice-President of the European Commission Ms. Federica Mogherini and 30 representatives from European and Western Balkans' institutions and civil society organisations came together in Sofia, Bulgaria, for an international roundtable to discuss EU Enlargement, with a dynamic discussion ensuing on migration, the EU spirit and maintaining positive cooperation with the Western Balkans. 

The EU in a changing global environment: What next for EU’s Neighbours” was the topic put forth for the roundtable in the framework of the EU’s Global Foreign Policy Strategy Review. Ms. Mogherini, who is also the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, also spoke about the state of the European Neighbourhood Policy.

There was a dynamic and inspiring exchange of opinions among Ms. Mogherini, representatives of European and Western Balkans’ institutions and the Civil Society organisation leaders. CDRSEE Executive Director Zvezdana Kovac took part in the conference.

Ms. Mogherini pointed out that there is still no financial framework, and concrete actions have yet to be implemented in relation to the Western Balkans and the Eastern Neighbourhood. Regarding the relationship between the European Union and the Western Balkan countries, she said that a continual working relationship must be established with EU keeping the enlargement process alive, while the WB countries for their part must have a more positive approach towards the enlargement procedure, convincing the EU that their intentions are honest. A change in mentality is needed in the Balkans countries, she said, as there is a lack of EU spirit.

The discussion turned to the migration crisis in the EU. Ms. Mogherini spoke about need for the EU to create new strategies on migration and help to the immigrants’ countries. The European Union must work on finding the causes before any consequences appear. The High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy also highlighted the importance of respecting the emigrants as human beings and not considering them as burdens.

The conference ended with an equally interesting discussion on energy. “Beyond the pipeline knot: The future of energy sector in the wider Europe region” was the topic, and experts on energy policies talked about thinking about energy in terms of interconnectedness, and the goal of sharing overproduction on the basis of transparency, solidarity and trust.

10Jul

Joint History Project editors meet again, make progress on sources and topics

Belgrade -- 6-8 July 2014 -- The key editors of the upcoming Joint History Project workbooks met for a second time to debate topics to be covered in the volumes addressing recent history, bringing to the table everything from the split of Yugoslavia to the emergence of the Facebook culture.

Prof. Christina Koulouri, Prof. Dubravka Stojanovic, Prof. Neven Budak, Prof. Bozo Repe and Prof. Alexei Kalionski, accompanied by the CDRSEE's Director of Programmes Corinna Noack-Aetopulos, made great progress in the Belgrade meeting, organizing and sourcing the two innovative workbooks, which are part of the second phase of the CDRSEE's Joint History Project.

Ideas covered a vast range and showed the various perspectives of the wars of the 1990s, the Cold War, the Cyprus crisis and many other sensitive topics.  In addition, experiences with transition and lifestyle topics such as new technologies, the Youth Culture, the emergence of smart phones, and the importance of social media like Facebook, Twitter and YouTube are under consideration.

The Joint History Project is the CDRSEE's multi-perspective history education programme, fostering understanding and reconciliation in the Western Balkans for the past 16 years. Four workbooks are currently available in 11 languages. The second phase of the JHP covers the history of the past 60 years.