Belgrade, 12 January 2017.
The 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.
As Ms Tanja Miscevic, the Head of the Negotiating Team for Accession of Serbia to the EU, indicated: “There is no negotiation process without the civil society and their involvement is crucial both for advocacy inside the country and towards the member states and Brussels”. Ms Milena Lazarevic expressed that the role of civil society was to closely monitor key developments and debates at the EU level and share all relevant information with the media and the interested public. According to her, the involvement of civil society would be beneficial not only for CEP as a think tank, but for Serbia as well, as this is the time to profile Serbia as a future member state of the EU.
The CEP Council will be entrusted with an advisory and steering role in shaping the CEP strategic and program framework and providing recommendations for its further development. Simultaneously, the Council should contribute to the further advancement of research methodologies and capacities in the individual programme areas of CEP, as well as support the wider outreach of CEP’s research results among key stakeholders and the public in general.
Members shared their views and emphasised the significance of the CSO role not only for the European integration process, but for the complete reform process as well. They stressed that Serbia can and should be more present in the debates concerning the future of the EU and challenges the Union is currently facing. According to the Council members, Serbia should, therefore, be more proactively engaged in such debates in order to achieve greater visibility at the European level, while think tanks, such as CEP, may have a huge role to play in the process.
The full list of Council members is available here.