Balancing between East and West: can Serbia benefit from a flexible foreign policy?
There are growing doubts about the region’s European perspective following a series of postponements in the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia and the announcement of reforms of the enlargement methodology. Although Montenegro and Serbia are forerunners in the process, membership is still a long way off, especially after EU member states largely dismissed the 2025 membership perspective. This has resulted in a weakening of the EU’s gravitational force in the region, allowing space for other global and regional powers. The increase in economic cooperation between Serbia and China, as well as Serbia’s signing of a free trade agreement with the Eurasian Economic Union, has made this especially clear. We discussed these issues with our guest, ambassador Duško Lopandić, CEP Council member. This episode coincides with the publishing of annual ranking of top think tanks worldwide by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program by the University of Pennsylvania, where CEP regularly finds their place. CEP is ranked as the best think tank in the WB and among the top ten in Central and Eastern Europe.
Strict, fair & committed – the Dutch Approach to the Enlargement
In this episode, we speak about the Dutch approach to the accession of the Western Balkans in the European Union, the European Commission’s proposal for a revised accession methodology, proposal for participation of the Western Balkans at the Conference on the Future of Europe and what it’s like to make and maintain friendships when you’re a diplomat. Our guest is H.E. Gilles Beschoor Plug, the Ambassador of the Netherlands to Serbia and to Montenegro.
More listening, less advising: think tankers as democracy defenders
In this episode, we speak about the think tanks, and their potential to counter the decline of democracy worldwide and nurture inclusive and evidence-based policymaking. Our guest is Sonja Stojanović Gajić, great connoseur of the topic, member of Executive Board of Belgrade Centre for Security Policy (BCBP) and CEP Council member. This episode coincides with the publishing of annual ranking of top think tanks worldwide by The Think Tanks and Civil Societies Program by the University of Pennsylvania, where both CEP and BCBP regularly find their place. CEP is ranked as the best think tank in the WB, while BCBP is regularly the best think tank on security and defence in the region and beyond. Recommendations for further reading: Enrique Mendizabal, Reclaiming the think tank space in 2020s onthinktanks.org/articles/reclaim…ce-in-the-2020s/ Isidora Stakić, BCBP, Threats and Pressures Faced by Activists and Independent Journalists in Serbia bezbednost.org/All-publications/…es-Faced-by.shtml Isidora Stakić, BCBP, Kriminalizacija solidarnosti: Obračun sa aktivizmom Združene akcije „Krov nad glavom" bezbednost.org/Sve-publikacije/7…-Obracun-sa.shtml #CooperativeSecurityInitiative i #CooperativeSecurityMatters
Seeking for better service design and delivery: created by and for citizens
More and more countries worldwide are placing the administrators in the users’ shoes and trying to understand the citizens’ journey through the service request. Today, we will talk about public services and service delivery. Our guest is Gregor Virant, Head of SIGMA and former minister of public administration of Slovenia. SIGMA stands for Support for Improvement in Governance and Management, a joint initiative of the OECD and the European Union.
Behind the French “non”: Discussing the French proposals for reformed EU enlargement process
EU enlargement policy has returned to the spotlight in Brussels. France is mostly to blame, or to thank for this, firstly for yet another postponement of the start of North Macedonia and Albania's accession negotiations, and secondly for its latest initiative to reform the EU’s enlargement policy towards the Western Balkans. Our guest is His Excellency Jean-Louis Falconi, the Ambassador of France to Serbia.
Council of Europe – the driver of rule of law promotion?
H.E. Tobias Flessenkemper, Head of the Belgrade Office of Council of Europe, is joined by Sena Marić, Programme Manager and Senior Researcher in CEP. Useful links: Universal Declaration of Human Rights: https://www.coe.int/en/web/compass/the-universal-declaration-of-human-rights-full-version- Istanbul Convention on preventing and combating violence against women and domestic violence: https://www.coe.int/en/web/istanbul-convention/home European Charter of Local Self-Government: https://www.coe.int/en/web/conventions/full-list/-/conventions/treaty/122 Winston Churchill, speech delivered at the University of Zurich, 19 September 1946: https://rm.coe.int/16806981f3 European Convention on a Human Rights: https://www.echr.coe.int/Documents/Convention_ENG.pdf Revised European Charter on the Participation of Young People in Local and Regional Life: https://www.coe.int/fr/web/youth/-/revised-european-charter-on-the-participation-of-young-people-in-local-and-regional-life Convention 108+ Modernised Convention for the Protection of Individuals with Regard to the Processing of Personal Data: https://www.coe.int/en/web/data-protection/convention108/modernised Official website for Belgrade Office: https://www.coe.int/en/web/belgrade/coe-office-in-belgrade