Our new regional platform – MladiRini

This platform was created as a part of a project implemented by a group of think tanks under the Think for Europe Network and their partners from Poland, Italy and Belgium. It is intended to survey the voices of the youth, aged 16 to 25, to propagate them and to stimulate discussion regarding various topics, among which internet freedoms, issues regarding the environment and rule of law will be featured. It was created as a part of the Make Future Together: EU and the Western Balkans from the Youth Perspective project but will serve for the continuous involvement and engagement with the youth.

Also, this platform aims to gather the voices of the youth from 6 Western Balkan countries that are going to participate in the Conference on the Future of Europe. Therefore, the aim of the platform is to understand, include and advocate for the youth and their opinions on the big stage.

What this means is that you can provide us with significant input that we will be able to compile and promote in order to advocate for policies that will better a young person’s position in the Western Balkans.

And here’s us – teams full of advocates, youth enthusiasts and internet geeks who have worked hard to bring us here all together.

Check it out! www.mladirini.org and, whether you are mladi or rini, tell us what you think about yourself and your space in this ever-changing world!

IN MEDIA PRESS / WeBER 2.0 / Bosnia and Herzegovina

BUKA Magazin – Pandemija nije uticala da građani u BiH češće koriste e-usluge (6yka.com)

VPI BH: Pandemija nije uticala da građani u BiH češće koriste e-usluge | RTVTK

VPI BH: Pandemija nije uticala da građani u BiH češće koriste e-usluge | FENA

Pandemija nije značajnije utjecala da građani BiH češće koriste e-usluge – Klix.ba

source.ba | Pandemija nije uticala da građani u BiH češće koriste e-usluge

face.ba | Jedina neovisna medijska kuca

Pandemija nije značajnije utjecala da građani BiH češće koriste e-usluge – www.vecernji.ba

Pandemija nije uticala da građani u BiH češće koriste e-usluge – Analiziraj.ba

Ni korona nas nije odviknula od šaltera / Bljesak.info | BH Internet magazin

Bh. građani ne koriste elektronske usluge: Ni korona nas nije odvikla od šaltera | ZOS d.o.o. (zosradio.ba)

Pandemija nije značajnije utjecala da građani BiH češće koriste e-usluge (theworldnews.net)

TVSA.BA – Televizija Sarajevo

Danas u “Dnevnom avazu” čitajte: Idu nove krivične prijave

Foreign Policy Initiative BH among the Top 100 think-tank organization in Central and Eastern Europe third year in a row

We are proud to inform you that the Foreign Policy Initiative BH is again among the Top 100 think-tank organization in Central and Eastern Europe! FPI BH is on the 88th position at the 2020 Go To Think Tank Report published by the University of Pennsylvania.

TEN – Think for Europe Network a regional network which consists of six research organisations from the Western Balkans reached the list of the world’s best networks of research organisations for the third year in a row!

You can find the 2020 Go To Think Tank Report Index – “2020 Global Go To Think Tank Index Report” by James G. McGann (upenn.edu)

The Interaction Between the EU’s Climate Change Objectives and its State Aid Regulation in the Area of Renewable Energy

Our associate Davor Vuletić has published a scientific paper on the topic “The Interaction Between the EU’s Climate Change Objectives and its State Aid Regulation in the Area of Renewable Energy” for the Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy.

This paper analyses the interaction between the EU’s climate change objectives and its state aid regulation in the area of renewable energy through the chronology of the adoption of the EU’s key policy documents and related legislation. The EU’s state aid rules impose certain restrictions on the public financing of renewable energy, which is crucial for reaching the EU’s climate change objectives in due time. The paper identifies four challenges in this respect. The ultimate challenge for the EU is how to reconcile science, the market economy and energy politics. Another challenge for the EU was the diverging national energy policies before the ‘energy title’ was introduced in the Lisbon Treaty. The third challenge for the Commission is how to move the climate change issues up to the top decision-making level. The final challenge is the state aid framework that supports climate change mitigation, whose upcoming changes should address the gap between ambition and reality. The paper aims to assess the policy consistency of the EU’s climate change legislation in order to determine whether the EU’s credibility as a ‘green leader’ is just nominal. The notion of ‘nominal green leader’ is related to the consistency of the EU’s climate change legislation which seems not to have had the expected effect determined by the Kyoto Protocol and Paris Agreement. The paper brings the ambitious policies face to face with the data on state aid provided for climate and energy targets and compares them with the technological expectations in renewable energy deployment. The question that arises is whether it is time for the EU to balance the understanding of ‘common interest’ more towards climate change mitigation at the expense of certain elements of competition policy.

Keywords: climate change, competition, electricity generation, internal market, renewable energy, state aid.

The article in English is available here.

Vol 16 (2020): ONLINE FIRST | Croatian Yearbook of European Law and Policy (cyelp.com).

Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen?

The two-day activity of the Foreign Policy Initiative BH Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen? as a part of the project Make Future Together: The EU and the Western Balkans from Youth Perspective, which consisted of yesterday’s focus group with young people from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina and today’s panel discussion that included experts and youth representatives from yesterday’s event with the goal to raise awareness of the Internet and the socio-political engagement of young people towards a wider audience, and to provide concrete solutions.

Over the last few years, the scope and use of digital tools such as social media has expanded significantly in many areas of our daily lives. One of them is the political sphere, where citizens get involved in discussions and debates and gather information about political events. The aim of the event is to explore the practices and attitude of young people on this issue, in order to determine how social media can be used as a tool to strengthen democracy. Topics discussed were internet freedom, misinformation and fake news.

Today, representatives of young people who discussed at yesterday’s event, had the opportunity to present their views, opinions and conclusions about social networks and the Internet in general, as a means for their daily activities. By talking to people who work directly in this field, such as Irhana Čajdin from Group 9 and Emir Zulejhić from the Raskrinkavanje.ba portal, they came to new insights into practices concerning young people online. Of course, on behalf of the Delegation of the European Union in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Vladimir Pandurevic, Head of the Civil Society Program, EIDHR, also addressed us, emphasizing that active cooperation with young people is what makes such projects successful.

Some of the conclusions from yesterday’s discussion include “two sides of the same coin” (that is, the Internet), where young people singled out the following: positive sides include information gathering, online social activism and connecting with family and friends, whereas fake news, bad influence on the mental state of users, and hate speech depict the negative sides. In addition, young people dedicated their discussions to proposing possible solutions, highlighting the reporting of negative content, continuous education of young people, and indicating the use of beauty filters in published photos.

Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen? is a part of the project Make Future Together: The EU and the Western Balkans from Youth Perspective which is implemented by the Foreign Policy Initiative BH in cooperation with other members of the regional Think For Europe Network (TEN), the Institute for International Relations in Rome, the Bronislaw Geremek Foundation Center in Warsaw and the Centre for European Policy in Brussels. The project is funded by the European Union as a part of their Europe for Citizens program.

 

The first day is over – Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen?

Today, the Foreign Policy Initiative BH held a virtual roundtable discussion with a group of young people from all over Bosnia and Herzegovina, as a part of our event: Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen?

Together with this young group of participants, we explored their practices and attitudes related to citizen involvement in discussions and debates, as well as information gathering on political developments on the Internet. In this way, we have identified ways in which social media can be used as a tool to strengthen democracies. In general, the main focus was on the topics of internet freedom, misinformation and fake news.

On the second day, young people will present their ideas and perceptions to the public, and together with experts in the field of media literacy, as well as those who work together with young people, further discuss these topics.

Youth Online: Can you hear me from the screen? Is a part of the project Make Future Together: EU and the Western Balkans from the Youth Perspective, implemented by the Foreign Policy Initiative in cooperation with other members of the regional Think For Europe Network (TEN), the Institute for International Relations in Rome, the Bronislaw Geremek Foundation Center in Warsaw and the Centre for European Policy in Brussels. The project is funded by the European Union as a part of their Europe for Citizens programme.

VPI BH campaign – “You have the right to know. . . .”

On the occasion of the International The International Day for Universal Access to Information, the Foreign Policy Initiative BH organized a campaign “You have the right to know” on social networks during September and October, which aimed to raise awareness of citizens regarding the importance of free access to information.

In addition to infografics and animations that you can see later in this article, we also organized two special video shows. During the first show we had the opportunity to talk to Dragan Ćuzulan, Coordinator of the Public Administration Reform Coordinator’s Office in BiH and gave answers to the following questions:

  • How much are BiH citizens aware of the importance of freedom of access to all information of institutions?
  • What are the ways and mechanisms for institutions to open up to citizens?
  • Is proactive transparency one way to increase trust?
  • How far is Bosnia and Herzegovina realistically from the European standard of public administration?

The second edition of the special show we talked to Leila Bičakčić, the Director of Center for Investigative Reporting (CIN) and provided answers to the following questions:

  • How to deal with these problems and difficulties faced by media workers in BiH?
  • Is the pursuit of standards of active transparency of public administration the backbone and the usual state of the solution to these problems?
  • How far is Bosnia and Herzegovina realistically from the European standard of public administration?

Check out the content of the campaign below:

Presentation of the study “Foreign authoritarian influence in the Western Balkans”

On Tuesday, 15.09.2020., the Foreign Policy Initiative BH organized a presentation of the study “Foreign Authoritarian Influence in the Western Balkans” online through the Zoom platform.

The study is the result of the project “Understanding and Responding to the Influence of Foreign Actors”, which aims to understand the nature and the degree of authoritarian influence in the Western Balkans, starting with three countries: North Macedonia, Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

Significant knowledge is available on how Russia is trying to establish European and American political processes, but the influence of Russia and other superpowers (e.g. Turkey, Iran, China) in the Western Balkans, is less known and brought to attention. The aim of the project is to better understand, raise awareness and realize the impact of foreign actors in Eastern and Central Europe. This project aims to create tools that will enable detailed measurement of the influence of actors such as the Russian Federation, the People’s Republic of China, as well as other authoritarian regimes.

In addition to the author, prof. dr. Damir Kapidžić from the Faculty of Political Science, University of Sarajevo and Strahinja Subotić, researcher at the Center for European Policies – CEP, participated in the presentation of the study.

The implementers of this project, in addition to the Foreign Policy Initiative BH, are: Political Capital (Budapest, Hungary); Societas Civilis Institute for Democracy (Skopje, North Macedonia); Center for Democratic Transition (Podgorica, Montenegro), with donor support from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).

The analysis is only available in English and can be downloaded here.

Public perceptions of service delivery in the Western Balkans are on the rise

Results from the public perception survey on service delivery suggest that governments in the Western Balkans are striving towards digitalisation and citizen-oriented services.[1] This year’s surveys show that all of the countries in the region are either making progress or remain at the level of the first PAR Monitor 2017/2018.

Public perception points to a more citizen-oriented service delivery

Compared to the results of the previous PAR Monitor, Serbia and Albania record the most noticeable changes with regards to citizens’ perceived simplicity of dealing with public administration (Graph 1). In other words, there were respectively 23 and 18 percentage point increases in these two countries, followed by Montenegro at 14 percentage points.

Survey also show that roughly two thirds of citizens in the region feel that governments are moving towards digitalisation (69%). Apart from Bosnia and Herzegovina, where slightly below 50% of citizens perceive this trend, in all the other countries of the region, between 66 and 81% of citizens surveyed feel this way. At the regional level, citizens noted positive improvement in the time needed to obtain administrative services. This was especially so in Serbia, Albania, and Montenegro, where more than 60% citizens confirmed it has decreased.

It is also worth noting that 58% of citizens in the region claim to recognise governments’ efforts to simplify administrative procedures – more than in the previous PAR Monitor. As before, public administration in Kosovo takes first place according to perceptions, followed by Serbia.

The availability of e-services: more awareness, same levels of usage

The public is increasingly aware of e-services across the Western Balkan countries. Unlike the previous PAR Monitor, no country records below 50% of awareness, with as high as 74% of citizens in Albania (Graph 2). On the flip side, we find that a lot of citizens still do not use these services – a third of citizens in the region stated they had never used them. Additionally, with less than a third of citizens using them either rarely or just sometimes, many used them only occasionally. Notably, only 10% of citizens have used e-services often.

At the same time, surveys show that most citizens in every country (between 70 and 80%) report that e-services are easy to use. This resembles the results of PAR Monitor 2017/2018, in which approximately 80% of citizens surveyed in all countries included reported the ease of use of these services.

Bearing in mind the high awareness figures, a lack of information on e-services is unlikely to account for the low-level usage. More than two thirds of citizens who used e-services, more or less frequently, had little or no difficulties finalising services they requested. Nonetheless, in terms of public perceptions, there has been tangible improvement in citizen-oriented service delivery in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, and Serbia. On the other hand, the situation in Kosovo and North Macedonia has mostly remained unchanged.

[1] As for the 2019/2020 PAR Monitor, public perception of the awareness of and usefulness of feedback mechanisms, and their availability to citizens, is measured with public perception surveys that were implemented in each of the Western Balkan countries in the same manner. Surveys were implemented in the period from 5 to 30 May 2020.

APPLY NOW – Call for Expression of Interest to CSOs interested in PAR monitoring

WeBER 2.0 – Western Balkan Civil Society Empowerment for a Reformed Public Administration is seeking project proposals for the implementation of the Small Grant Facility for support to civil society monitoring of public administration reform at local level. The Call for proposals is in the total amount of 225.000 EUR intended to support up to 30 grants, each worth up to 8000 EUR (7500 EUR on average), out of which 6 in Serbia, 6 in BiH, 5 in Albania, 5 in North Macedonia, 4 in Kosovo, and 4 in Montenegro. Duration of the awarded grants is between 6 and 12 months. WeBER 2.0 project is financed by the European Union (EU). The complete Call for Proposals and all relevant documents are available for download below:

Application package