Kamingespräch

On February 16th 2011, Foreign Policy Initiative BH held the first in a series of events which will focus on different aspects of BiH foreign policy, based on a concept of Kamingespräch (fireside chat). This is a German concept of casual fireside conversations about current affairs, meant to create an enabling atmosphere for open exchange of opinions between experts, diplomats and civil society representatives.

The subject of the first meeting was BiH Presidency of the UN Security Council during January 2011 which was previously reported on by FPI in our policy analysis entitled ”The non-permanent membership of Bosnia and Herzegovina in the United Nations Security Council 2010 – 2011: Challenges of the January 2011 Presidency “.

In the pleasant atmosphere of the Sports Club “Una“, the BiH Ambassador to the UN, H.E. Mr. Ivan Barbalic, conveyed his direct experiences from the January Presidency of the UN Security Council, referred to other aspects of the non-permanent membership in the UN Security Council and spoke about future commitments during the remaining 10 months of membership. Representatives of the BiH Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Presidency staff, Ambassadors of Germany, Turkey, Slovenia and Austria, as well representatives of the UK, Swiss, and Chinese embassies commented on the successful Presidency of the UN Security Council. It was also an opportunity to discuss the broader impact of this experience on BiH foreign policy and establishment of more effective internal mechanisms of coordination and communication.

FPI BiH plans to continue organising similar events in future, focusing on the situation in the Middle East, German foreign policy in BiH, and other topics relevant to profiling BiH foreign policy. Discussions will be substantiated by analytical reports which will be written by our experts and associates and published on our webpage.

Presentation of the Comparative Report for 2009 under the Project “Monitoring of the BiH European Integration Processes”

FPI BH presented the Comparative Report on the Monitoring of the EU Integration 2009: Western Balkans – Bosnia and Herzegovina. Uneven progress in the Western Balkan countries and BiH is second to last. In BiH 85% of the interviewees supports the EU integration and finds that the government’s activities for the realization of the necessary reforms are insufficient.

The European Union Institute for Security Studies, in cooperation with the Foreign Policy Initiative BH, organized a seminar in Sarajevo from 19th to 21st of May 2010 entitled “The Western Balkans: the Path to European Integration”.

The conclusion was that the EU Integration Process is a means for the creation of functioning states, but that the mechanisms of the Process are not suitable for the states that have problems in functioning and creating political consensus. That is why further incentive by the EU is necessary in order to eliminate the influence of the rhetoric of the past and to further encourage regional cooperation which has proven to be possible, useful and desirable for all of the Western Balkan countries. European Union is built on future and not on past, and that is why it still has very strong appeal, because it advocates unity within diversity. The rule of law is the basis for achieving the values of the EU, and the civil society needs to be empowered in the coordination of activities on advocating reform processes.

In the panel chaired by the Swedish Ambassador in BiH, H.E. Mr. Bosse Hedberg, the Director of the FPI BH, Ms. Denisa Sarajlić-Maglić presented the Comparative Report on the Monitoring of the EU Integration 2009: Western Balkans – Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a special focus on how BiH is ranked in that process, when compared to the other countries form the region.

Uneven progress was achieved in the countries of the region, and the best results were achieved by the countries with stabile governments, majority in the Parliament and functional political system. The common weaknesses are insufficient levels of fight against corruption, respect of human rights, functioning of judiciary and bilateral cooperation. In the majority of areas BiH is second to last in obligation fulfilment, in front of Albania, including the visa liberalization issue, while Croatia is the leader in this process. The public opinion poll conducted in December indicates that the citizens think that the government’s activities for conducting the reforms are insufficient; they mainly blame the local politicians for that. Close to 85% of the BiH citizens finds that the future of BiH is in the EU and that there is no alternative to that. Citizens in both entities share that view. Close to 75% of the interviewees in the entity F BiH and 45% in the entity RS are prepared to support the transfer of competences from the entities to the BiH state if that is to speed up the road towards the EU. At the same time, 55% of the interviewees believe that the EU citizens wish to see BiH as an EU member country in the future.

Enlargement policy is the baseline of the EU external policy. A clear political message is expected from the upcoming gathering of the Foreign Affairs Ministers of the EU member countries in Sarajevo that will reaffirm the Thessalonica Declaration and the Copenhagen Criteria, and re-evaluate the system of additional conditioning of potential candidates and candidates for EU membership. Enabling further steps towards the EU would be a positive impulse for the public of the region as well as for the administrations of the aspiring countries.

FPI BH in Cooperation with the BiH Euro Info Centres Informs the Citizens on the European Integration Process

The FPI BH associates on the Project of “Monitoring of the BiH European Integration Process” held a series of lectures in Zvornik, Mostar and Brčko in cooperation with the Euro Info Centers in Tuzla, Mostar and Brčko.

PRESENTATION “CRITICAL REVIEW ON THE SAA IMPLEMENTATION” HELD IN BRČKO

Brčko, 18 November 2009 – In accordance with its basic mission aimed towards informing the public of the EU integrations and BiH Government activities on fulfilling the commitments taken over from the SAA, the Euro Information Centre Brčko; in cooperation with Civil Society Centre Kyodo Sarajevo, Faculty of Economy Brčko, and the Department for European Integrations of Brčko District BiH Government; organized a presentation on the topic “Critical Review on the Stabilization and Association Agreement“.

The presentation of Mr. Erol Mujanovic from the Foreign Policy Initiative BH from Sarajevo was attended by numerous members of the academic community, students, local business people and politicians. The conclusion of those present there was clear – progress in implementing the reforms connected with the European Integrations is on a very low level precisely because the BiH political leaders can not find a consensus on basic reform priorities. Participants’ conclusion was that only small progress was made in the aria of respecting the human rights, and the obligation of constitutional reforms is reduced to adopting amendments relating to BiH Brčko District.

The message from this gathering was that establishing a legal frame for political fight against corruption, better education, and better sorted public health system, are some of the most important tasks of the BiH leaders, if the state wishes to get closer to the EU.

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“THE IMPORTANCE OF THE EURO-ATLANTIC INTEGRATIONS AND THE CURRENT STATE OF JOINING THE EU”

Mostar, 10. November, 2009 – Within the frame of its activities, the Euro Center Mostar organized a lecture on the topic of “The Importance of the Euro-Atlantic Integrations and the Current State of Joining the EU” which was held on Monday, 9 November, 2009 in the premises of the Faculty of Law of Mostar University.

The Vice-dean of the Faculty of Law, Prof. dr. Vesna Kazazić, on behalf of the Euro Info Centre and the Faculty, introduced the lecturer, Mr. Davor Vuletić, the Director of the Foreign Policy Initiative (FPI), and expressed her gratitude for the preparedness to approximate the information on the Integrations and the term “Western Balkans” in such a manner, to students and undergraduates.

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YOUTH PERSPECTIVES IN PERIPHERAL AND RURAL ENVIRONMENTS IN THE CONTEXT OF EUROPEAN INTEGRATION ASSOCIATION PROCESS”

Tuzla, 6 November, 2009 – On 5 November, 2009, in the International Youth Centre Križevci near Zvornik, the Euro Info Centre Tuzla, as part of its activities, organized a conference on the topic of “Youth Perspectives in Peripheral and Rural Environments in the Context of European Integration Association Process” in order to identify the problem the young people meet in rural and peripheral areas in BiH and find possible solutions to them within the context of the European Integration Association Process.

The lecturers, Ms. Anamarija Magazinović, representative of the Foreign Policy Initiative, spoke of local and rural development in accordance with the implementation of the SAA as well as of the development components and application possibilities from the IPA Program; Docent dr. Ismet Sejfija, professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Sarajevo, Ševal Šehić, coordinator of the Križevci Youth Centre, and Đorđe Radanović, the President of the Youth European Movement in BiH spoke of the position of young people in rural environments as well as of problems and possibilities of rural development in BiH.

Conference participants; representatives of youth NGOs from all parts of BiH, representatives of the OSCE and development agencies ”Nerda” and “Bospo” as well as the representatives of the municipal governments that further scientific and expert researches, that will provide the empiric base for situation assessment and village and peripheral development planning, are necessary.