November 6-10 and 13-17 the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation held conferences on ideology for politically active youth from the Balkans and the Eastern Neighborhood in Nynäshamn, south of Stockholm. The basis of the seminars was the book Principles for a Free Society by Dr Nigel Ashford and the lectures were led by leading opinion makers and Swedish politicians. The conferences aim to strengthen the ideological base among the participants with emphasis on understanding of democracy, human rights and market economy.

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September 22-24, party representatives from Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Sweden, met in Sarajevo to discuss Balkan’s EU-integration.

The discussions focused on the refugee crisis and the management of the Balkan route as well as how to increase opportunities in the region. The economic integration of the region was also discussed. The women´s round table conference aims to create stronger networks in the region and to increase the participation of women in politics and leading positions.

 

Finally it was time for the first out of two Summer Schools. About twenty young politicians from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Serbia and Sweden met August 15-19 in Nynäshamn in Sweden to dig deeper into the principles of democracy. Nigel Ashford, professor at the Institute for Humane Studies at George Mason University in Washington DC, was the chairman of the conference and seminars were based on his book “Principles for a Free Society”, written exclusively for the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation.  (more…)

Oskar Öholm greeting Nicola Lazic. Flaked by Stefan Dragojevic, Kire Ilioski and Jens Ahl.

On May 13-14, 2011, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a round-table conference with leaders from cooperation partners in the Balkans. The conference focused on the continued integration of the Balkan states into Europe as well as other aspects of the European Union.

 

“The Countries in the Balkans have to push for membership. The EU never invites anyone to join,” said Walburga Habsburg Douglas, MP and member of the Hjalmarson Foundation board. Her view was shared by the participants. (more…)

Citizens of Albania and Bosnia and Herzegovina possessing biometric passports will be able to travel without visa to the Schengen area.

This decision will enter into force the day following the publication in the Official Journal of the European Union. “The visa-free regime is the best proof that reforms at home bring tangible benefits for citizens and progress in relations with the EU. We can build on this in order to further the reforms needed to bring the two countries closer to their European aspirations”, said Mr Štefan Füle, Commissioner for Enlargement and Neighbourhood Policy. With this decision, the two countries join the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia who have already benefitted from the visa free regime since 19 December 2009.

 

 

Standing are Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonio Milošoski from Makedonien (to the left) and Genc Pollo, Minister for Innovation and ICT in Albanien.

May 7-8, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged a round table conference on the EU integration of the Balkan countries. The participants were high level politicians from the Foundation’s sister parties in four Balkan states. The group consisted of some 20 politicians including two ministers – the Macedonian Minister for Foreign Affairs Antonio Milošoski and Genc Pollo, Albanian Minister for Innovation and ICT.

Among the issues discussed at the conference were membership and security in the Balkan region. Göran Lennmarker, the Chairman of the Parliamentary Committee for Foreign Affairs and the Chairman of the Foundation, reminded the participants that although the path to a membership may seem endless to the Balkan countries, the situation was once the same for the Baltic states. Today, those countries are all EU-members.

Numerous participants noted that Sweden is the most enlargement-friendly member of the Union. In addition, they emphasized that this, the third Balkan conference arranged by the Foundation, constituted an excellent opportunity to “openly discuss problems and exchange experiences among friends”.

The participants discussed obstacles on the path to  full EU membership – such as bilateral conflicts. Nevertheless, the participants agreed that there is indeed a development in the right direction.

– Since we met last time, we have achieved visa freedom for, for example, Serbians, said Nikola Lazic, Serbian parliamentarian and International Secretary for the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS).

The participating parties where Albanian Partia Demokratike e Shqipërisë, Bosnian Partija Demokratskog Progresa and Stranka Demokratske, VMRO-DPMNE  from Macedonia and Serbian Demokratska Stranka Srbije and G17Plus.