On 11 -13 of May Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged a conference in Sarajevo in co-operation with PDP, one of the two Bosnian parties that the foundation works with. The participants were young candidates and campaign managers and the focus was on preparing for the local elections in October. The speaker was Oscar Öholm, MP, Kristoffer Tamsons, senior consultant at Hallvarsson & Halvarsson and Sebastian Tham, press secretary. (more…)

Klas Hjort and Senad Šepić during a training session.

The seminar took place from May 4-6, 2012 a seminar was organized in Sarajevo, Bosnia and Herzegovinaby the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation and the Stranka Demokratske Akcije (SDA). Some 40 members of the SDA party from Bosnia were trained on ideology and policy making  by James Marriot, Secretary General of the International Young Democratic Union, Senad Šepić, Director of Political Academy of SDA, Klas Hjort, Political Advicer of the Moderate Party Office in the European Parliament and Evelina Lorentzon, Risk Analyst

This seminar is the first part of a 3 step training. The coming seminars are taking place in the autumn and in the begining of next year.

Participants fron Bosnian SDA and Klas Hjort in front of the European Parliament.

On January 23-26 the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a study visit of young politicians from Bosnia and the party SDA, to Brussels and the EU. The first daybegan with a much appreciated visit to the European Parliament. The participants met, among others, with Christina Lutz, Head of staff of the Moderate Party in Parliament. They also visited MEP Anna Maria Corazza Bildt who shared her experiences from the Balkans and the issues currently being discussed within the EU, including the financial crisis and family rights.The visit ended with a tour of Parliament led by Klas Hjort who works for MEP Christofer Fjellner of the Moderate Party. After an interesting morning in Parliament the afternoon was spent at the Commission, lerning about its role within the EU family.

On the second day’s morning, the Bosnian participants meet with the Bosnian Ambassador to the EU, Osman Topčagić, followed by a bus trip to NATO. Three meetings were planned at the NATO, the last one with Ambassador Branimir Jukic, who is Bosnia-Herzegovina’s ambassador to the NATO. The participants were highly interested in NATO and its activities. In the morning of the last day – before leaving Brussels in the afternoon – participants visited the Council of Europe and met Maria Sevdali who talked about how the Council operates, key policy issues and how it is to work with a rotating presidency.

Representatives of the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation recently visited Bosnia to initiate an evaluation process of all projects on the Balkans managed by the Foundation. How does the cooperation work? What effects, if any, have been reached? What might be done in a different way? Following two days of meetings and discussions the conclusion was obvious: members of the PDP are convinced that the cooperation with the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation is a positive force on numerous levels.

Close to the border between Croatia and Bosnia Herzegovina lies the village Gradiška. The houses along the main street look like houses in any village in Central- and Southern Europe. That is, if it wasn’t for the bullet holes that serve a reminder that this village is not like any other village. This was recently a war zone. From 1992 to 1995, this part of Europe was haunted by a civil war between Serbs, Muslims and Croats, a war ended with the Dayton agreement. The conflict in Bosnia started with the collapse of the former Yugoslavia, with the result that more than 250 000 people were killed and 1.6 million were forced to leave their homes. Still today the memories of the war are part of everyday life in the constituent republic of Srpska and its capital Banja Luka. (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…)

January 25-28 the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a study trip to Brussels for a group of young politicians from the Party for Democratic Action, SDA, from Bosnia.

The program included visits to the European Commission, European Parliament, European People’s Party and NATO. Participants also had the opportunity to meet and talk  the to the Bosnian Ambassador to the EU. In the European Parliament the group met with the Swedish MP’s Anna Ibrisagic and Christopher Fjellner, who both spoke about various aspects of their work in Brussels and their home regions. The participants were happy with the visit and explained that it is of great importance to gain a deeper understanding of, as well as the opportunity to discuss, Bosnia’s relations with the European Union and NATO.

In the photo: Christofer Fjellner, MP, when meeting with the SDA representatives.

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.