Moldova is the country among the former Soviet republics that has the most positive view of EU. Recently, a number of Moldovan youth, had the chance to take part in an essay competition on European integration, organized by Transparency International. The aim of the competition was to spread knowledge about EU among young people. At the moment, widespread corruption is the biggest threat to successful EU integration for Moldova, according to Pirkka Tapiola, Head of the EU Delegation to Moldova, who visited the contest.
February 25-27, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation hosted its fifth Regional Women’s Round-Table Conference with representatives from the Foundation’s co-operation organisations in the Balkans. The conference was held in Stockholm and the purpose was to discuss Balkan’s integration to the European Union. (more…)
June 10-13, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation arranged a study trip to Brussels for members of the Bosniak party SDA. The target group was young politicians who had participated in a four step training model directed by the Foundation and the SDA Political Academy in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). (more…)
A new report from the European Stability Initiative (ESI) analyses the current stalemate between Turkey and the European Union concerning visa liberalisation. It also suggests a concrete way forward.
A new Russian curtain is descending, dividing Europe. In contrast to the old one, this new curtain is not made of iron, concrete or barbed wire. Behind, there are no armoured divisions prepared for invasion. Instead, there are political and economic forces where private and public power has merged, leading to power without transparency, checks and balances or any kind of accountability, be it domestic or foreign. (more…)
For the second time this year, Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation (JHS) arranged a study visit to Brussels for youth from the Macedonian ruling party, VMRO-DPMNE. The study trip, which lasted between 26 and 29 November, included visits to EU and NATO. The participants, mostly students, were members of the youth branch of the VMRO-DPMNE or active in local politics. (more…)
Macedonia is one of the current candidates for a future EU membership. More than 85 percent of the population supports a membership in both EU and NATO. But before entering either of the two organizations, the sensitive naming dispute with Greece must be resolved.
As part of the EU integration project in the Balkans, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation invited youth politicians from the party in power in Macedonia – VMRO-DPMNE – to a conference in Brussels, February 7-10, 2012.
The group of enthusiastic young politicians visited major EU Institutions such as the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of the European Union.
In the Parliament, they met with Anna-Maria Corazza Bildt, who described her work as a Member of Parliament. At the Commission, EU experts Willem Noë and Mark Corner summarized the history of the Union.
The participants’ key area of interest was, as is to be expected, the enlargement of the EU. The Macedonians were eager to receive information about when their country could become a member, but understandably no-one could give them anything but a general timetable for the process.
Moreover, discussions about membership were in focus during the meetings at the NATO headquarters. Due to security matters, Macedonia regards a NATO membership as even more important than a membership in the EU. In 2008 the country was ready to join the European/North American defense alliance, but was blocked by Greece.
“In our country, everyone discusses politics”, one of the participants said. 21 years have passed since declaring its independence and Macedonia is still in an extensive transition phase. However, one thing is clear: the wish to be part of Europe is one of the top priorities of the new generation.
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.
On January 20 to 22 the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation organized a conference in cooperation with G17 Plus in Serbia. The theme was “Political branding and EU integration”. The location of the conference was the city of Nis, about three hours’ journey from Belgrade. This was the last conference in a series of three parts.
The first day started with Klas Hjort, who works for Christopher Fjellner European Parliament, talking about how the EU works, how to influence and why Europe matters. In the afternoon of the first day Suzana Grubješić, who is deputy leader of G17Plus, paid a visit to the conference. She spoke about European integration from a Serbian perspective. (more…)
In a report issued on October 12, the EU Commission stated “that Croatia meets the political criteria and [the Commission] expects Croatia to meet the economic and acquis criteria and to be ready for membership by 1 July 2013.” At the same time the Commission recommended that the Council grant Serbia the status of candidate and give green light for accession negotiations with Montenegro.
In a set of annual reports – issue on October 12, 2011 – the Commission informed on the progress towards EU accession made by the Western Balkans, Turkey, and Iceland over the past year. (more…)