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Public meeting: “Young Generations for the New Western Balkans: Beyond Emigration"

Recent research shows that between 25.000 – 40.000 people are annually leaving each of the Western Balkans countries. Not only young people, but increasingly the middle class as well. A group of young scientist from the region has engaged in a project ‘New Horizons for the Young Generations in the Balkans” in order to discuss their visions how to overcome old- fashioned politics and nationalisms and the lack of perspective for younger generations. They will sketch alternative horizons and the look for alternatives for South-Eastern Europe’s way beyond emigration. Den Haag will be the first place in Europe after Vienna where the results of the mentioned initiative will be presented to the public.

Verwachtingen van de Westelijke Balkan aan de vooravond van de Europese top

Zullen we ooit deel uitmaken van het Europese project? Dat is de vraag die alle Westelijke Balkan leiders stellen wanneer ze zich voorbereiden op de grote top. Na de uitspraak van de Franse president Macron, geen uitbreiding totdat de EU zelf haar zaken op orde heeft, vorige maand in Straatsburg, vielen hun dromen aan diggelen.

Sinds 1991 aan de macht: Djukanovic wint presidentsverkiezingen in Montenegro

Op 15 April won Milo Djukanovic (Democratische Partij van Socialisten, DPS) de presidentsverkiezingen in EU-kandidaat-lid Montenegro. Een generatie Montenegrijnen is opgegroeid met Djukanovic als leider: sinds 1991 is hij zes keer premier en nu, voor de tweede keer, president. Zijn lange heerschappij is niet onomstreden. Hij zou zich tijdens de Westerse sancties tegen het voormalig Joegoslavië in de jaren ’90 verrijkt hebben door nauwe samenwerking met de georganiseerde misdaad. Zo vaardigde de openbare aanklager in de Italiaanse stad Napels in 2002 een arrestatiebevel uit omdat Djukanovic een belangrijke rol zou hebben gespeeld in de sigarettensmokkel. Ondanks het EU-perspectief – Montenegro handelt momenteel over toetreding – stagneert de democratische transitie door autoritair leiderschap van één van de langstzittende leiders in Europa.

EU’s New Enlargement Strategy: Change of Tone

On the 6th of February the European Commission presented its long awaited enlargement strategy for the Western Balkans. Since the State of the Union of European Commission President J.C. Juncker last year, there was a growing momentum for a clearer prospect for accession of Bosnia-Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Macedonia and Albania to the Union.

Training voor kandidaat-raadsleden in Montenegro

Dat het lastig kan zijn om machtsverhoudingen in een kleine transitieland te veranderen bewijst Montenegro. Met 700.000 inwoners en lage opkomst bij de verkiezingen weet de regerende Democratische Partij van Socialisten (DPS) al sinds 1991 haar macht te handhaven. Een relatief groot deel van de gezinnen is afhankelijk van een baan bij een (semi-) overheidsinstantie en dat speelt DPS in de kaart. Dat verzet tegen DPS je duur kan komen te staan ondervond onze zusterpartij, Sociaal Democratische Partij (SDP). De partij splitste op en ging van 10 naar 6% in de landelijke verkiezingen. Met de lokale verkiezingen in de hoofdstad Podgorica op komst probeert de partij zich te herpakken.

Montenegro chose NATO in the recent parliamentary elections

The Democratic Party of Socialists (DPS) of the current Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic won the parliamentary elections in Montenegro on 16 October. DPS has been in power since 1991 and this time received 41% of the votes. Djukanovic labeled these elections as a choice between NATO and Russia. Out of 81 seats in the parliament DPS will now receive 36. The party of Social Democrats of Montenegro (SD), which has close ties with DPS, won two seats. The opposition parties have 39 seats in total and might try to form an anti-coalition. In particular, the pro-Serb and pro-Russian Democratic Front coalition (DF) won 18 seats, the Grand Kljuc Coalition has 9 seats, the centre-left Democratic Montenegro got 8 seats and Social Democratic Party (SDP) gained four seats. National minority parties, Bosnian, Albanian and Croatian, also have four seats. The recent election results are weaker for DPS this time and it is expected to form a coalition with SD and national minorities. Coalition negotiations will be decisive for the future course of Montenegro: whether it will move closer to the West or turn back to its traditional partners Serbia and Russia. The voters turnout on 16 October was 71% despite the actively spread through the social media flashmob of ‘staying lazy’ on elections day.

2016 Course for Promising Politicians: regional cooperation in Western Balkans

Between the 30th of July and the 3rd of August the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Belgrade office, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) organised the second seminar of the 2016 Course for Promising Politicians. The seminar ‘enhancing regional partnership and cooperation’ took place in Skopje, Macedonia. FMS trainer Maja Nenadović and Regional Cooperation Council (RCC) Nenad Šebek conducted the training.

Ich bin ein Social Democrat

Between the 26th and 29th of May Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) Belgrade office, European Forum for Democracy and Solidarity and Foundation Max van der Stoel (FMS) organised the first seminar of the 2016 Course for Promising Politicians. The seminar ‘ich bin ein Social Democrat’ took place in Igalo, Montenegro, and focused on ideology and policies. FMS trainer Michiel Emmelkamp and Novo društvo (Croatia) trainer and SDP international secretary Karolina Leaković conducted the training.

Promising politicians 2015: Regional responsibility

Last weekend (18-21 June) the second seminar of the Course for Promising Politicians (CPP) was held in Tirana, Albania. The seminar on regional cooperation focused on the interrelationships in the Western Balkan states, and on how cooperation between the countries can enhance regional stability and encourage regional growth. Over the course of three days, 27 young politicians followed several workshops on this topic.

Promising Politicians 2015: ‘Ich Bin ein Social Democrat’

Last weekend (22-24 May) a new edition of the Course for Promising Politicians (CPP) started. The first seminar of this year’s course took place in Budva, Montenegro. The seminar on ideology, ‘Ich bin ein Social Democrat’, focused on the policies and the central messages of social democracy. Over the course of three days, 27 young politicians followed several workshops on this topic.

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