Case Study Competition - How can the EU do better in your country - Balkans?

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In this paper, I will try to focus clearly on assessing the EU performance, primarily in Bosnia and Herzegovina but also in the Balkans, through “The School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe in B&H” and “Educational cycle of Political Academy of the Party of Democratic Action B&H”. I'm very familiar with these two programs because I have recently attended them.
The aim of this paper is to provide constructive criticism regarding EU performance of these two programs of political education for young people, which would help the EU to raise its efficiency and maximize its results in B&H and the Balkans by offering fresh and creative approaches that address its shortcomings.

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Case Study Competition - How can the EU do better in your country - Balkans?

  1. 1. Sanel Prelic CASE-STUDY COMPETITION„How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” Lukavac, February 2013
  2. 2. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICIn this paper, I will try to focus clearly on assessing the EU performance, primarily inBosnia and Herzegovina but also in the Balkans, through “The School of PoliticalStudies of the Council of Europe in B&H” and “Educational cycle of Political Academyof the Party of Democratic Action B&H”. Im very familiar with these two programsbecause I have recently attended them.The aim of this paper is to provide constructive criticism regarding EU performance ofthese two programs of political education for young people, which would help the EUto raise its efficiency and maximize its results in B&H and the Balkans by offeringfresh and creative approaches that address its shortcomings.The School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe in B&HThe School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe in B&H is currently one of thebest programs of “the continents oldest political organization“1 – Council of Europe.Council of Europe, through its Office in Sarajevo and under the project "Network ofSchools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe”, organizes this school for tenyears successfully in order to educate and train future generations of political,economic, social and cultural leaders in B&H with the help of national andinternational experts. I was a participant of this tenth jubilee generation of the schoolwhich held its activities during 2012.The aim of the School of Political Studies of the CoE in B&H was to gather, through aseries of seminars, young leaders from almost all political parties and all parts of B&Hand various areas of professional life.Participants in the program introduce each other and analyze the different views thatother young people have, work together, and discuss the important and sensitivepolitical topics in a polite manner with the aim of fostering and improving the cultureof dialogue. Ultimately, it all together should ensure the giving of importance to the“Council of Europe’s main goals and values”2 in the future political and public life inB&H.1 The Council of Europe is the continents oldest political organisation, founded in 1949. (Source: Website Councile of Europe –Sarajevo Office http://snipurl.com/25wh6k6, accessed on December 1, 2012)2 The primary aim of the Council of Europe is to create a common democratic and legal area throughout the whole of thecontinent, ensuring respect for its fundamental values: human rights, democracy and the rule of law. These values are thefoundations of a tolerant and civilised society and indispensable for European stability, economic growth and social cohesion.On the basis of these fundamental values, we try to find shared solutions to major problems such as terrorism, organised crimeand corruption, cybercrime, bioethics and cloning, violence against children and women, and trafficking in human beings.(Source: Website Councile of Europe http://snipurl.com/25t5sr4 accessed on December 1, 2012) 2
  3. 3. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICIt is important to note, “when Bosnia and Herzegovina became a full member of theCouncil of Europe (on April 24, 2002) it has accepted an obligation to foster andpromote democratic values and standards of the Council of Europe”.3Educational cycle of Political Academy of the Party of Democratic Action B&HFor the past three years, Political Academy of SDA, “as a program of politicaleducation and training for young leaders”4, offers a one-year educational cycle to itsstudents that takes place through the curriculum of the Academy. I was a participantof the second generation of PA SDA which held its activities during 2011.In addition to contribution to the quality of political processes in B&H through politicaleducation of staff and motivating them to political and social action, other aims of PASDA’s one-year educational cycle are development of a democratic political cultureamong youth and social actors, encouraging dialogue & cooperation between youngleaders on issues of common interest, preparation of young leaders for the futuresocial and political roles that they will perform, and especially successful leading ofB&H through the process of important reforms.During educational cycle of PA SDA participants, namely young leaders from politics,private sector, public administration, civil society and media, had an opportunity togain knowledge through intensive seminars from areas that are relevant to their workin society, regardless of the sphere of the society in which they acted.Among the covered areas in the curriculum of PA SDA were the topics that seek toimprove the future work of the participants, such as political communication, humanresource management, the use of new technologies in the campaign, as well asthose relating to broader areas such as European integration, introduction todecision-making in the European Union, the use of pre-accession funds of theEuropean Union, etc.3 Source: Website Ministry of Foreign Affairs B&H, http://snipurl.com/25t5t3c, accessed on December 2, 20124 Political Academy of the Party of Democratic Action is program of political education and training for young leaders frompolitics, private sector, public administration, civil society and the media from B&H, the region and the world (Source: Facebookpage of Political Academy of SDA http://snipurl.com/25t5vkc, accessed on December 2, 2012) 3
  4. 4. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICAnyway, PA SDA is “the first academy of its kind in B&H, modeled on programs ofpolitical education in the major parties across Europe”.5Projects that provide hope for a better tomorrowBased on the facts presented so far, it can easily be concluded that projects such as“The School of Political Studies of the Council of Europe in B&H” and “Educationalcycle of Political Academy of the Party of Democratic Action B&H” are "Ambassadorsof the main aims and values of the EU" and trying to educate young people, surelythe most important group, about these aims and values.I therefore believe that projects of this type are necessary and really provide hope fora better future of B&H and the Balkans from multiple aspects.In article “Develop and improve society“6 Director of Political Academy of SDA SenadSepic says that in PA SDA they are of the opinion that acquirement of knowledge,skills and attitudes can affect political process which will bring change for the better,and this change can only come with more activity of young people. Sepic adds thatthis method of education of the entire civil society was long-rooted in Westerndemocracies and for B&H this is especially important because of the fact thatdemocracy in this country is still in the development stage.Thus, some of the main topics covered by the curriculum of PA SDA are thoserelating to European integration, introduction to decision-making in the EuropeanUnion, the use of pre-accession funds of the European Union, etc.Among other things, one of the aims of the School of Political Studies of the CoE inB&H is improvement of the culture of dialogue between young participants for thepurpose of development of Bosnian society. In her statement for “South East NewsService Europe (SENSE)”7 Head of the Council of Europe Office in Bosnia andHerzegovina Mary Ann Hennessey points out that, with the gathering of current andfuture leaders from almost all political parties and areas of professional life in Bosnia5 Source: Facebook Page of Political Academy of SDA http://snipurl.com/25t5vkc, accessed on December 5, 20126 Newsletter of Political Academy of SDA, Number VII, September/October 2011, strana 17 Source: Website of South East News Service Europe http://snipurl.com/25twb0j, accessed on December 10, 2012 4
  5. 5. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICand Herzegovina, they are trying to learn to discuss the very important and sensitivetopics through this school.Some of the main topics studied in Schools of Political Studies of the Council ofEurope are “European integration, processes of democratization, interculturaldialogue, post-conflict reconciliation, globalization, organization of free elections,strengthening of democratic institutions and civil society development”.8Participants - primarily young and well-educatedYoung candidates who have already established themselves in their workplaces andwant to deepen knowledge and share experience on the socio-political processes aremainly requested during the selection of candidates for both programs. Well-educated people who have specific program of work for the next period and speakforeign languages have an advantage during selection process.Candidates for educational cycle of PA SDA are required “to have expressed desirefor new knowledge acquirement, skills improvement and introduction with new ideas& techniques“.9Participants of the School of Political Studies of the CoE are “young leaders (averageage 35) in the public and private sectors, selected according to their level of social orprofessional responsibility, taking account of relevant political, social, cultural andethnic factors in each country”.10 Gender balance is another criterion of the schools’selection procedure.This is exactly the target group of candidates which only, if of course meets all thenecessary criteria, can provide and build a new future for the countries in the Balkansregion in the European Union.I therefore believe that education and training of these young people should lie in thecenter of “strategy for success” of each serious society whose strategic aim ismembership in EU.8 Source: Website European Association of the Schools of Political Studies of the Council of Europe http://snipurl.com/25u0yrl,accessed on December 10, 20129 Source: Facebook Page of Political Academy of SDA http://snipurl.com/25t5vkc, accessed on December 11, 201210 Plaquette „The schools of political studies of the Council of Europe“, Council of Europe, 2010, page 2 5
  6. 6. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICHigh-quality education programs that truly promote the goals and values of theEUPA SDA, in cooperation with partner “Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation from Sweden”11,organized seminar entitled “European integration and political brending” forparticipants of the second generation of PA SDA on October 2011 in Sarajevo."The speakers at the seminar were prominent experts from Sweden as ParHenriksson, Head of campaigns for Swedish centre-right Moderate Party andSwedish Prime Minister Fredrik Reinfeldt, and Klas Hjort, Political Advicer of theModerate Party Office in the European Parliament. They have spoken about howinstitutions of the European Union work and its values and goals.“12Vice president of SDA and Member of Parliament of B&H Semsudin Mehmedovicheld lesson about European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and negotiationsof that country with the European Union.Bakir Izetbegovic, member of the Presidency of B&H talked with the participantsabout the issues that are within its competence as member of the Presidency, butalso about other strategic issues that are important for B&H such as membership inthe EU and NATO.“The culture of dialogue in B&H” was title of the first seminar of the tenth School ofPolitical Studies of the CoE in B&H, held on February 2012 in Vlašić.Head of the CoE Office in B&H Mary Ann Hennessey spoke at the seminar on topic"Political Dialogue for European Integration" while Ambassador of the United Statesto Bosnia and Herzegovina Patrick Moon had the speech entitled "Political dialoguefor Euro-Atlantic integration”.13Representatives of Legal - Constitutional Committee of the House of RepresentativesB&H Sefik Dzaferovic, Lazar Prodanovic and Mato Franjicevic have spoken andcreated discussion on topics “Political dialogue within political parties” and “Politicaldialogue for reforms”.11 Founded after the fall of the Berlin wall and the iron curtain, the Jarl Hjalmarson Foundation aims to promote co-operation andEuropean development based on freedom, democracy and market economy. This is done through education and information ondemocracy and European integration directed to political parties and organizations. ( Source: Website of Jarl HjalmarsonFoundation, http://snipurl.com/25x4kx2, accessed on December 11, 201212 Newsletter of Political Academy of SDA, Number VII, September/October 2011, page 313 Source: Blog Z.U.I.T. http://snipurl.com/25u9ow6, accessed on December 11, 2012 6
  7. 7. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICWithin their study trip to administrative center of the European Union in Brussels onJanuary 2012, participants of the second generation of PA SDA visited theheadquarters of the European Commission, European Parliament and NATO wherethey had a chance to talk with Head of Mission of BiH to NATO, Branimir Jukic. Theyalso visited the headquarters of Mission of B&H to the EU and had meeting withAmbassador at Mission of Bosnia and Herzegovina to the EU, Osman Topcagic.“The aim of this visit was to introduce participants of Political Academy of SDA withthe way of functioning of these institutions, Euro-Atlantic associations and with theimportance of our countrys accession into them as well as to demonstrate that, inBosnia and Herzegovina there are promising political forces whose goal is B&H’s fullmembership in EU and NATO”.14Over fifty participants of School of Political Studies of the CoE in B&H attended thefirst “World Forum for Democracy” in Strasbourg that was organized by the Council ofEurope and the City of Strasbourg on October 2012.„Secretary General of the Council of Europe Thorbjørn Jagland officially opened theForum, followed by the presentations of the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon,Yemen politician and human rights activist and 2011 Nobel Peace Prize laureateTawakkol Karman, French Minister in charge of European Affairs BernardCazeneuvre, German Minister of Finance Wolfgang Schäuble and many others“.15The assessment of the first Strasbourg World Forum for Democracy was eighty hoursof debate, several dozen encounters, more than 200 experts from around the globeand 1500 participants representing 120 countries.Apart from young leaders, participants of the Network of schools of political studies ofthe CoE, the Forum also gathered leaders of European institutions, members ofEuropean as well as national parliaments, high level politicians, leading public figuresand civil society activists, in order to work together on identifying possible answers totoday’s economic, social and political challenges14 Newsletter of Political Academy of SDA, Number X, January/February 2012, page 215 Source: Website of Belgrade Fund for Political Excellence http://snipurl.com/25um5y8, accessed on December 12, 2012 7
  8. 8. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICIn addition to attending the different events of the Forum, the participants from Bosniaand Herzegovina exchanged views with their peers in regional meetings of Schoolsand met their country’s judges from the European Court of Human Rights.„The aim of this first Forum was not to find global consensus on democracy, butrather to allow discussions and exchanges of experience between politicians, globalleaders and members of the civil society to identify possible answers to challengesarising in todays societies“.16Concluding RemarksTaking into consideration all above mentioned facts, we can conclude that twoprojects, described in detail in this paper, are very good models that promote the truevalues and standards of the EU in B&H and the Balkans.There is no doubt that this approach is the only one that can bring us all closer toEuropean integration, but it is necessary that young people participate in existingprograms of this type as much as possible, and in this way upgrade their knowledge,as well as get the opportunity to travel and meet other young people, creatingthereby a network of friends who will perhaps be able to help participant’s country orthe community to further develop.I could finish this work with the recommendation that more projects of this kind areneeded “that will conduct the training of young generation for the future politicalleadership in Bosnia and Herzegovina through their professional programs ofeducation”17 in all spheres of society, while relying on the modern achievements ofthe EU.Therefore, I consider that, full utilization of all capacities of these young leaders inpractice and on the field, in order to implement everything what they, through thetraining and education gained, is missing.16 What are the forces shaping democratic societies in the future? Will the emerging voices of the Arab Spring bring aboutlasting stability? And can they be a source of inspiration for reforms in established Western democracies? By confrontingconventional concepts with new realities, the Forum gauged how democracies can satisfy the expectations of citizens and adaptto their different values and traditions. ( Source: Website of European Association of the The Schools of Political Studies of theCouncile of Europe http://snipurl.com/25um87h, accessed on December 12, 2012)17 Source: Blog Z.U.I.T. http://snipurl.com/25w53sf, accessed on December 17, 2012 8
  9. 9. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICAlthough it sounds unbelievable, it is a painful truth unfortunately, that knowledgewhich these young people with excellent professional and personal characteristicsare acquiring through above mentioned programs is, instead of being useful to theirsocieties, in fact, very dangerous. Because of that, it is very difficulty for them to getopportunity to demonstrate their capabilities in existing structures of society.Many “old school leaders” in various managerial positions in the society, which theyacquired in various ways, are afraid of these young leaders, they do not want torecognize them and they try to find a way to marginalize them. Why? Well, primarilybecause of the fact that these types of persons are their competition and jeopardizetheir current positions.And all this is even supported by the fact that “democracy in B&H is characterized bypartisan politics that are tied to ethnic principle, confrontational discourse, politicalpressure on the press and media, delays in reforms, incendiary political rhetoric andthe perpetuation of the political crisis. Democracy is not consolidated, as confirmedby the low rating of the country in numerous comparative tables of democraticdevelopment“.18In B&H, leaders still prefer to deal with these matters, rather than, for example, tofocus on constitutional reforms, including the enforcement of European Court ofHuman Rights decision.On the other hand, the EU also supports this status quo by asking, from the verybeginning, a comprehensive reform as a condition for membership negotiations butnot as its ultimate goal. It seems like EU secretly fears that these issues are highlyemotional for the actors in the reform process, and that there is a high risk ofprolonging the political paralysis that would ultimately lead to the disintegration of thestate.From my point of view, the group of young people that we talked about is the onlyone able to find different views on things that are plaguing the “Balkan policies”, andwho are ready for negotiation and building of positive political environment. They arethe ones who are looking into the future and who do not want to go back a lot into the18 The EU policy of democratization in BiH - Correct principles, misguided policies, 2007-2008, Fond Otvoreno društvo BiH,page 1 9
  10. 10. CASE-STUDY COMPETITION „How can the EU do better in your country/Balkans?” SANEL PRELICpast. Past should not be forgotten, but at least for young people it should be a littleaside. Past should give way to the brighter future, namely to the EU integrations.Just because of that, EU should insist and give its assistance in order to ensure thatthese young people rapidly lead the key reforms in their countries, which ultimatelyshould result in joining the European Union.Thus, the participation of young people should lie at the center of policy-makingconcerning the European integration of Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Balkancountries.They should be considered as partners and recognized as social actors with the skillsand capacity to present constructive solutions to those problems that directly affectthe delays in reform processes. Therefore, the EU itself should insist on theirparticipation and request that their advice be obeyed and implemented. Itsinstruments can be “persuasion, dialogue and socialization, and exposure to newideas”.19 Also, such a policy should be supported by financial and instrumentalmotivation, even through the use of methods of conditioning.However, much of the problem lies in the minds of current leaders. Their "mindset"should be changed, but that is very difficult.In response to these problems, generational turnover is often the key causal variablebehind certain changes.19 Kubicek, Paul, The European Union and Democratisation: Reluctant States (London, Routledge, 2003) page 12 10

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