From 1-3 October 2014, representatives of 5 SBPPF grantees attended a study visit in Brussels. The grantees participated on a tailor made study visit with relevant individual meetings that took place in Brussels, with the EU institutions, CSOs and businesses that are relevant for the field of their research. IDSCS and CEA from Macedonia, KCSS from Kosovo supported by Pontis Foundation and Slovakaid; Institute for Environmental Policy from Albania and CERD BIH supported by BCSDN through the IPA FPA project participated on the visit.
Joint meetings were organized in the EP with MEP Kukan that has a long term experience with the WB countries with whom the grantees were able to discuss directly the enlargement process and the situation in their countries. The grantees also met with the units of the EP that deal directly with the Western Balkans, a meeting organized by Mr. Andre de Munter, policy advisor in the EP and the Slovak representation to the EU.
The IEP (Albania) had an opportunity to meet Mr. Valerio Cendali from the Albanian Unit in the DG Enlargement, EEB Brussels (the Aarhus and enlargement coordinator), and had a meeting with ClienthEatrth’s newly opened EU Aarhus Center giving him the opportunity to present the implementation of the Aarhus convention in Albania and also to discuss general civil society issues.
IDSCS representative had a presentation in the Flemish Parliament for the language policies in Belgium allowing the researcher to compare the situations with the Macedonian policies which was the topic of his research. He also met the policy officer dealing with civil society in the Macedonian unit, Leos Javurek, in DG Enlarg. where the new developments in the EC were discussed. Through the multilingualism policy sector of the Directorate General for Education and Culture (DG EAC), Mr Bliznakovski has been put in touch with relevant CS that work on promotion of languages on EU level giving him the opportunity to continue cooperation with them on this issue.
CEA’s director Marijan Nikolov met with DG ECOFIN’s officers: Dr Stearns-Blasing, an economic analyst for Candidate countries and Mr. Mangov, Policy analyst on Fiscal Policy and Surveillance. These meetings allowed to present the research and recommendations and to learn more on EU members practices. He also had a joint meeting with MS. Kozomara on public-private partnerships where the AVS trade union experience was presented.
Ms Kozomara, CERD also had a meeting with Mr Manuel Munteanu (Political Desk Officer, Bosnia and Herzegovina Unit, DG Enlargement).
KCSS senior research fellow, Mr. Vrajolli had meetings with European Peace Building Liaison office where joint activities were discussed and with Ms. Larsson from Kosovo Unit (DG ENLARG) in charge of human rights.