27.9.2012. Jelena Milić, CEAS Director, participated in a Round Table: Political Recommendations of Serbs from Kosovo for the New Serbian Leadership

Belgrade, September 27, 2012

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Jelena Milić, Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS), participated in a round table on the topic “Political recommendations of Serbs from Kosovo for the New Serbian Leadership”, held on Thursday, September 27, 2012 at the Balkan Hotel in Belgrade.

Participants included representatives of political parties – the Serbian Democratic Party of Kosovo and Metohija, Liberal-Democratic Party, Serbian Renewal Movement, Serbian Progressive Party, Socialist Party of Serbia, United Regions of Serbia, Independent Liberal Party and United Serbian List – as well as nongovernmental organisations, amongst which, aside from representatives from the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies, representatives from the Citizen Initiative “Serbia, Democracy, Justice”, Forum for Ethnic Relations, Center for Development of Local Communities, and the Council for Inclusive Governance, were present. Representatives of the media, the University in Belgrade, as well as from the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, were present as well. The round table was organised by the Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.


The programme was divided into two sessions. The first session encompassed issues entailing a change of politics, whereby primarily the report from round tables and workshops held during July 2012 was analysed. Participants then engaged with issues of effective participation of Serbia from Kosovo in processes of decision making in the Serbian Government, which relate to Kosovo, their role in the dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina, their participation in solving the crisis in the North, the relation of Belgrade towards participation of Serbs in Kosovo elections and institutions, and the future of the Serbian local authority in Kosovo.


The second session analysed the process of reaching consensus, whether it is necessary for solving all of these issues, which are the best ways for reaching consensus and the role of the Government in that process, as well as which partnerships and working bodies should be formed.

26.9.2012. CEAS became a full member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect

September 26, 2012

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In September 2012 the Centre for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) – as the first civil society organisation from the South-Eastern Europe region – became a full member of the International Coalition for the Responsibility to Protect (ICRtoP).

ICRtoP is an umbrella non-governmental organisation founded in 2009 by eight NGOs from various parts of the world with the aim of acting together on strengthening normative consensus over the newly developing doctrine of Responsibility to Protect (RtoP or, more popularly R2P), on strengthening capacities of the international community to prevent or stop genocide crimes, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity and on mobilising civil society for actions of saving human lives in situations where the RtoP doctrine is applicable. In the meantime, ICRtoP has grown and now has 49 members from all continents. Along with this, 36 more NGOs from all over the world are signatories of the list supporting ICRtoP, so they too can be seen as joined members. ICRtoP headquarters is based in New York.


More information about the coalition can be found on the website:
http://www.responsibilitytoprotect.org/index.php/about-rtop


Responsibility to Protect (RtoP) is a relatively new, twenty-first century concept – a doctrine in the making – which emphasises multiple responsibility of various actors in order to prevent, stop, or at least thin out the occurrence of genocide, ethnic cleansing, war crimes and crimes against humanity, as well as the heaviest violations of human rights. According to the RtoP doctrine – defined in 2000/2001 by the commission formed by the Canadian Government, supported by the United Nations in 2005 pledging for its further development and application – state sovereignty includes responsibility of the state to protect its citizens from the above mentioned crimes. If a state clearly shows its incapability to do so, it is the duty of the international community to help her in that process, and if that does not give results either, or if the state refuses to fulfil its obligations of protecting citizens from the worst forms of human rights violations, the international community has the responsibility to intervene. RtoP encompasses the prevention of the mentioned worst forms of human rights violations, various activities including military measures as well the process of prevention, and activities referring to processes of redevelopment in which the deep causes of conflicts which result in the mentioned heavy and mass violations of human rights are removed.


CEAS acts in Serbia and in the region of Western Balkans in which in the recent past there were many occurrences of the mentioned worst crimes and in which through a slow and winding process of transitional justice human rights and freedoms today still find it hard to push through as the desirable goal and public policy task. The international community, or its influential members and organisations intervened in the region many times with mutually conflicting consequences. This is why CEAS – as an organisation which places individual freedoms and the advancement of liberal democracy in the first place – has interest in the advancement and a more coherent, as well as wiser, application of the doctrine of responsibility to protect. This is something towards which, as a member of ICRtoP, we will actively contribute to.

20.-22.9.2012. Jelena Milić, CEAS Director, participated at the second Belgrade Security Forum from September 20-22, 2012

Belgrade, September 20-22, 2012

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Jelena Milić, Director of the Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) participated at the second Belgrade Security Forum under the working title “Coping with the Crisis: Challenges to Democracy and Security”. The Forum was organized by the Belgrade Fund for Democratic Excellence, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy and the European Movement in Serbia, in cooperation with UN Women (United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women), UNDP SEESAC, the Balkan Trust for Democracy and the Slovak Atlantic Commission.

During the three days, that the Forum lasted for, Jelena Milić attended the discussions “Frozen Conflicts or Frozen Lives?”, “New Paradigm of the Region: Are the Balkans Finally a Success Story?”, “Is there an Exit out of European Crisis of Economy and Democracy?”, “Crisis and Opportunity: An Unfinished Peace in Kosovo”, “New Energy Partnership: Is Energy Security a Source of Concern or an Anchor of Stability” and “The Consequences of the Crisis for Human Security at Home and Abroad”.


Some of the distinguished participants of the Forum were Ivica Dačić, Prime Minister and Minister of the Interior, Aleksandar Vučić, First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defence, Suzana Grubješić, Deputy Prime Minister for European Integration, Branko Stamenković, Special Prosecutor and Goran Svilanović, Coordinator of OSCE Economic and Environmental Activities, as well as Stefan Lehne, Visiting Scholar, Carnegie Europe, Thomas de Waal, Senior Associate, Carnegie Endowment, and Christopher Coker, Professor at the London Schools of economics and Political Science (LSE).

20.9.2012. Dušan Gamser participated in a discussion as part of a workshop on cooperation in the Balkans and the role of Turkey

Belgrade, September 20, 2012

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On September 20, 2012 a workshop under the title ‘From the Balkan wars to the Balkan Peace Project’ was held at the Institute of International Politics and Economics (IMPP), organised by the IMPP in collaboration with SAM (The Centre for Strategic Research of the Turkish Ministry of Foreign Affairs).

Participants were distinguished researchers of Balkan and European politics and Turkish foreign policy, from a few Turkish universities and from the domestic academic community, as well as a number of representatives of expert NGOs from Belgrade.


Numerous questions were raised in relation to the new Turkish foreign policy strategy. Professors from that country advocated the need for regionalisation as complement to the overall process of globalisation. They see Balkan cooperation as a component, not a replacement of the process of Euro-Atlantic integration of countries in the region. The question of common history and a specific ‘cultural affinity’ of Turkey and the Balkan states, that is, whether it helps or hinders current and future cooperation, was discussed the most, from the terminological level to questions whether the Turkish strategy towards its neighbours is consistent.


The Turkish Ambassador in Serbia welcomed the gathering and participated in the discussion. A representative of CEAS, Dušan Gamser, through questions to speakers actively participated in the work of this workshop.


CEAS believes that Turkey can, as a prominent member of NATO and a candidate state for membership in the EU, play a useful role in our region, but that the European Union and NATO should lead the process of modernisation in Balkan states, through which these states adopt European values and principles. Regional cooperation of Balkan countries is an irreplaceable part of this process, but by no means is it its replacement.

18.9.2012. Round table on the advancement of public discussions

Belgrade, September 18, 2012

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Representative of CEAS participated in the work of a round table on the topic ‘How to advance public discussion in the process of developing regulations?’ held on September 18, in Belgrade in the organisation of the Government of Serbia Office for Cooperation with Civil Society and the initiative of civil society organisation ‘Law is Ours’ (www.zakonjenas.rs).

The value of public discussions for the quality of adopted legislation, for the development of participatory democracy and for the fulfilment of a number of other socially desirable goals has been emphasised. The guests from Macedonia, Gordana Dimitrovska, talked about the valuable experience accumulated in that country in the sector of electronic public governance and about the applicability of those experience in other countries of the Western Balkans. Recommendations for the advancement of public discussion in Serbia were formulated and welcomed, encompassing recommendations for amendments or supplements to the law governing Public Administration and Government Rules, as well as a number of sub-legislator acts and regulations which would institutionalise public discussion, encourage citizens to participate in them and allow for representative and qualitative participation of relevant civil society organisations in these discussions. CEAS will continue to participate in the activities of civil society focused on spreading, advancing and institutionalising public discussions in Serbia, especially regarding regulations concerning security sector reform, the advancement of the rule of law or Euro-Atlantic cooperation and integration of Serbia.

14.9.2012. Results of new research on public opinion on corruption presented

Belgrade Media Center, September 14, 2012

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On Friday, September 14, 2012, at a Media Centre conference in Belgrade, newest research results on public opinion on corruption in Serbia were presented. The research, in its fifth cycle, was conducted in June 2012 by the agency Media Gallup for the needs of the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).

Speakers at the conference included Deputy Prime Minister of the Serbia Government in charge for the fight against corruption Aleksandar Vučić, Permanent Coordinator of the United Nations (UN) in Serbia, William Infante, President of the Board of Directors of the Agency for the Fight Against Corruption, Zoran Stoiljković, and the Director of the Medium Gallup agency Srbobran Branković.

Prime Minister’s promises that the fight against corruption will be relentless, that there will be no untouchables and that the appropriate institutions (especially the Prosecution) will be provided with space for undisturbed action as well as all necessary political support, were repeated. The UNDP representative spoke about the rooted understandings of corruption in Serbia, pointing out the need to further educate citizens. The representative of the Agency for the Fight Against Corruption spoke about how cynical the citizens have become on the topic of politicians and corruption. The Director of Medium Gallup presented the main findings of the fifth cycle of research, comparing them to previous results.

Nearly half of Serbian citizens estimate that the level of corruption in Serbia increased, whilst a third believes it remained the same. About 40% of citizens are worried that the level of corruption will only rise even more in the next year. Most of the citizens believe that the fight against corruption is the responsibility of the police (47%) and the Government (46%). More than two thirds of citizens, 71%, believed in June 2012 that the most efficient tool in the fight against corruption are high penalties for offenders, compared to 66% in November 2011.

In its earlier analysis of the problem of corruption in Serbia (e.g. http://ceas-serbia.org/root/index.php/publikacije/75-korupcija-u-srbiji-2012-godine) CEAS pointed out that an enlightened approach to the fight against corruption encompasses not only the active measures in its repression, but also the narrowing of space for its advent, through the retraction of the state from decision making, especially arbitrary decision making, on economic life, as well as other long term activities to repress the culture of corruption inherited from previous times and regimes. With regret, we concluded that a significant part of the political and other elites, even the most well-meaning amongst them, do not understand or do not accept that further meaningful steps in the fight against partocracy, in public enterprises for example, and related corruption, can only be made through privatisation of most firms and generally, significantly reducing the role of the state in the economy.

The notion of liberalisation is economic life is often, and not only in Serbia, seen as insignificant in the fight against corruption. In contrast, the relationship between economic interventionism, excessive regulation, not to mention state administration of enterprise on the one side, and systemic corruption on the other, has been proven both in theory and in practice.

In this view the research brings nothing new to the table. The relation of citizens towards an optimal size of the public sector from a fight against corruption point of view is not even analysed. Would privatisation of public enterprise, especially those where there is no natural monopoly but where the state, on the contrary, unfairly competes with the private sector, bring the problem of corruption in and around them to a minimum? Would a similar effect be achieved with ‘slicing regulations’ by abolishing needless regulation, state intervention and the presence and jurisdiction of the bureaucracy in numerous spheres of economic life? All of these questions are waiting, not just for answers but for them to be raised publicly in the first place.

For example, answering the question ‘To what extent would, in your opinion, the following measures be efficient in the fight against corruption?’, polled citizens were offered numerous and various answers – from the toughest punitive measures, strengthening corruption consciousness, strengthening control over administration, bettering of laws in the sense of coordination with international conventions, greater role of the public sector, and a raise in public servant salaries – but not the opportunity to express opinions on whether reducing public spending from the current level of nearly half of GDP to a more conceivable measure and/or the continuation of privatisation of public enterprise and/or the slicing of regulations in specific domains or similar measures of economic liberalisation, would be efficient in preventing or reducing the spread and scope or corruption.

Regardless of the mentioned shortages, in which this research is no exception, but only confirms general trend, and not just in Serbia, it is a significant contribution to public debate on the problem of corruption here, at the same time contributing to the control and repression of this social evil.