Viewing EU integration as the best development perspective and at the same time shared challenge for the Western Balkans countries, EMA works with partner stakeholders located in the region to achieve an accelerated journey towards meeting EU standards. We are committed to fostering dialogue and collaboration at regional level and are actively engaged in joint ventures developing comparative analysis and exchange of good practices. Projects and activities implemented include brain-gain issues, dialogue between CSO and WB governments, visa free regime within the WB, youth exchange and cooperation, EU perspective of the region, connectivity etc.
Projects undertaken under this programme area are as below:
- Creating synergy in Western Balkans for strengthening education, research and
science (2018-May 2019), a project supported by Western Balkan Fund, implemented by EMA in partnership with Balkans Policy Research Group (BPRG) and European Movement Novi Sad, Serbia has the overall objective to understand and facilitate the construction of a more enabling environment in research, education and innovation with a particular focus dedicated in strengthening EU Funds absorption capacities in Western Balkan region.
- Think and Link Programme supported by European Fund for Balkans seeks to foster inclusive and evidence-based policy making in the Western Balkans by initiating and supporting individual and collaborative research projects on the chosen annual programme topic, embedded in the regional seminar programme cycle. EMA is part of the project “Evolving or revolving: Institutional reforms and democratic legitimacy in Kosovo, Albania, and Montenegro” implemented by D4D in Kosovo for the year 2019-2020. The project aims to scrutinize the process of reforms and the internal democratization of Albania, Montenegro, and Kosovo in the context of fundamental rights, good governance, and rule of law and future prosperity that facilitates the EU integration process and internal democratization process by highlighting priority areas and potential win-win outcomes. EMA’s policy researchers have participated in the programme three times developing the following research papers: 1) Connectivity for Development, taking the Highway for Economic Growth 2017 – 2018; 2) Towards the Enhancement of Fair Competition and a Functional Market Economy in Albania 2014 – 2015 ; 3) From Soft to Systematic Policy and Regulatory Impact Assessment in Albania 2010 – 2011.
- Regional Convention on European integration (2014-present), supported by Visegrad+ is a joint platform of non-governmental organizations from Western Balkan and Visegrad Group. The overall goal of the project is to contribute to fostering of EU approximation of the Western Balkans countries. Specific emphasis is given to strengthen capacities of both state and civil sector dealing with the process of EU integration and to raise the level of IPA absorption capacities in WB.
- TRAIN programme, funded by the German Federal Foreign Office and run by the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) offers to organizations from Western Balkans, training and networking opportunities. In a series of workshops, participating researchers work on writing policy papers and advocacy strategies in framework of EU Integration process. Afterward the participants present their findings to decision-makers in Brussels as well as to the national level. EMA’s policy researchers have participated three times developing the following papers: 1) Which role for the Albanian parliament in the EU integration process? Assessment of the oversight role and administrative capacities 2011; 2) Public E-Procurement at the Local Level in Albania – Challenges in the Fight against Corruption 2014; 3)EU conditionality as a transformative power in the case of the Albanian Public Administration 2015.
- Migration Integration Policy Index (MIPEX) in the Western Balkan Region (2015-2016), a project lead by Group 484 and supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy managed to gather and form a regional team for researching migration flows in the WB, comprised of renowned experts from Serbia, Albania, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia. The project achieved to map improvements and shortages within the existing policies related to integration of migrants within WB countries, to advocate for reforms within migration policies of the WB countries using influence of the EU integration process, and to improve knowledge and understanding of the regional officials on the process of harmonization of the national legislation with the EU acquis using experience of the new EU member states.
- Thinking for governance (2013-2014) Sharing V4 experience on NGOs, a project supported by the Visegrad + fund gathered NGOs from 10 countries from WB and Visegrad. The projects focused on challenges in cooperation between governments and civil societies in the Western Balkan countries in six selected areas covered by chapters 23 and 24 of the accession negotiations with the European Union. The objective was to map the problems in each of the subjects and offer consolidated recommendations to both the government and civil society, and additional recommendations to the EU, the international community, donors, and other stakeholders, with the aim to enhance collaboration in each country in the particular areas.
- Advocating for “Brain Gain” policies aimed at reintegration of the high-skilled returnees in the Western Balkans (October 2010 – September 2011) supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a Project of the German Marshal Fund. The overall aim of this project leaded by Group 484, Serbia was to identify the main obstacles for integration of the high skilled returnees in the Western Balkans Countries and to support the development of the policies and measures in regional level that would improve the situation of the high-skilled returnees.
- Unity from mobility (January 2010 – January 2011) supported by European Commission, DG Education and Culture. The overall objective of this project was to set up a mentoring system based on solidarity between national councils of European Movement International by supporting the less development councils to profit from the longstanding experience of consolidated ones. EM Denmark was EMA’s mentor during the project implementation.
- Improving IPA effectiveness in the Western Balkans Countries (June 2009 – February 2010) supported by the Local Government & Public Service Reform Initiative (LGI), Open Society Foundation. The main purpose of this initiative was to identify main features of the first two components of IPA provided for the Western Balkans countries and to produce a policy document for the European Commission suggesting means to improve IPA. Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia and Montenegro participated in the project.
- Does it really matter? Visa Facilitation in the Western Balkans (March 2008 – August 2008) supported by King Baudouin Foundation and East-East Partnership without Borders Programe, Open Society Foundation in partnership with European Citizen’s Action Service and Stefan Batory Foundation. The project aimed at monitoring the implementation of the Visa Facilitation Agreements in Western Balkan countries by setting up hotline consulting visa applicants in Schengen Embassies and conducting a more in-depth quantitative survey in Schengen Embassies. This regional project was implemented simultaneously in Albania, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
- Monitoring the Visa Facilitation Agreement of Albania as a Step Towards Visa Liberalization (December 2008 – April 2009) supported by Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD), a Project of the German Marshall Fund. This initiative intended to examine the compliance of Schengen Embassies in Albania with the requirements of Visa Facilitation Agreement throughout a monitoring process. EMA collected and written up the stories of Albanian citizens who had to apply for a Schengen visa by conducting in this way a specific research on Albania’s visa roadmap implementation record in close consultation with European Stability Initiative (ESI) after the European Commission published its own assessments.
- Towards White Schengen List- Road Maps Monitoring- Western Balkan Regional Response (December 2008 – January 2009) supported by East East Partnership Beyond Borders Program, Open Society Foundation. The aim of this initiative was to identify opportunities for creating the WB regional response to the migration issue and visa liberalisation process with EU. Group 484, Serbia was the team leader while the other regional partners included: EMA in Albania, Centre for Research and Policy Making in Macedonia (CRPM), The Association Alumni of the Centre for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies (CIPS) in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Centre for Democracy and Human Right in Montenegro (CEDEM).