For the first time in decades, the region of Western Balkans has shown readiness and strategic orientation towards a common goal – European integration and accession to the European Union (EU), which implies the transformation of the political, economic, social and cultural environment in accordance to the modern European societies. The process of European integration is a strategic task of the state and public administration, not only at the central but also at regional and local levels, as well as of a large number of civil society actors The understanding and knowledge of obligations and reforms at local level, empowering actors at all levels and in all sectors, proved to be crucial in all stages of European integration. Considering that more than a half of European legislation (acquis) is being implemented at the local level, timely and constructive involvement of local actors in the process of EU integration is of outmost importance. This is particularly important for Kosovo and all ethnic communities, in order to ensure better understanding and therefore acceptance and implementation of standards and reforms.
In order to involve political and social actors in the process of EI in a meaningful and high-quality way, and improve their understanding and implementation of the reforms, it is necessary to develop a comprehensive program and opportunity to acquire specific knowledge and skills. As such knowledge is insufficiently available in the regular education program in northern Kosovo, and the literature on the EU and specific policies in local languages is still lacking, it is necessary to develop an interactive and multidisciplinary model of School of European integration in the north of Kosovo, in accordance with the existing models in Prishtina, but also in Montenegro, Serbia, etc.
Through the education and involvement of elected official from all levels of government and public administration, as well as other relevant actors in the field of civil society, media and/or youth leaders, realistic assumptions for better information, understanding and support of the process of European integration are being created. In particular, by acquiring knowledge and skills, understanding regional and European issues, trends, politics and debate, preconditions for better development and implementation of local economic and other policies are being created, as well as better programming and use of pre-accession assistance and the promotion of cooperation across ethnic, administrative and state borders and barriers, and between different sectors.
With that in mind, Kosovo Foundation for Open Society, in cooperation with the European Movement in Serbia and NGO ACTIVE, launched in 2014 the School of European Integration for the key actors in the North of Kosovo. In 2016, the School is continuing its work with the third generation of students.
The School is intended for the officials from public bodies and local government institutions, representatives of civil society organizations, media and the business sector, as well as students in northern Kosovo.
The program of SEI will be implemented within 6 months, with its first part from May to June and the second part from September to December 2016. The block-lectures will be held once a week, two times in a month. Selected participants will improve their knowledge in four program areas:
- Introduction to the institutions, procedures and law of the European Union,
- The EU enlargement policy,
- The economy of the European Union,
- Special Policy of the European Union.
In addition to knowledge about the history and the idea of the EU, its institutional and legal framework, the current process of enlargement and the EU’s role on the global level, the student will gain specific skills such as writing projects for EU funds, as well as the advice on financing and improvement of their own project ideas, which they will submit in advance.
Furthermore, students of the previous generations of school will have the opportunity to upgrade their knowledge and practical skills through special training for the first generation that will be organized once a month during the school.
The school program provides a number of seminars that will be held in North Mitrovica and abroad, study tours and visits to Belgrade and Pristina. In addition to the regular school program, series of open lectures and public debates with eminent experts and EU officials will be organized as well, for both generation of students as well as for the general public.
The program of the School of European Integration started with the Introductory regional seminar which will be held in North Mitrovica in late May 2016.
THE AIM of the project is to improve the knowledge and understanding of the process of European integration, history and way of functioning of the European Union accession process and accession instruments and EU policies.
The specific objectives are:
- establishing a multidisciplinary School of European Integration in Northern Mitrovica as an alternative center of knowledge, education and networking,
- capacity building of key stakeholders in northern Kosovo on the process of European integration, history, policies, support instruments through the School of European Integration,
- strengthen the knowledge and skills of local leaders from the public administration, civil society, entrepreneurs, and media, required for an active and successful participation in the process of European integration,
- strengthening cross-border and regional cooperation,
- strengthening the support for the process of European integration and reforms that this process entails.
The ultimate beneficiaries of the School of European integration are the citizens of northern Kosovo and the local community, which should greatly benefit from a better knowledge and improved skills of its leaders.
Project duration: April – December 2016
Project is being implemented with the support of the Kosovo Foundation for Open Society.
Kosovo Foundation for Open Society
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