Moving Forward with the EU-Enlargement Process

The TRAIN 2016 Programme’s focus on fundamental rights in the countries of the Western Balkans

20/12/2016

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The TRAIN 2016 Programme brought together think tanks from the Western Balkan region to discuss the overarching topic “fundamental rights” and its key role in European integration. The strengthening of media freedom and freedom of expression, the protection of minorities and a better representation of women in the political process were among the subtopics participants addressed. They presented their findings and recommendations to policy makers in Brussels as well as in their respective countries.

The TRAIN 2016 participants in Berlin

Think tanks play a crucial role in supporting and critically analyzing accession and reform processes in the Western Balkans. Their ideas and findings should not only be exchanged and discussed within expert communities; it is also vital that they be included in policy making and public debate. Such institutions can contribute decisively to enhancing the transparency and inclusiveness of the decision-making process.

TRAIN stands for Think Tanks Providing Research and Advice through Interaction and Networking. Since 2010, the TRAIN programme has supported think tanks in the EU candidate countries and potential candidate countries in the Western Balkans. Funded by the Stability for South Eastern Europe at the German Federal Foreign Office, the programme accompanies participants as they develop and undertake policy research and provides them with a platform for the exchange of ideas and best practices.

The opening seminar of the TRAIN 2016 Programme took place in Belgrade, where a two-day workshop was dedicated to advocacy and writing policy papers. After a research and write-up period, the participants gathered in June 2016 in Berlin, where they conducted an interim review of their policy research and focused on communication strategies. In November 2016 the group met to discuss their policy papers and receive recommendations from EU decision makers in Brussels. Communicating research findings then continued at the national level, with participants reaching out to the policy communities in their respective countries during a series of round tables and debates. As programme alumni, the participants will be able to actively contribute to the TRAIN network also in the future.

Policy Papers 2016:

 
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