WELCOME TO CIG
Council for Inclusive Governance is an international non-governmental organization that promotes inclusive and responsive governance. It facilitates constructive dialogue as a means of fostering interparty cooperation, interethnic accord, and interstate collaboration, and carries out analyses of contemporary policy issues. The goal of CIG activities is to build confidence in democratic institutions of governance and contribute to the cohesiveness of political systems and societies.
Pristina, Kosovo. April 2016. In April 2013 when the agreement on the establishment of an Association/Community of Serb-Majority Municipalities in Kosovo was signed by the Prime Ministers of Kosovo and Serbia, few expected that the formation of the Association/Community would be so incredibly complicated creating unforeseen legal and political implications in Kosovo. Three years later the body still remains to be established. To renew the efforts and to build momentum for finding a solution for the formation of the Association/Community, the Council for Inclusive Governance organized three activities on April 20-25, 2016: a workshop with Kosovo Serb analysts and politicians, a meeting of officials of Kosovo Albanian political parties, and a roundtable of Kosovo Serb and Albanian political and civil society representatives. The CIG activities are part of a larger project on Kosovo and normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina funded by and implemented in cooperation with the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. The report below lays out a number of challenges and steps related to the formation of the Association/Community that came out of the discussions.
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Belgrade, Serbia. March 2016. CIG held another session of the CIG-led Regional Forum of Southwestern Serbia/Sandzak with representatives of the diplomatic corps in Belgrade. The roundtable was devoted to the issues of advancing interethnic integration in Serbia. In addition, the intention of the organizers was to achieve an agreement on the conduct of the upcoming elections, in order to secure a peaceful process as well acceptance of the results of the elections by all. Below is a report from the discussions.
Pristina, Kosovo. February 2016. If you organize a referendum on Serb integration in Kosovo’s north, the results would be overwhelmingly against it, and though Pristina and the Albanian population publically support integration, they don’t seem to want it either, argued participants of a roundtable of Kosovo Serb leaders organized by the Council for Inclusive Governance on February 22, 2016 in Pristina. “Nobody wants integration, but it is an inevitable evil and we have to find a way to do it, the sooner, the better.” Albanians are not ready to share state responsibilities with the Serbs. Serbs are also not ready to assume such responsibilities. As a result, we have a superficial integration, not a substantive and sustainable one, which largely depends on the whims of political leaders, who can strengthen or weaken it with a few political statements. Below is a brief report from the roundtable with a list of conclusions and recommendations by the participants on how to improve the situation.
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Glenside, Pennsylvania. January 2016. CIG publishes a report on its work on normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia within a two-year program supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
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Brussels Dialogue: Next Steps and Challenges Ahead
Vienna, Austria. November 2015. CIG organized in November 2015 a roundtable for senior Kosovo and Serbian government and EU and Swiss officials to discuss next steps in the continuation of the dialogue and the implementation of the reached agreements. This turned to be the only meeting of the parties during the last quarter of 2015. Below is the report from the meeting.
Belgrade, Serbia, September 30, 2015. At the Fifth Belgrade Security Forum (BSF), the Council for Inclusive Governance in cooperation with BSF co-organized their fourth annual panel discussion dedicated to Kosovo-related issues. In an overly packed, standing-room-only auditorium the panel addressed the most critical issues of normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia including the general frustration with the length of the process and the lack of significant impact on the daily lives of citizens. Panel participants included Gordana Comic‚ Deputy Speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Ilir Deda, Member of the Kosovo Parliament, Marko Djuric‚ Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija of the Government of Serbia, Dukagjin Gorani, Chairman of Common Voice, Ramadan Ilazi, Deputy Minister of European Integration of Kosovo, Ljubisa Mijacic, researcher and adviser on project development from the north of Kosovo, and Samuel Zbogar‚ EU Special Representative in Kosovo. CIG President Alex Roinishvili Grigorev moderated the discussions. The CIG President also took part in the roundtable discussion on "The Berlin Process in Belgrade: The EU as a Peace Project Revisited in the Western Balkans."
A short report from the panel is available on the BSF website as well as a video of the roundtable.
Brussels, Belgium. July 2015. To address the process of European integration of Serbia and Kosovo and their ongoing dialogue, CIG organized its third roundtable discussion for a small group of senior government officials from Kosovo and Serbia and selected EU officials. Below is the report from that meeting. The report also includes the text of recommendations developed at a CIG-ogranized workshop held ten days before in Arandjelovac, Serbia and reviewed by the participants of the Brussels meeting.
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Pristina, Kosovo. June 2015. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized on June 27, 2015 in Pristina its third roundtable in the series for members of parliaments of Kosovo and Serbia. Participants agreed to institutionalize this parliamentary cooperation through an informal mechanism named “Group for Cooperation.” In June, the group addressed the issue of university diploma recognition. Despite an agreement between Pristina and Belgrade reached in 2011, only five 15 diplomas out of a total of 433 applications have been recognized to date and the process has stalled. It particularly affects Kosovo Serbs who have studied in Serbia and are looking for employment in Kosovo and Albanians from Serbia who have studied in Kosovo and are looking for employment in Serbia. Some speakers said that the process has been suspended because of the lack of appropriate technical procedures and that Belgrade and Pristina are working on it, but the majority of the speakers believe the problems are political rather than technical. They suggested that the European Union, as facilitator of the implementation, should intervene to break the deadlock. The report below offers a brief overview of the roundtable discussions.
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Belgrade, Serbia. July 2015. CIG organized a new session of the Regional Forum of Southwestern Serbia/Sandzak. The session was the fourth consecutive roundtable of the Forum devoted to the process of European integration of Serbia. Members discussed creation of the government’s special action plan for national minorities in Serbia, as a part of the Chapter 23 pre-accession negotiations. Detailed remarks on this subject were given by Dr. Tanja Miscevic, the Head of Serbia’s Negotiating team with the EU, Dr. Goran Basic, Director of Institute of Social Sciences and Milan Antonijevic, Coordinator of the Group for Chapter 23 of Serbia’s National Convent on the EU. The speakers informed the members of the Forum about the process of preparation of the special action plan for minorities and its implications for the process of negotiations, how to use the negotiation process to stimulate the reform of minority-related policies in Serbia and how the civil society can help the process of EU negotiations. Participants raised the necessity of organizing local debates in the region about the special action plan and other aspects of Chapters 23 and 24. The Forum also concluded that it should engage with the National Convent as a useful tool for helping and influencing the process of Serbia’s EU negotiations. A detailed report from these discussions is available in Serbian below.
Belgrade, Serbia. April 2015. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized on April 25, 2015 in Belgrade its second roundtable for members of parliaments of Serbia and Kosovo. The first meeting took place in Pristina in December 2014. The discussions addressed the overall role of the parliaments in the normalization of relations between Serbs and Albanians, particularly in the implementation of the April 2013 Brussels Agreement. The meeting was part of a project on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia. The project is funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. There was consensus that the implementation of the Brussels Agreements should be accelerated. Serbian participants said that Pristina has been delaying the implementation of the aspects most important for the Serbs, particularly the formation of the Association/Community of the Serb-Majority Municipalities (hereinafter Association/Community), while Kosovo participants argued that Belgrade has not dismantled its system in Kosovo, which, according to them, is an agreed precondition for the formation of the Association/Community. Some suggested that the dismantling of the Serbian system in Kosovo and the formation of the Association/Community should take place simultaneously. Many interlocutors said that the implementation of the Brussels Agreement has to do more with the timing of steps than with their substance: Belgrade has agreed to dismantle the parallel structures but refuses to do it until Pristina agrees on the formation of the Association/Community, and Pristina has agreed on the Association/Community but refuses to engage in its formation until Belgrade dismantles its system in Kosovo. Formation of the Association/Community versus dismantling of Serbian system will most likely remain as bargaining chips for further negotiations.
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Novi Pazar, Serbia. April 2015. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized a new session of the Regional Forum (Serbia’s municipalities of Nova Varoš, Novi Pazar, Prijepolje, Priboj, Raška, Sjenica, and Tutin). This session was the third consecutive roundtable of the Forum on the process of European integration of Serbia. The topic was the reform of the public media which started in Serbia in 2014, and it is set to be completed by July 2015. Introductory remarks at the meeting were given by Saša Mirković, State Secretary in the Ministry of Culture and Information; Nedim Sejdinović, President of the Executive Board of the Independent Association of Journalists of Vojvodina; Dragan Dobrašinović, Coordinator of the Coalition for the Oversight of the Public Finances, and Dragan Kremer from the Open Society Foundation from Belgrade. The speakers informed the members of the Forum about the process of the reform and implications for regions and municipalities in Serbia, as well for the minority communities. Members of the Forum were advised to act proactively and not to wait for the end of the process but to include themselves in all of its aspects. The discussion tackled the reform of the National Radio Television of Serbia, privatization of the local electronic and printed media, and the oversight over the privatization process.
Gracanica and Pristina, Kosovo; Belgrade, Serbia; Istanbul, Turkey; Brussels, Belgium. February 2015.The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized a series of activities on the implementation of the April 2013 Brussels Agreement—specifically on the establishment of the Association/Community of Serb-Majority Municipalities (hereinafter Association), dismantling the Civil Protection (CP) in Kosovo’s north—and on the EU integration prospects for Serbia and Kosovo.
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Sjenica, Serbia, December 16-17, 2014. The agenda of the December session of the Regional Forum was based on the conclusions from the September sessions in Belgrade. The main topics of the discussion included possibilities of cooperation among the Sandzak municipalities on various projects and funding opportunities for those projects from various international programs. The participants were introduced to best practices from other parts of Serbia. The director of the Regional Development Agency of Eastern Serbia, the most successful development agency in Serbia, made a presentation to the participants about the work and experience of his agency. Another expert made a comprehensive presentation on EU funds available to the municipalities in Serbia. The session was concluded with an exchange of possible project ideas between the participants. On the second day of the session the participants concentrated on the Forum’s organizational issues and its work plan for 2015. Reports below are available in Serbian only.KOSOVO AND SERBIA: THE ASSOCIATION OF SERB-MAJORITY MUNICIPALITIES AND DIALOGUE
Budva, Montenegro, December 13-14, 2014. CIG organized a roundtable for government officials, political party leaders and members of civil society from Kosovo and Serbia. The discussion addressed the establishment of the Association/Community of the Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo and the dialogue between Pristina and Belgrade. The first day of the discussion focused on the establishment of the Association of ten Serb-majority municipalities. The participants listed a number of obstacles that are delaying the formation of the Association. Many Kosovo speakers held Belgrade and the remaining parallel institutions in the north responsible for the delay in the implementation of the Brussels agreement of which the Association is a part. The Serb speakers argued that the delay is largely because it took Pristina six months to form the new government. The second day focused on the future of the dialogue. Many speakers said that it is difficult to continue with the dialogue and reach new agreements as long as the old ones are not implemented. A number of Kosovo representatives were against the continuation of the dialogue in this format, arguing that this is not in the interest of Kosovo and that Kosovo should not discuss with neighbors its internal issues. They said a dialogue on such issues is needed with Kosovo Serbs but not with Belgrade.
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Pristina, Kosovo, December 6, 2014. CIG organized a roundtable for members of parliaments of Kosovo and Serbia. The objective of the meeting was to contribute to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and between Albanian and Serb societies. The majority of the speakers supported the continuation of the dialogue and also suggested that dialogue and cooperation should be extended to other areas in order to achieve normalization of relations between Serbia and Kosovo.
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Belgrade, Serbia, November 1, 2014. CIG President Alex Roinishvili Grigorev moderated an off-the-record panel on “The West Balkan Candidate Countries on Their Path to EU Accession” at the 38th European Meeting of the Trilateral Commission. Panel participants included Aleksandar Vucic, Prime Minister of Serbia, Milo Djukanovic, Prime Minister of Montenegro, Gjorgje Ivanov, President of Macedonia, and Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Due to the continuing institutional crisis in Pristina, President of Kosovo Atifete Jahjaga was unable to take part.
Among the meeting participants were Jean-Calude Trichet, former President of the European Central Bank who presided over the meeting, Edelgard Bulmahn, Vice President of the German Bundestag...Focusing on a Better Future of Relations Between Albanians and Serbs
Belgrade, Serbia, October 1, 2014. At the Belgrade Security Forum (BSF), the Council for Inclusive Governance in cooperation with BSF co-organized their third annual panel discussion dedicated to issues related to Kosovo. This year’s panel was on record. Titled “Serbs and Albanians in 2025 as Friends and Allies: How Do We Get There,” the panel attempted to shift the discourse from discussing daily problems of this difficult relationship to looking into and planning a better future for the two peoples. Panel participants included Agron Bajrami‚ Editor-in-Chief of Koha Ditore daily, Gordana Comic‚ Deputy Speaker of the Serbian Parliament, Marko Djuric‚ Director of the Office for Kosovo of the Government of Serbia, Ernst Reichel‚ German Special Envoy for South-East Europe, Besa Shahini‚ Senior Analyst at the European Stability Initiative, and Samuel Zbogar‚ EU Special Representative in Kosovo. CIG President Alex Roinishvili Grigorev moderated the discussion.
Belgrade, Serbia, September 25, 2014. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) held another session of the Regional Forum on 24 September 2014 in Belgrade on the topic of October elections for the Bošnjak National Council in Serbia. The meeting was opened by Michael Kirby, the American Ambassador to Serbia and Jadranka Jelincic, Executive Director of the Foundation for an Open Society. The Forum began addressing this issue in December 2013 aiming to contribute to a regular and peaceful process and to electing a Council recognized and supported by political forces. Given that the stability of the region is among top priorities in the Western Balkans, CIG invited a number of members of the diplomatic core in Serbia to share their opinions about the election process with the members of the Forum and to identify the key challenges in electing a minority council recognized by all. The goal of the roundtable was also to identify priorities of the new Bošnjak National Council and the ways for establishing its better cooperation with the state institutions. The roundtable was part of a project supported by the Open Society Foundation in Belgrade.
Belgrade, Serbia, September 24, 2014. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized a new session of the Regional Forum. The session was devoted to Serbia’s EU negotiation process and how local communities can be included and contribute to the process. The meeting was opened by Srdjan Majstorovic, Acting Director of the Serbian Government's Office for European Integration and Jadranka Jelincic, Executive Director of the Foundation for an Open Society. Several Forum members recommended using the Forum as a platform for introducing the process to local communities and to offer them possibilities for their proactive engagement that could contribute to the work of Serbia’s EU negotiation team. CIG invited Serbian Government officials to inform the Forum on the current stage in the process of European integration and to offer their view of the ways in which local communities, CSOs, and individuals from the Region could contribute to the process. The roundtable was a part of a project supported by the Open Society Foundation in Belgrade.
Arandjelovac and Belgrade, Serbia, September 20-26, 2014. The Council for Inclusive Governance organized on September 20-21 and 25, 2014 two activities for a number of Serb representatives: a workshop in Arandjelovac and a roundtable in Belgrade. The activities were part of the project supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs.
Pristina, Kosovo, September 17, 2014. The participation of the Serbs in Kosovo’s institutions has gone through a bumpy process. After the war in 1999, the Kosovo Serbs formed a wide political coalition, Povratak, which participated in the first post-war elections in 2000 and won 22 seats, becoming the third largest political force in Kosovo’s parliament. But the 2004 interethnic clashes led to the Serb withdrawal from the parliament and a boycott of the parliamentary elections of 2004 and 2007. Serbs, however, stayed in Kosovo’s municipal institutions, judiciary, police, and public administration.
Istanbul, Turkey, June 26-27, 2014..
The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized in June 2014, in Istanbul a roundtable for government, political party and civil society leaders from Kosovo and Serbia. The discussion addressed the establishment of local institutions in Kosovo’s north and the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade. The roundtable is part of a project on the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia funded by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs. Read more
Belgrade, Serbia, June 24, 2014. The Council for Inclusive Governance (CIG) organized at the end of June 2014 in Belgrade a roundtable for representatives of Kosovo Serb parties, Serbian parties, Serbian government officials, and a number of Serb analysts. The objective of the roundtable was to address the role of the newly elected Kosovo Serbs in Kosovo’s central institutions and to explore ways the Serb representatives could help to overcome obstacles at the local level, particularly in the north. Read moreENGLISH SHQIP SRPSKI
Pristina, Kosovo, May 7, 2014. Kosovo’s government and representatives of the four Serb-majority municipalities in Kosovo’s north have been locked in a complex struggle over the establishment of the municipal institutions. Pristina insists that the municipalities should be established according to Kosovo law, while the Serb representatives demand that the north remains autonomous and that the municipal institutions remain status neutral. To address these irreconcilable positions, the Council for Inclusive Governance organized in Pristina a roundtable discussion for several representatives of Kosovo political parties, officials of the Serb-majority municipalities, and members of civil society. Read moreENGLISH
A new CIG publication documents a series of informal discussions between Kosovo Albanians, Kosovo Serbs, and Serbian representatives dealing with the issues of Kosovo’s north and the Pristina-Belgrade dialogue. The objective of the project was to assist Kosovo and Serbian policymakers in resolving Kosovo’s north dispute and to contribute to improving relations between Kosovo and Serbia through joint examination of these issues and offering informal recommendations. The project served as an arena in which participants exchanged and tested ideas, principles, and policy choices. Read more
Kosovo's North: From Barricades To Integration
Veriu i Kosovës: Nga barrikadat tek integrimi
Sever Kosova: Od barikada ka integraciji