„THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING EU CANDIDATE STATUS“

Sarajevo, 2011

„THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING EU CANDIDATE STATUS“

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Partners of the final event:

„THE CHALLENGES OF ACHIEVING EU CANDIDATE STATUS“
Editors and „Time for Plan B-alkans“ group members:

Rezarta Chausaj (Albania) Sonja Delova (Macedonia) Dajana Džindo (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Cristian Gherasim (Romania) Žarko Petrović (Montenegro) Irma Zulić (Bosnia and Herzegovina) Year of pubication: 2012. Author of the cover photograph: Bojan Elek The photograph was acquired with the author's permission. It is one out of two winning photographs in the competition: „How can the EU do better in the Balkans“, organized by our partnering group (also a participant of the Southeast Europe and the EU – Leadership Development Programme 2011). The author finds that the EU can do better in the region, by giving a „green light“ to reassure that the Balkan countries are moving in the right direction of becoming EU Member States. In this publication authors of 10 best essays, think that in order to reach the green light, there are many challenges which these countries need to overcome.

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CONTENTS:
1. Introduction ................................................................ 1.1. „Time for Plan B-alkans“ and LDP 2011 .......... 5 5

2. About the Project ........................................................ 6 3. Essay of Anja Lejli Hessarbani (BIH) ......................... 7 4. Essay of Neven Obradović (SRB) ………………….... 10 5. Essay of Nenad Kovačević (SRB) …………………… 13 6. Essay of Anton Jurovicki (MNE) ….………………….. 16 7. Essay of Dino Pešut (CRO) …………………….…….. 19 8. Essay of Ana Kristijan (SER) …………………………. 22 9. Essay of Ena Peeva (MKD) ……….………………….. 25 10. Essay of Anastazija Dimitrova (MKD) ….…………... 28 11. Essay of Aleda Kushta (ALB) ................................... 30 12. Essay of Arber Selmani (KOS) ……………………... 33 Time for Plan B-alkans …...……………………………… 36

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1. Introduction 1.1. „Time for Plan B-alkans“ and LDP 2011
This publication is one of the project activities of the project called “Time for Plan B-alkans”. The members of this project group are LDP 2011 fellows. The Southeast Europe and the EU – Leadership Development Programme is organized jointly by the European Fund for the Balkans, the College of Europe and the TRANSFUSE Association. The Programme aims to transmit knowledge about the EU and its relation to the SEE, to stimulate the leadership and professional skills of participants and to encourage an exchange of views of young people who aspire to play an active role in the future of their countries. The 2011/2012 Programme consists of the following activities:  Two-week Summer Academy in Austria and Slovakia in September 2011  Group projects  Spring Seminar in Belgium (Brussels/Bruges), in April 2012

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2. About the project
The main aim of this project is to raise awareness by creating a platform for the debate on the challenges of achieving EU candidate status for the countries of Western Balkans. The target groups are students from 18-25 years old and from countries in the region. Other beneficiaries, such as politicians, business sector, academics, professors, NGOs and media, will also be included in the project. The project is implemented in three phases: 1. Short essays competition on the topic of “The challenges of achieving EU candidate status in my country”; 2. Issuing a publication with best 10 short essays; 3. Organization of a debate, where two best essays will be presented and the participants will have the opportunity to discuss on the mentioned topic. The name of the project is also related to the SEE countries. Each country faces the challenges and fulfils the conditions for candidacy in the EU, on its own. In our opinion, “Plan B” is that if the neighboring countries help and support each other in achieving the same goal, all of them will reach it faster. In this publication are the 10 best essays of our Essay Competition. More info about the project can be found on the website: www.tiny.cc/planbalkans

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Anja Lejli Hessarbani
...is a student of Political Science and Diplomacy in Sarajevo. Anja worked as an intern in Transparency International B&H, and Embassies of BIH in Vienna and Athens.

Bosnia and Herzegovina’s challenge is to act as one, homogenous state and not as divided communities. My country is Bosnia and Herzegovina. Even though many did not hear about it, it is small and beautiful country centered in the heart of Europe with approximately 4 million people on the area of 51, 197 km2. However, this small country was marked with a turbulent history (1992-1995). This country has very complex political structure which is the result of Dayton Peace Agreement that played a big role in the establishing peace at that time. Complexity of the political system in Bosnia and Herzegovina is reflected in two entities plus Brcko District, 10 cantons, 3 presidents and numerous dysfunctional bureaucracies. From the above briefly mentioned facts one can see that one of the biggest challenges of Bosnia and Herzegovina to become a part of EU is its constitution that is incompatible with the EU. Moreover, the will of political leaders is also one of the crucial elements in the process in itself. Some political leaders enjoying the positions they occupy, using various tools, such as media, make even more divisions in this society.

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Moreover, in the constitution of the Bosnia and Herzegovina it is said that Bosnia and Herzegovina is a secular state, but it seems that it is far from that, taking into account that religious leaders give their opinion on the questions that are political and get involved in every aspect of current politics which makes such complicated system even more complicated. Some fundamental human rights are violated by its constitution, as the inclusion of the minority representatives in politics and its institutions. Bosnia and Herzegovina‟s challenge is to act as one, homogenous state and not as divided communities. This can only be reached by the change of the Dayton Peace Agreement and the change of the constitution, which can be easily reached if we only regarded 1 them by the “Living tree approach” , but that will not be possible because of the lack of the political will. To be able to be an active member of EU, it is also need to have the economic conditions for that. It is necessary to raise the living standards in order to be able to cope with the standards established by the EU. Because in a country, with its 27, 6% people unemployed (even though it is considered that this number is even higher), 48% of the people live on the margins of existence, and the others with the retirements and salaries that are the lowest in the region, will give the headache to the citizens of Bosnia and Herzegovina placing their existence into the question, but also to the EU. Together with this is the fact that aids, donations and other programs designed for and targeted at this group of people have to be more effectively applied and monitored in order to improve the quality of the people living here, instead of the money distributed on the projects that remain only as dead letter on the paper.
1

Living Tree approach is approach of constitutional interpretation which claims that constitution is organic and has to be read in a broad and progressive manner so as to adapt it to the changing times.

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However, youth and minorities have to be included in order to give them prosperous country for which they will have a vision and wish to improve and not to see this country as the station while waiting the train for another country which raises more global issues concerning this country but also the other. And last, but not less important challenge is corruption. Why this issue? Because if you manage to reduce it, many other questions will be solved. All state institutions need a revision of the budget spent and people employed, because many people still working in these institutions got the job illegally, or it is time for them to get retired which would open the positions for the younger people and more effective ones. The bureaucracy has to be reaching the minimum level and to be composed of the small, accurate people, well educated that will know to do their job more effectively by which money and time will be saved. Corruption is also reflected in the media, infrastructure, medicine, politics and many other aspects. Corruption in these segments is also high which prevents this country to get improved. However, this country has a good chance to be a candidate country of the EU, only if there is will for that and hard work to confront and overcome above mentioned challenges.

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Neven Obradović
...is a student of journalism master studies in Niš, Sebia. In addition, Neven works as a teaching assistant on the subjects: Investigative journalism and Agency journalism

When speaking about Serbia, corruption is the systematical problem of the society, or better said it’s a way of life.

Serbia probably has one of the greatest challenges of all the countries in the region in getting the membership in the EU. Politicians both from EU and Serbia and the media label Kosovo as the biggest challenge. The unsolved problem of Kosovo surely is the major problem for many reasons which are familiar to everybody; however, the government is putting that problem on top of its agenda, and putting the rest of the challenges, which are equally important for getting a full membership, to the bottom. Those problems are concerning simple man and the normalization of life in the Balkans. In order to even think of joining the community of European nations corruption, unemployment, education are definitely fields that crave for changes in Serbia. When speaking about Serbia, corruption is the systematical problem of the society, or better said it‟s a way of life. The best

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way of representing it is the circular example from birth to death. However, when you are born, your father, should, as if by a rule, give some “present” to the doctor and nurses in order for them to take better care of you. If not, they could be rude with your mother or slightly careless with you. After a couple of interesting years of growing up comes a new challenge - getting a place in the kindergarten. There is a shortage of preschool institutions, and if you are not able to pay for a private one, just in order to get on the waiting list for a public one, which can count more than 2 000 kids, you should offer a certain amount of money to the headmaster or an employee just to provide a normal growing up and socialization, and of course, after getting a place in the kindergarten there are more things to pay, but let‟s not go into details. Then comes the elementary school where teachers are the “target group”. During high school you get more mature and you learn the rules of survival in the system. We are witnessing various, even interesting, ways of bribe and corruption by those who are not willing to study and in order to get the passing grade often offer fixing your house, collecting your cherries during the summer break, mending your car, it all depends which crafts your family can offer and what your teacher needs. When it comes to high education, there are exact price lists of the exams on certain universities which were put by professors and which are well known by all the students. It‟s simple, like in a fastfood restaurant, when you open the menu, instead of the meals there are exams, and in the end you won‟t get a fiscal bill. After getting a university degree comes a time when a citizen of Serbia spends a lot of money in the name of corruption. Of course, just

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to get in touch with your eventual employer you have to be a member of a political party, and not just any party but the ruling one, and in some cases, the opposition can provide a job for its sympathizers. Having a job and a family you enter the enchanted circle of corruption which your parents passed in order to get you out on the right way. After that you get old and ill. Health care is a system of its own when it comes to corruption. In order to get a decent treatment and to be sure that the doctors won‟t forget a scalpel or some other instrument in your body you need to make things easier. The beginner level is a pack of coffee and a bottle of juice, intermediate level is a bottle of Scotch or some other hard liquor, and the advanced level represents an envelope filled with Euros, a currency of a union that we desperately crave, a paradox isn‟t it? And at the end of the circle, comes death, and, since the corruption follows that circular process there were some cases that after your close relatives died you had to provide a better place at the graveyard with a “small investment”. For Serbian authorities elimination of corruption represents probably the greatest challenge when the membership in the EU is questioned, but so far the acts showed that they are not dealing with it seriously and systematically. It all comes down to the eventual preventive actions which serve for politicians to show off in front of the cameras instead of showing us the way out of the dark tunnel of corruption.

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Nenad Kovačević
...is a student of Master studies in Diplomacy and International Relations in Skopje. Nenad is interested in politics and has already published two essays in Macedonia.

In my opinion, two most important challenges that Serbia faces in achieving EU candidate status, are: (disputed) status of Kosovo and corruption The reason why this essay is wrote just couple of hours before deadline is not because this author is lazy or has spent too much time thinking about possible challenges for achieving EU candidate status for Serbia. The simple thing is that prognosis and analysis regarding result of the meeting of European Council, which will take place on 9 December, and which will clarify whether Serbia is, at least in opinion of European Council, ready for candidacy are changing on daily basis. At the moment, prospects, both on the round tables in Brussels and on the field, are not good. European project is in peril, Serbia needs attention of the European friends, but the times are critical for the very survival of the Union. Still, with having this is mind, I will deal with, in my opinion, with two most important challenges that Serbia faces in achieving EU candidate status.

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(Disputed) status of Kosovo As much we can blame political elites in Serbia for dishonesty and passivity in EU integration, there must be some understanding for the difficult situation that current Serbian government is facing. Without even going into deeper analysis of history of the conflict, it is more than clear that unresolved status of territory of Kosovo will be a problem that will heat tensions on already flammable Balkans. Weak and not unanimous position of EU, impatient adversaries at the negotiation table, constant tension on the field, the atmosphere of mistrust, imposition and extortion without realizing complexity of the situation are not element that are messenger of good news for Serbia. All actors in the process must understand that cycles of mistrust and frustrations in Balkans usually ends with bloodshed and wars. Still, one must hope that EU, although in crucial times for its very survival, will show its capacity for export of stability into the region and, when disputed parties on the ground are now ready, to define and set into motion new and functional model of cooperation between two communities, Serbs and Albanians. The challenge of “Kosovisation” of the region will remain present until political elites do not realize that negotiation cannot have winners and losers. (Miss) using the process of European integration for internal politics purposes (Miss) use of process of European integration for internal politics purposes is not something unfamiliar to Serbia, or other countries in the region for that matter. Corruption of European idea by political elites has created several devastating effects namely,

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image of EU as “blackmailing bureaucracy machine”, reforms that are conducted only because Brussels wants so, looking at EU as political nanny that will punish the country for everything bad that it does and award for making progress in right direction. This “do ut des” (Latin for "I give so that you may give") policy is not helping at all. Nevertheless, of course, EU is not only to blame. They are acting in that manner only because they have politicians who are manipulating with uneducated voters about what the Union is all about. Surely, EU should not involve into the internal politics, but it must its capacity to raise awareness in NGO sector and in direct contact with citizens, especially with youth activist and academics. This is one of the ways to create better understanding and good environment about realistic and responsible debate on EU. Unfortunately, it seems that “chasing the candidacy status” has become more of a prestige intended only to help political elite in power in their political battle for winning the elections and therefore, we cannot count on Serbian political elite to do such a thing. That is one of the core problems of the EU integration process, surely not only in Serbia. Country lead in such irresponsible way is figuratively speaking “bad news”, and it seems that present Europe cannot cope anymore with bad news, especially not from (potential) candidate.

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Anton Jurovicki
…is a student of Information Systems and Technology in Podgorica. Anton is a young entrepreneur. He owns a number of websites and a Promotion and Design Agency.

Doing business inside Montenegro can be good in many ways but if I would like to spread my business, MNE is small country that can’t offer big profits and international brand. When it was very oblivious that Montenegro will soon become a candidate for EU I started thinking about my future. I heard a lot about EU on my University, from my friends but no one talked about options I will have when Montenegro becomes part of European Union. People only talk how EU will be a great benefit for us because of the potential of raising the economic standard, better conditions for living; they don‟t talk how actually all that depends only from us. EU is a new start and a possible linger for all of those who sit at home and wait to be called on a job interview or just called to start working. EU demands competitiveness, constant work and progress. Being in EU is a new chance and opportunity for all young people in Montenegro to prove themselves on the new market, to show new ideas in an area that is enormous comparing it to

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Montenegro. Soon we will live in the county that has 600 million people! Soon my partner or rival in business will be a student from France, Germany. We need to cope and realize that becoming a part of EU is new motivation which has to lift us to unseen heights! When we sum all impressions EU is one strong bureaucratic creation that demands many upgrades and developments of our society so that it can be shoulder to shoulder with other countries in the EU. For me personally EU is more than a chance it‟s simply one big area that has place for me, my ideas, creation, knowledge. Strong laws and regulations from EU will linger some things, such as starting new business, minimal wage of an employee, taxes and other. I guess that the best thing about EU is international expansion of ideas, products and companies. Our country has to make good business bases so entrepreneurs can succeed in EU. Doing business inside Montenegro can be good in many ways but if I would like to spread my business, MNE is small country that can‟t offer big profits and international brand. Goal of MNE should also be to create good encouraging wave of positive thinking towards EU, so people here can have company that is strong and competitive in Europe and world because people are afraid of going global and they are scared of competition which EU will give us plenty Montenegro is one of the world's fastest growing tourism markets but I think it will have to improve a lot, considering that some new laws will have to apply on it. There are also many other things that Montenegro will face with, in order to become a good student of EU. We need to root out corruption, business barriers, make our government more transparent. We also need to improve our

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information system. Recently I read census data and it shows that almost half of citizens are IT illiterate. This will have to change. One of future obstacles of our society is definitely this information illiteracy which is sad, considering that we live in 21. century. We are living in the digital age where basics of IT are required on daily basis. One of the challenges that we will face is “challenges of our own mind”. People will soon realize that openness and cooperation is the best method to succeed and that‟s what EU can offer. Better life is expected in one way or another, only it will take some time for things to stabilize and fortify so things and life generally can move positive during the merger process with the other members of the European Union. EU will offer riddance of business barriers especially when it comes to pushing products internationally. It is obvious that entering EU will contribute to society, individuals, businesses and that it will contribute to overall development of Montenegro. I know that leaders of my county are opt to every challenge and that all tasks or requirements that are needed from Montenegro will be done in satisfying way. I‟m sure our path towards EU will be pawed with excellence and determination.

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Dino Pešut
…is a student of Dramatic Arts in Zagreb. Dino is an artistic soul and has been actively involved in contemporary dance, acting and producing. Currently, Dino is living in Ljubljana as a Basileus scholar.

Not long after approval for acceptance in the EU, in Croatia happened a big incident during a gay pride in Split and still no legal action nor political will has been showed. Croatia will most probably enter the European Union in the next 12 months and my possible grant for Erasmus Mundus in performing arts will drop more than 50 percent enabling me a semi- decent life in France or Belgium. The obvious paradox of acceptance and exclusion in the apparatus of the European Union. The paradox of the end of one and beginning of the other struggle connected to the European Union. Hence, I would like to propose certain points which clarify this paradoxical situations and somewhat schizophrenic messages send by European union towards Croatia as it is the first country (sans Slovenia) which will enter. There are two aspects pointing each other. On one side, we have European Union as a permutation of the European economical alliance. Without doubt, a strong political initial context is the most obvious while preparing for the entrance. Each country, without doubt has to be prepared, not only to become similar as well to be able to integrate in the new economical machine. On the other hand,

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there is a concept of United Europe which constructs of collective symbolic values nurtured within the walls of the boarders of European Union. Hence, as we might see recently, economy is neither a possession nor value. It transformed in highly sophisticated system which operates alone and in between global activities. Obviously, the values Europe gathers is the one based on thousands of years of philosophical thought and mistakes, or better to say catastrophic, from which we all should been learning. Those values, although may be considered ideological is the edge of modernity. The struggle for the candidate is therefore not only in the economical as it is in ideological as well. The Balkan countries still have not figured out how to deal with blame of the history, nor had it been able to rethink its complexes regarding to it. History is still treated as a populist political campaign and strong ideology is somewhat felt. What is candidate to do? It is certain that the standard will always be lower, but those things which might be changed are not. Let me issue the question of human rights. Here is the obvious contradiction which happened in Croatia. Not long after approval for acceptance in the EU, in Croatia happened a big incident during a gay pride in Split and still no legal action nor political will has been showed. More recently, even the left option said it will not approve further steps toward LGBTQ rights. Although it is just one of the possible problems, it occurs to me as paradigmatic evidence of those messages sent from the inside. Without doubt, my generation is the one who will carry those values given to us. My generation is the one who will embrace

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United Europe and we have done some share. With boyfriends in Paris, best friends in London, colleagues in Prague, with internet connection, with concerts of Bon Iver in Vienna... But still, it is for privileged children, often from the upper middle class, educated and from liberal households. The ideological apparatus is strong here. I would like to argue Athusser and induct the triangle church-family-school as the representatives of populist neo-90s ideologies which of course have risen hence the recession. Will the few of us be able to spread the word? In conclusion, I would like to propose a plea to let us in as we described above are your target. You should re-read Hannah Arendt, re-think the new philosophers and re-approach Susan Sontag. You should let us in, give us opportunities and show us. We have not been able to travel the Europe while eighteen. Our families are poorer than yours and we carry the blame of not completely understanding our own history. In conclusion, as I wait for my Easy jet to go to Paris, to feel, to dream of my experience, I hope our voices will be heard and welcomed and in some years maybe paid, not necessary only in money, but more importantly in exchanging values.

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Ana Kristijan
…is a student of Law in Novi Sad. Ana‟s main fields of interest are international relations, with a focus on the European Union, human rights and economics development.

The European Union is not about satisfying the requirements of fellow member states while oppressing one’s own people. The challenges Serbia faces on its way to the European Union are – like in the case of any former EU candidate who is a member now – numberless. Nevertheless, as I see it, there is one fundamental problem: Serbia is not pursuing E.U.R.O.P.E. Haven‟t heard about this buzzword yet? E.U.R.O.P.E. is an ideology that highlights the milestones along the path towards the European Union. Look how it works:

E : economic development. If a country seeks to integrate into an
economic entity, it will need to adjust the objectives of its economic policy to the goals of the community, and it will need to harmonize its economic cycles with those of the members of the community. Serbia, being a small and open export-oriented economy, should pay special attention to its trade relations, the progressive development of its economy including financial stability, high rates of employment and an effective reduction of poverty, and R&D among other investments.

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U : unity of the nation. Becoming a member of the European
Union should be the reflection of the will of the overwhelming majority of the nation of Serbia. Not a single citizen should feel deprived of her/his possibilities and rights by the process. Therefore, decision makers in Serbia shall take full advantage of the opportunities provided by the European integration, and should advocate it in a way that makes the nation stand behind the idea as a unity.

R : respect towards all people(s) and their rights. The European
Union is not about satisfying the requirements of fellow member states while oppressing one‟s own people. On the contrary: first the rights of citizens should be guaranteed, and then, after having set up a solid system that represents the rights of the population can the domestic structure of the country be „interconnected‟ to other states. In Serbia where the mixed population is a potential and a challenge at the same time, this issue needs to be dealt with special care.

O : outside relations. It goes without saying that international
relations are crucial. Note however, that it is not only EU member states whose sympathy should be sought. Particular attention should be paid to neighboring countries. None of the former Yugoslavian republics should let history doom present relations to failure. Unless Serbia will be able to have mature negotiations with its neighbors concerning the most important aspects of life, the European Union – and other supra- and international organizations – will not handle the country as an equal partner.

P : potential. Serbia is a lucky country. Don‟t agree? Just think
about the favorable conditions and potential it has! Its

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geographical location, the influence of its economy in the region, its multi-ethnic population and rich cultural life are all chances which should be seized now in order to build up a well-functioning country which will benefit present and upcoming generations too.

E : a European perspective. Being a European is a very good
starting point in many respects, and it brings about a lot of assumptions towards a country. Dealing with global issues with European generosity often delivers satisfying results; therefore Serbia should follow this ideology in its foreign policy and international affairs. Harmonizing foreign policy is a prerequisite of membership too. My conclusion is that the only thing Serbia should do in order to overcome the challenges it faces on its way to the EU, is to listen to EUROPE, while safeguarding its own values and protecting its traditions – which is, by the way, an essential element of being European and being a member of the European Union.

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Ena Peeva
…is 18 years old and in her last year in high school. For Ena this topic is something that she finds very important and attractive, because she wants to study International Relations and work in this field in the future.

I approve the changes in the Justice System, changes in the Health Resources, as well as the one in the Educational system and I must say that I feel very happy when I see that they are slowly becoming real life changes that people can feel throughout real life situations. Becoming part of the European Union is one of the most important goals for my country, its current government and most of its citizens. Macedonia, as a crossroad country, has been attractive for foreign investments since always, but unfortunately, it was also very attractive for conquering. It is a real Balkan treasure, small, rich with natural resources and most important with a very strategic location. It is a transit country, which connects the Balkans to Eastern, Western and Central Europe. Nowadays, the politicians that are leading the Macedonian government have one main issue, called Macedonia in Europe. Most of the citizens are for achieving this issue, but there are also a big number of them that does not want to see its bellowed

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homeland country in the EU, because they do not want to be in the EU as citizens of a country that is not Macedonia. I, as a young citizen of this country, at almost 18 years of age, can say that yes, I admit and respect almost all challenges that the EU gives to its member states, but I do not agree with changing the identity in order to become an EU member. There must be another solution for this challenge, but time is needed to find it out. I approve the changes in the Justice System, changes in the Health Resources, as well as the one in the Educational system and I must say that I feel very happy when I see that they are slowly becoming real life changes that people can feel throughout real life situations. Macedonia is a candidate for accession to Europe since 2005 and until then and also since then a lot of things have started going positive. As a student, I mostly appreciate the changes in Education, because on its way towards the EU, Macedonia has made big changes in the Educational programs and what I like the most about the changes, it has opened the students‟ prospective viewing much more widely than it used to be before. Since achieving the candidate status, the students got a chance to expand their knowledge outside the borders of their country, throughout different Exchange programs, mostly funded by the European Union. If we perceive it from the real point of view, without the EU‟s pleading for Macedonian students, 95% of them wouldn‟t ever get a chance to expand their knowledge outside the country borders. I believe that the cancelling of the visa system for Macedonia has also helped a lot for expanding the horizons of citizens of one country and making them ready for accepting the

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challenges that EU gives in order to become its member. It is very hard to explain to the citizens of a country that until yesterday was part of a communist system that did not make any changes for ages, the reforms that they have to make in order to join the EU family, unless you show them and open their horizons. I strongly believe that throughout traveling, exchanges and, most important, with meeting new cultures and traditions, people expand their views and start accepting change easier. To summarize, I think that Macedonia as a country system has passed successfully a lot of challenges in order to achieve the candidate status. The exams that were given to us until now were successfully passed, but before us there is a new challenge in the period that is to follow and that we have to pass it even more successfully in order to get into the EU. We should learn that we cannot use our hot-strings in order to achieve something, as well as that being a string puller is not allowed when talking about the Justice System, Health System and any other system that is state-funded. We should teach the young generations that becoming successful and achieving the life challenges is not easy, but when you fulfill it with your own work, then they are a million times worthier than when fulfilling it as a string puller. When, we will say out loud that we have achieved all this, than we can say that we are ready for becoming EU members.

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Anastazija Dimitrova
…studies environmental engineering and landscape architecture in Skopje. In the future Anastazija hopes to achieve her goals, contribute to the society and inspire people in many ways.

If we become a member of the EU under a different name that is not Macedonia that is just a desperate nation with lost identity, history and tradition who will never be able to do much good in the Union. During these 19 years of my life, according to some people I have seen a lot, and according to other yet so little. One thing that everyone can be sure of, is that I have seen and felt the neverending battle my country is leading in order to become a member of the European Union. It has been stated over and over again that this is our primary goal, but the question why after 20 years we are still far away from becoming a member still stays unanswered. One of the most complicated problems that Macedonia is facing in the process of becoming a candidate is the name issue. Many people will say that this is just a silly misunderstanding, a battle of Don Quixote against the wind mills, but how can we stay indifferent when someone wants to rename us against our will. If we become a member of the EU under a different name that is

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not Macedonia that is just a desperate nation with lost identity, history and tradition who will never be able to do much good in the Union. In order to solve this problem, it is my belief that we have to explain to the world that a name is never just a name, it is a whole identity and identity is the one thing that no one has the right to take away from you. Of course the name is not the only problem. As residents of the Balkan Polynesian, is in our mentality to think that we are better then everyone, that we need no help or assistance from anyone, that we can make it on our own. Well, if I have the chance to say one thing to the people who run my country it will be this: You cannot do everything, you do not know everything. Ask for help, ask for opinions! We have to understand that asking for help is not a bad thing to do. It will not make us look bad and it will not make us loose. We can learn so much from countries and nations around the world. If we just try to change and fix things one by one, by looking and comparing what other have done, we will be more developed, more organized and more appreciated from Europe and the world. These changes of course, can never happen by night. But we, as young people can help to make them happen sooner. We have to understand that it is of great importance for Macedonia to become a part of the European family, because that will help us and our fellow citizens in the future. We have to stand up and speak, we have to inspire change and be the change. We have to take some action and show that we, the youth have the power within us. It is never easy to conquer so many challenges. But if we don‟t try who will?

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Aleda Kushta
…is 19 years old and she is studying Economics in her first academic year, in Tirana. Aleda speaks English, Turkish and a little bit of Spanish and Italian language.

The barriers that are created between the opposition and government are making our achievement in the EU even more difficult and the time of admission is being extended indefinitely. “A day will come when you, France, you, Italy, you, England, you, Germany, all of you nations of the continent, will, without losing your distinctive qualities, be blended into a European fraternity.” This was what Victor Hugo, a well known French poet and novelist predicted about the future of Europe. In this century, his predictions came true. But what is the EU? European Union is an economic alliance of nations. It unifies standards and laws that contribute to economic growth. The EU goals include promoting economic and social progress, introducing European citizenship as a complement to national citizenship, and giving the EU a significant role in

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international affairs. To achieve its goal of a borderless Europe, the EU is removing barriers to free trade among its members. The right to free movement under the same conditions as every national citizen in the EU Member state. The right to vote and to stand in local and European elections throughout the EU. The right to diplomatic protection by every EU Members States representation in the world. The right to file a petition to the EU Parliament. Everyone who is citizen of a Member State is automatically a EU citizen. Every country that wants to be a member of the EU must not allow corruption in administrative bureaus. Everyone must be treated equally in front of the law. The comprehension between the government and the opposition is also a very important issue because it gives a political stability to the country. The independence of the courts is another obligation if you want to be an EU member. The implementation of the new currency, the Euro, so we won‟t use anymore the Lek currency. The economy of the state must be in a certain level so that the country development and welfare could be greater. The first step that my country, Albania took last December was the liberalization of the visa. I remember very well that day because it made possible our free movement among the European countries. The joy and happiness that this brought to people that went for the first time outside Albania to see their families or relatives after many years was indescribable. I was also one of this people; I went to see my relatives in Austria after 4 years. This was a successful achievement for Albania. Another important achievement was also the membership in the OTAN.

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The main point that makes the EU to be so requested is the importance of an extraordinary practice such as the one that determines not only the politics and economy, but also the everyday issues of all citizens including day by day even more areas. As an important example we can use the implementation of the currency Euro as a mean of payment since 2002. Another reason is that now the decisions are not only taken in the capital cities of the states which are members in the EU, but also in Brussels. The EU is considered as the biggest economical zone in the world. The importance of the EU has increased also due to its gradual expansion. There were only 6 countries when it started and now there are 27 members of the EU. Taking this in consideration, if Albania could achieve being an EU member in the future would be a significant accomplishment which will help my country to have a greater development and prosperity. Meanwhile, Albania did not achieve her challenges because of the disputes between the government and opposition. The last elections for the Major of Tirana brought once again the political forces into conflicts. Even though the elections were declared by the respective ambassadors in Albania and the EU ambassadors as regular and impartial ones, the opposition forces rejected them. The barriers that are created between the opposition and government are making our achievement in the EU even more difficult and the time of admission is being extended indefinitely. As soon as these disputes could be solved, our acceptance in the EU family will be a reality.

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Arber Selmani
…currently works as an arts journalist in a daily newspaper in Pristina. In the last years he has worked on the radio and a television station. Arber is also a student of Marketing.

Five European countries do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country, there is corruption, murders, crimes, and other things, but the main justification to all these things is: “we are in transition.” When I think about that almost 45% of population of Republic of Kosovo, my country, are unemployed, 35% of them lives in poor conditions, 18% of them are facing the death and from the corruption field we are the best one, with all these facts it looks like we are far away from the integration of European Union. Its not that I don‟t want to, but those guys from the EU are not “foolish” people to accept us, the country which they expect stability and they don‟t find something near that. However, if you think about the development of this country in the period after the war, EU had made only one mistake, when they asked for State stability in Kosovo, because in fact the Republic of Kosovo is the most stabile country in Balkans, Europe or almost in the whole world, but still if we take a look to the state stability of European

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countries we have many examples when people of those countries have abused state finances. Half-stability we can count either when the number of unemployment is very high approximately 45%-50% , stability is when the young people are not educated and everyday they used to spend their lives to the coffee bars and pubs, there is no future from these places. It is stabile even the citizen votes that happens once in a while, and it doesn‟t change anything. If it is required the stability of the country in order to integrate to EU, what we can say about this, is that Kosovo is on a sub-way with no end. Kosovo was always been stabile even though we had many promises from politicians in their electoral campaigns that they will change and improve our country for a better future; those were only bunch of lies from them, of course with a lot of stability again. I checked the other things to figure out other conditions to be part of EU. It was required a stable economy. Maybe I‟m not exaggerating this, but the stability was always there. Economic tenders are always won by inexperienced people. Kosovo as a new country is the biggest victim of FormerYugoslavia which means that is far away from this integration. Five European countries do not recognize Kosovo as an independent country, there is corruption, murders, crimes, and other things, but the main justification to all these things is: “we are in transition.” Recently, Japan had a powerful earthquake which left many consequences in that country but if we compare the photographs which were taken after the earthquake and those taken 6 months after that happened, it looks different country and what Japanese people did was a masterpiece

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because for 6 months they achieved rebuilding their country in the best possible way. In Kosovo, since the war is over 11 years are not enough to improve the country and still the only justification is that we are in Transition. Years ago when the police files were stolen inside the police department, it would be a huge scandal all over the world but what the prime minister said was “the police was careless in this situation and we have to be more careful”. If you can make it to steal files in police department that means that you can kill 20 people in the middle of the day. 12 years have gone and I‟m 12 years older now, so if I multiply with 5 or 6 I will be quite old when this country can make it possible to integrate between other EU countries. It is not random that we had internationals for a quite long time after the war, because not many of them help us, if we don‟t firstly help ourselves. Often it is said that young people can shake rocks but I do not agree that they can move the terrible foundation. Millions money of Kosovo have lost and I cannot return them back as an economist. Personally what I can do is to create a good state education, so these things cannot happen again.

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„Time for Plan B-alkans”:

Irma Zulić
(Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Sonja Delova
(Macedonia)

Dajana Džindo
(Bosnia and Herzegovina)

Cristian Gherasim
(Romania)

Rezarta Chausaj
(Albania)

Žarko Petrović
(Montenegro)

The content of this publication is a sole responsibility of the members of “Time for Plan B-alkans” project group and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the organizers of the Southeast Europe and the EU – Leadership Development Programme

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