Call for papers: Schroubek-Fond Eastern Europa, Deadline: 15 September

The Schroubek Fund Eastern Europe offers a number of funding opportunities for German-speaking candidates that include scholarships for one or two semesters exchange or study visits in cultural science at universities in Eastern Europe (preferably at universities in Middle-East- and South-East Europe with teachings in Slavic language), language courses, workshops, guest lectures and publications.

Please find the call in German and further informaition here

Call for Papers:Rethinking Governance in the Time of the Pandemic. Perspectives from the Global South; Deadline: 20 August 2020

The responses from the Global South demonstrated the huge variety, nationally but also regionally. We are interested in some of the key reactions and policy approaches.

The global reach of the epidemic, its discrete beginning and the common challenges that it presents to all countries provides an opportunity to compare how different countries have responded and to analyse what this tells us about the form and capacities of their government systems. So far, the responses from the Global South demonstrated the huge variety, nationally but also regionally. We are interested in some of the key reactions and policy approaches.

We propose a conference to review and compare government responses to the health epidemic with a view to answering the following question: what do responses say about postcolonial and post-socialist governments today? Paper proposals(including a paper title, abstract of up to 250 words, author’s contact details and short biographies) should be sent to jelenav@gapp-tt.org.

Deadline for paper proposals is 20August 2020. The selection committee will inform all applicants about the outcome of their application by 1 September 2020. Papers from the Conference will be published in conference proceedings. Read more

GCSEE/ERMA_CALL FOR PAPERS “Children in migration: perspectives from South East Europe”, Deadline: 7 September 2020

GCSEE/ERMA) announces the call for papers for Children in migration: perspectives from South East Europe.

The Global Campus South East Europe / European Regional Master in Democracy and Human Rights in South East Europe (GCSEE/ERMA) is glad to announce the call for papers for the edited volume Children in migration: perspectives from South East Europe. Read more

Deadline for abstracts submission: 7 September 2020

Report: From Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria via Slovenia: migration and posting of third country nationals in the EU by Danaj et al.

The report focuses on the specific regional labour mobility patterns between Bosnia and Her zegovina (BiH) as a third country, Slovenia as a sending country, and Austria as a receiving country.

Report: From Bosnia and Herzegovina to Austria via Slovenia: migration and posting of third country nationals in the EU by S. Danaj, L. Geyer, S. Cukut Krilić, K. Toplak, & M. Vah Jevšnik

In this new study conducted in the frame of the project Con3Post– Posting of Third Country Nationals. Mapping the trend in the construction sector, our colleagues Sonila Danaj and Leonard Geyer in collaboration with the colleagues Sanja Cukut Krilić, Kristina Toplak & Mojca Vah Jevšnik of the ZRC SAZU – Research Centre of the Slovenian Academy of Sciences and Arts in Slovenia investigate the main characteristics of the trend of posting third country nationals to work in the EU construction sector. The report focuses on the specific regional labour mobility patterns between Bosnia and Her zegovina (BiH) as a third country, Slovenia as a sending country, and Austria as a receiving country. Read more

EaSI call: Establishing and testing integrated interventions aimed at supporting people in (the most) vulnerable situations, Deadline: 15 October 2020

This call for proposals aims to support existing or new partnerships in testing innovative approaches supporting in particular the delivery of Principle 14 of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

This call for proposals aims to support existing or new partnerships in testing innovative approaches supporting in particular the delivery of Principle 14 of the European Pillar of Social Rights.

The call will support innovative and experimental local/regional-level projects aimed at putting in place comprehensive strategies, mechanisms and services ensuring a holistic approach to support people in (the most) vulnerable situations.

EESPN countries that can participate in the call include EU Member States, Albania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

The deadline for the call is: 15 October 2020.

Please read the details here

North Macedonia’s Government Response to COVID-19

Since declaring the existence of a state of emergency on 18 March 2020, the Government of North Macedonia has swiftly introduced a series of temporary measures to prevent and mitigate the negative economic and social consequence of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemics. Until now, in addition to the public health prevention measures, three packages of Governmental measures have been put in use…

Aleksandra Slavkoska & Ana Georgievska (European Centre’s NLO North Macedonia), Ministry of Labor and Social Policy of North Macedonia

Since declaring the existence of a state of emergency on 18 March 2020, the Government of North Macedonia has swiftly introduced a series of temporary measures to prevent and mitigate the negative economic and social consequence of the crisis caused by the COVID-19 pandemics. Until now, in addition to the public health prevention measures, three packages of Governmental measures have been put in use (“Covid1”, “Covid 2”, “Covid 3”) providing financial assistance to companies as direct support with wage subsidies, tax reliefs, credit support, zero interest loans, support to vulnerable households, unemployment measures, support for education, and other additional regulatory and legislative measures allowing bigger flexibility of the existing procedures related to managing economic activities, trade, etc. This article focuses on the employment retention measures, worker protection measures and support for the most vulnerable individuals.

With regard to key measures aimed at protecting jobs, North Macedonia has implemented a set of employment retention measures. The following two measures are by far the most important: Firstly, a wage subsidy covering the net minimum wage (14,500 MKD or 236 EUR) for the months of April and May for eligible firms and workers; and secondly, a social insurance contribution subsidy, covering 50 per cent of actually paid social security contributions, up to a maximum amount of 5,752 MKD (or 94 EUR) for eligible firms and workers, for April, May and June. This amount corresponds to the maximum amount payable on a net wage of 39,900 MKD. This is conditional on retaining the same number of workers until July (for the minimum wage) and until August (for the social contributions).

The lockdown immediately affected some workers, especially those outside the formal economy, as well as some vulnerable categories who were already out of work. In response, the Government introduced a set of measures aimed at protecting those who have lost their jobs and other sources of income, as well as their families. On two occasions, the Government relaxed the eligibility rules for the main instrument providing a social protection floor, that is, the guaranteed minimum income. According to these new rules established by the Decree in April, the status of “materially deprived household” can be conferred already one month after combined household income did not exceed the guaranteed minimum income level—the pre-lockdown requirement was three months. Previously, eligibility criteria excluded any type of property. Currently, guaranteed minimum income applicants may still be eligible even if they own an apartment (which the household uses as primary residence), a car more than five years old and a plot of land for construction not exceeding 500 square metres. In addition, workers who lost their job because of non-performance, left the job of their own accord or were shifted from the “active” to the “passive” register of the Employment Service Agency, have become eligible to apply for the guaranteed minimum income. Guaranteed minimum assistance beneficiaries are at the same time allowed to continue exercising the entitlement to the cash benefit for covering part of their households’ energy consumption costs for the months from April to September 2020.

Moreover, about 17,000 children coming from households that are of guaranteed minimum assistance beneficiaries were provided with access to the entitlement to child and education allowance, with the ultimate goal of alleviating child poverty. School-age children coming from socially insecure families were provided with mobile Internet cards so that they could follow on-line classes.

Importantly, under the “COVID 3” package, the rules governing eligibility of unemployment benefit were relaxed temporarily so that people who have lost their jobs due to COVID-19 between 11 March and 30 April became eligible to claim two-month unemployment benefits regardless of their years of service and the ground for termination of the employment contract.

The Decree with the Force of Law on the Application of the Law on Labor Relations adopted by the Government made it possible for women workers who are absent from work due to pregnancy, childbirth, and parenthood and adoption to continue to receive compensation to salary until the cessation of the interim measures undertaken to prevent the spread of COVID-19. In fact, upon the closure of schools and kindergartens, the first measures taken by the Government of North Macedonia were those aimed at protecting one of the working parents of minors under the age of 10 who need care, pregnant women and chronically ill people. In this regard, the Government instructed employers in the public sector and recommended to private sector employers, for employees who have a minor child up to 10 years of age for whom home care is necessary, that one parent be released from work and work activities and that their absence during this period should be recorded as a justified absence by the employer, while pregnant women and the chronically ill should be released temporarily from work and work activities (that is, not go to work and remain in their homes).

Through the Centers for Social Work, more than 600 packages with protective and hygiene products were provided and distributed to the most vulnerable families, especially those living in substandard conditions. Additionally, in the period from May to July, 4,300 food and hygiene kits are to be distributed to social security beneficiaries, low-income foster families, and families that are guaranteed minimum assistance beneficiaries, who have a child with disabilities in their family.

Furthermore, the elderly and frail, the socially isolated, single parents, and the homeless have been provided with psychological support by telephone every day from 10 am to 2 pm.  The Red Cross has established a support line for the purposes of the service for provision of food, hygiene products, and medicines for the elderly, frail, and lonely.

The soup kitchens in the territory of the Republic of North Macedonia continued to work during this period, thus providing the vulnerable groups of citizens with meals or lunch packages. As one way to support the response in terms of the impact of COVID-19 in the country, specific services for delivery of groceries, medicines, raising public awareness for dealing with COVID-19, etc. have been established in the country.  In 27 municipalities, people have been engaged to deliver services to 1,500 beneficiaries, that is, mainly to the elderly, persons with disabilities, and other persons exposed to social exclusion.

The Ministry of Labor and Social Policy have provided municipalities with assistance and support to implement the activities aimed at preventing the spread of COVID-19 by hiring 50 people to do public work for a period of one month.  What is more, efforts have been made to ensure that the persons engaged in public works are Roma people at social risk.

Many of the most vulnerable Roma families who collect scrap metal and/or plastic bottles (PET), or do other similar activities for their livelihood, have been unable to perform them, which generates a state of helplessness, as well as lack of food and basic means of protection.  As an urgent response, they were provided with help in food, disinfectants, and informative materials (leaflets) in Romani language with marked graphically displayed measures for protection against COVID-19.  The aid kits were distributed to 80 families.

With the aim of protecting people with disabilities who need to be accompanied, namely, completely blind people, people using wheelchairs, and people with moderate and severe intellectual disabilities, given that they belong to the group of citizens who are at higher risk of developing severe symptoms of COVID-19, the Government adopted a Conclusion that exempts from work public administration employees who need to be accompanied. This measure was also given as a recommendation to the private sector. See more here & here

EENCE Summit: Call for conducting seminars, panel discussions & key note speeches for Eastern Europe, & all over the world

CALL FOR CONDUCTING SEMINARS, PANEL DISCUSSIONS AND KEY NOTE SPEECHES FOR THE REPRESENTATIVES FROM EASTERN EUROPE, RUSSIA & ALL OVER THE WORLD

Interested parties are invited to submit their ideas for workshops, seminars, panel discussions, keynote speeches and project results at the open seminar, contributing in the central topic of EENCE Summit 2019 in Batumi (Georgia). This call is addressed to young scholars, academics, researchers, representatives of CSOs, foundations, associations, animation specialists, decision makers from formal and informal education institutions, citizens from Eastern Europe as well as from any other part of the world. See more

Western Balkans and Turkey: Joint conclusions of the economic and financial dialogue of 19 May 2020

Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission, the European Central Bank, and representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for their annual economic policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for the future participation in the European Semester.

Representatives of the EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey, the European Commission and the European Central Bank, as well as representatives of the central banks of the Western Balkans and Turkey met for their annual economic policy dialogue. The dialogue aims at preparing the Western Balkans and Turkey for the future participation in the European Semester.

The outbreak of the Covid-19 pandemic confronts EU Member States, the Western Balkans and Turkey with similar unprecedented major public health, economic and social challenges. Participants agreed that it is crucial to maintain the economic policy dialogue in these exceptional circumstances in view of a commonly coordinated response to the crisis. Participants acknowledged the strong solidarity between the EU and the Western Balkans and Turkey they have been demonstrating by providing medical and financial assistance to fight the Covid-19 pandemic and contributing to address its socio-economic impact in the region. Participants welcomed the measures adopted by the Western Balkans and Turkey to limit the spread of the Covid-19 virus. They also acknowledged that the adoption of temporary emergency measures should be done in a transparent manner and should not undermine the principles of rule of law, democracy and fundamental rights. Participants fully supported the Western Balkans and Turkey in their decisions to allow automatic fiscal stabilisers to accommodate crisis-induced economic fall-outs in 2020. Read more

Major developments, new initiatives in social sphere of Ukraine (2019 – I quarter 2020)

The main focus in the field of social development in 2019 focused on the following tasks:

creating a supportive environment for persons with disabilities;
social support for families in difficult circumstances and other categories of population;
creation of conditions for providing a decent old age for the elderly, development of the pension insurance system;
ensuring the protection of children’s rights.

The main focus in the field of social development in 2019 focused on the following tasks:

  • creating a supportive environment for persons with disabilities;
  • social support for families in difficult circumstances and other categories of population;
  • creation of conditions for providing a decent old age for the elderly, development of the pension insurance system;
  • ensuring the protection of children’s rights.

There is a stable tendency to increase state social standards and cash incomes of citizens.

The Subsistence Minimum increased by 9.4 % in 2019, which is planned to further increase by 8 % during 2020. Meanwhile the increase of the average annual inflation rate was 4.1 % (December, 2019 to December, 2018). During January – March 2020 it was 100,7 %. In line with the increase in the Subsistence Minimum, the size of the basic state social guarantees determined on its basis was increased. 

The Minimum Wage increased by 12.1 %. Since January 2020, the minimum wage is 4,723 UAH, which is 13.2 % higher than the value of 2019. 

The average monthly salary in 2019 compared to 2018 increased by 16 % and amounted to UAH 12,264, which is by 2.9 higher than the Minimum Wage (4,173 UAH). The average monthly salary in March 2019 was 11,446 and it is by 11.8 % higher compared to the relevant month in preceding year, while real wages increased by 9.3%. 

The average pension as of 01.01.2020 amounted to 3,083 UAH and it was by 16.5 % higher than the same day of 2019. As of 01.04.2020 it amounted to 3,170 UAH which is by 9.3 % exceeds the its size compared to 01.04.2019. 

Nominal income of population in 2019 increased by 13.9 % compared to 2018. Available income, which can be used by the population for purchasing goods and services, increased by 14.9%, while the real available, determined on the basis of price factor, increased by 6.5%. Nominal income per capita amounted to 67,528 UAH in 2019 and it was higher by 15.5 % than in 2018.

Increasing income levels of all segments of the population contributed to the poverty reduction. The poverty rate in absolute criterion (incomes below the actual Subsistence Minimum) fell by 5 percentage points over the 9 months of 2019, up to 24.3% from 29.3% in the previous year.

Information provided by Olena Tarasiuk, Ministry of Social Policy of Ukraine

European Integration: Council greenlights opening accession talks for North Macedonia and Albania

On the 25 March 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process for two candidate countries: Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia.

On the 25 March 2020, the Council of the European Union adopted conclusions on the enlargement and stabilisation and association process for two candidate countries: Albania and the Republic of North Macedonia. In light of the progress achieved on reforms and the fulfilment of the conditions set unanimously by the Council in June 2018, the Council, subject to endorsement by the European Council members, decided to open accession negotiations with the Republic of North Macedonia and Albania. Details here