EC Country Reports: GENDER ANALYSIS 2020 for the Western Balkans

EC Country Reports: GENDER ANALYSIS 2020 for the Western Balkans

This is the third Kvinna till Kvinna Gender Analysis of EC Country Reports for the Western Balkans. The aim is to show progress year on year in the gender-mainstreaming of the Country Reports and attempt to identify areas where a gender perspective can be further strengthened across different chapters of the reports, beyond the fundamental rights section and the Chapter on Social Policy and Employment. This year, the report also includes country-specific recommendations on priorities to be addressed in the 2021 Country Reports. Read more

Closed (25/02/21): HERAS+ Call for Research Grants open

HERAS+ Call for proposals for Research Grants open from 25/11/2020 to 25/02/2021

The ZSI and the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) of Kosovo launch together a call for scientific networking and project cooperation between researchers from public universities and universities of applied sciences in Austria, in Kosovo and the Western Balkan region with special attention to young and early stage researchers.

HERAS+ Call for proposals for Research Grants open from 25/11/20 to 25/02/21

The ZSI and the Ministry of Education and Science (MES) of Kosovo launch together a call for scientific networking and project cooperation between researchers from public universities and universities of applied sciences in Austria, in Kosovo and the Western Balkan region with special attention to young and early stage researchers. The call is part of the project “HERAS+” which is funded by the Austrian Development Agency (ADA) and co-financed by the Ministry of Education and Science (MES). Read more

Closed (01/02/21): Visegrad+ Grants

Visegrad+ Grants support projects which contribute to the democratization and transformation processes in selected countries and regions, especially non-EU member states in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries.

Closed (01/02/21): Visegrad+ Grants

Visegrad+ Grants support projects which contribute to the democratization and transformation processes in selected countries and regions, especially non-EU member states in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries.

  • Projects must develop meaningful cooperation and ensure active involvement of at least 3 V4 countries and 1 entity from the EaP region or the Western Balkans countries at minimum regardless of the applicant
  • Maximum duration of project implementation is 18 months
  • Grants cover up to 100% of project budget with maximum 15% of the requested sum for overheads
  • Projects must clearly address one of the objectives of the program´s seven focus areas and be implemented in the region of EU´s Eastern Partnership or in the Western Balkans

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Closed (28/01/21): Danube Governance Conference – SAVE THE DATE!

Closed (28/01/21, 9:00 – 17:00 (CET)) Online event: Danube Governance Conference: “Towards European integration with the SDGs” – SAVE THE DATE!

The Danube Governance Conference: Towards European integration with the SDGs is the final event of the program Building Administrative Capacities in the Danube Region (BACID).

It will gather stakeholders to discuss the topics identified as priorities in improving governance in the countries of the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova on their way towards European integration and how the Sustainable Development Goals support this process. This event will bring together partners from public institutions, think tanks and civil society organizations from the whole Danube Region, as well as representatives of the EU and international organizations that are supporting European integration and public administration reforms in the Western Balkans and the Republic of Moldova. Read more

Childcare in the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe

The European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research conducted research on the situation of children at risk of losing the parental care and children that have lost the parental care in Albania, North Macedonia, Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine.

Veronica Sandu, European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research

From May to December 2020 the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research conducted research on the situation of children at risk of losing the parental care and children that have lost the parental care in five countries from Western Balkans and Eastern Europe region: Albania and North Macedonia, Armenia, Belarus and Ukraine. The research was part of a broader report done in cooperation with SOS Children’s Villages Worldwide Hermann-Gmeiner Fonds Deutschland and SOS Children’s Villages National Associations in the respective countries.

The analysis was done based on the review of legislation, policy reports and strategic documents, childcare national and regional reports, and other relevant documents. The UN Convention on the Rights of the Child (UNCRC) and the Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UNCRDP) country concluding observations have been consulted as part of the desk review. National statistics on vulnerable children were collected by referring to the national and international data sets and reports. In addition, key childcare stakeholders in depth interviews have been done in all countries.

There are many causes of risk for children to lose parental care and to be institutionalised. These risks can be related to: individual attributes (e.g., disability, skills, gender, sexual orientation, etc.); family circumstances (e.g., migration, poverty, stigma, language, ethnicity, geographic area, etc.); circumstances related to a specific risk (e.g., abduction, trafficking, homelessness, domestic violence, juvenile crimes, etc.); and humanitarian situations (displacement, armed conflicts, social breakdown, etc.).

About 11 million children live in the 5 selected countries, about 3 million of them live below the national poverty line, and about 210 thousand children are children with disabilities. The institutional care remains the main form of care in almost all countries. In total, in the region, about 100,000 children receive care in large residential facilities and 78,000 children receive care in some sort of family-based type of care service. The share of children receiving care in large institutions is almost twice the share of children in family-based care. One exception is Belarus, where many children receive care in their extended families under the guardianship/tutorship type of care.

The five countries make significant efforts to develop the family-based care as part of a broader de-institutionalization (De-I) reform or in parallel to improving the quality of residential care. The most common type of family-based care is the guardianship/tutorship care followed by foster care. Both of these services though are developed unevenly in terms of child vulnerability (very few foster care services are available for children with disabilities, for babies, for children with behavioural problems). All countries lack specialised foster care for emergency situations, and for appropriate care of children with special needs. Adoption is limited in all countries, with the exception of Belarus, where the number of adopted children is close to that of children placed in foster care.

The childcare systems in all these countries are undergoing major reforms such as the De-I reform, alternative care service development, community-based service development, development of child abandon and prevention programs, and preventions programs for families at risk of being separated from their children. At the same time, various policy gaps are limiting the childcare policy impact. These gaps refer to poor financing of childcare in the region, human resources in the sector not equipped in terms of skills, knowledge and resources to support these reforms, and childcare roles and responsibilities between administrations levels not fully clarified. The public private partnership in care provision is unregulated, and quality monitoring not fully in place.

The research conducted by the European Centre for Social Welfare Policy and Research will support the Children’s Villages Worldwide Hermann-Gmeiner Fonds Deutschland and SOS Children’s Villages National Associations in policy dialogue, advocacy efforts, internal planning processes to further support the childcare reforms in the 5 selected countries.

2020 Updated Reviews: on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans

2020 Updated Reviews: on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans

The European Centre updated the existing reviews on the European Pillar of Social Rights in the Western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, Republic of North Macedonia, and Serbia. The European Centre had already been engaged as international expert organization in the original reviews prepared in 2018. On behalf of the Regional Cooperation Council, the European Centre team was working with country experts and provided quality assurance to ensure that the reports were of high quality, consistent, clear, accurate, sourced, appropriate and timely. Read or download the six reports for 2020 here.

WB: Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth & Sport

The European Union has presented a long-term strategy for cooperation with the Western Balkan region entitled “Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport”.

Roadmap of a Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth & Sport

The European Union has presented a long-term strategy for cooperation with the Western Balkan region entitled “Western Balkans Agenda on Innovation, Research, Education, Culture, Youth and Sport”. This document presents the specific objectives, priorities and a tentative roadmap of key actions of this Agenda. Read here

EASPD Regional Provider Forum: Promoting community-based services for PwD

On 17th September the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and the Republic Center for Support of persons with Intellectual Disability (PORAKA) hosted the first ever EASPD Regional Provider Forum.

EASPD Regional Provider Forum: The EU, Western Balkan and Eastern Partnership Regions must work together to promote community-based services for persons with disabilities

On 17th September the European Association of Service providers for Persons with Disabilities (EASPD) and the Republic Center for Support of persons with Intellectual Disability (PORAKA) hosted the first ever EASPD Regional Provider Forum. Bringing together over 90 participants online, the forum addressed the key challenges and trends of service provision in non-EU countries from the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership regions. Speakers came together to explore how the EU could work with these regions to strengthen their cooperation, while promoting the provision of sustainable, community-based support services for persons with disabilities. Read more

Closed (10/09/20): Western Balkans Fellowship Programme at the Austrian Parliament

We are looking for the 6 best applicants from the WB6 National Parliaments, who want to shape the regional and European collaboration by using their knowledge and enthusiasm in applying the best practices in the process of administrative reform

10/09/20:Western Balkans Fellowship Programme at the Austrian Parliament

The European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) announces the call for applications for the Western Balkans Fellowship Programme at the Austrian Parliament. The fellowships funded by the Austrian Parliament are designed for civil servants working in the administrations of the National Parliaments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia. It is a unique opportunity to gain knowledge about the operations and practices of the Austrian Parliament as well as to observe and to learn from the administrative staff and professionals about the different aspects of their work.

The programme description and the full guidelines for the applicants are available at this page.

The deadline for submission of applications is 10 September 2020.

Closed (17/9/2020): Online EASPD Regional Forum: Toward community-based living in WB & EaP countries

17 September 2020, 10h00-12h30 Cest: Online EASPD Regional Forum: TOWARDS COMMUNITY LIVING in Western Balkan and Eastern partnership countries

Together with EASPD members from these regions EASPD and PORAKA will:
  • Provide an overview of the key challenges and trends in the provision of services related to early childhood intervention and support to children, education, employment and independent living.
  • Discuss the key recommendations for how authorities can build sustainable community-based services in non-EU countries.
  • Launch the EASPD report on the needs and trends in social service provision in Armenia, Albania, Moldova, North Macedonia and Turkey.
  • Debate how the European Union can play an active role in supporting the development of CSOs, including through funding opportunities, and their dialogue with public authorities.
  • Establish agreements for future cooperation among service providers in the regions.

Read more & register