Capacity Building Seminar “Bridging Research and Policy in Western Balkans”Capacity Building Seminar “Bridging Research and Policy in Western Balkans”, within Think and Link - Regional Policy Programme, was held in Skopje, December 10-12.

Capacity Building Seminar gathered 24 young researchers coming from 12 different emerging Think Tanks in the Western Balkans which are dealing with topics relevant from the perspective of the Copenhagen criteria.
The seminar was opened by Ms. Hedvig Morvai Horvat, Executive Director, European Fund for the Balkans and Mr. Igor Bandovic, Programme Manager, European Fund for the Balkans.

During the first day of the seminar respective speakers from various relevant Think Tanks in Europe shared their views on important roles of TT in creating and disseminating policy solutions to decision-makers.

Mr. Goran Buldioski, Director of Think Tank Fund, Open Society Institute from Budapest talked about status of the independent policy research in the Western Balkans and stressed still existing problem of poor quality of analytical products and nonexistent or poor communication strategies.
After this excellent introduction Mr. Janis A. Emmanouilidis, Senior Policy Analyst, European Policy Centre from Brussels presented the role of TT in the EU environment with particular emphasis on European Policy Centre. He emphasized the importance of creating networks between TT in different capitals. Mr. Jens Bastian, Senior Research Fellow, Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy-ELIAMEP, Athens, answered the question “How to be effectively engaged in the public policy”. Mr. Thomas Klau, Head, European Council on Foreign Relations, Paris office, Mr. Ricardo Alcaro, Researcher, Istituto Affari Internazionali, Rome, Ms. Aziliz Gouez, Researche Fellow, Notre Europe, Paris with their interesting introductions provoked lively two hour discussion about Think Tanks and the EU enlargement. The discussion was moderated by Mr. Mario Gioannini, EFB Steering Committee Chair, and Head for Operating Area Economic and Legal Research, Compagnia di San Paolo. The perfect closure for the day was “Evidence Based Policy Analysis” by Prof. Alberto Martini, University of North Eastern Piedmont, Turin, who presented the major influences on public policy, interests, ideology, information, and answered the question how to properly measure the policy effects.

The second part of the event consisted of trainings provided by Ms. Branka Andjelkovic and Ms. Malgorzata Markiewicz, CASE-Centre for Social and Economic Research, Poland.

After the event all selected organizations are starting with their project researches. Their projects will be focused on analysis and case studies of the in-country policies against the needs and requirements derived from the EU acquis, necessary to ensure effective and complete compliance and, based on their research, they will develop concrete policy proposals, policy advice or policy options.

The research period within the project should not exceed 6 months and it should be conducted in the period of December 2009 and July 2010. Final papers should be submitted in August 2010.