29. September 2017

The state of the public debate: Polarization at play?

by Anna Kristense Naterstad Berg Harpviken

anna-harpvikenA few years ago, a headline reading: Erdoğan calls Merkel’s stance on EU membership ‘Nazism,’ would have made me raise an eyebrow. Today, such headlines seem entirely normal. This makes me wonder about the development of our news, and in particular about the state of the public debate. It seems as if the debates have gotten harsher, the statements bolder and the headlines bigger. At the same time, people appear increasingly convinced that they are right – less interested in dialogue and reflection. As a student of psychology, with a particular interest in interactions between people and society, this development has both fascinated and frightened me over the last couple of years.

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31. August 2017

What to do about Turkey´s EU membership bid?

by Doris Manu

doris-manuNearly one year ago, Turkey faced a domestic crisis of international significance, which interrupted the summer holidays of many, including those of the country’s president, Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. While the all too powerful Turkish leader was the only target of the putschists in mid-July 2016, the consequences of the attempted coup affected far more people than anyone could have imagined.

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28. July 2017

We don’t need no education – Bosnia and Herzegovina’s higher education reform

by Hatidza Jahic and Adnan Rahimic

hatidza-jahic1-adnan-rahimic The word ‘reform’ is the most commonly used word in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). One way or another the country has been in some kind of reform process for the past 22 years. Reform became like a family member: we live with reform every day; we eat fruits and vegetables that are produced according to ‘reform’ instructions. The constant use of this word by politicians, teachers, family members and media create the sense that if you want to succeed in life, you have to reform.

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27. July 2017

The Western Balkans Summit in Trieste – Are the Balkans stuck in the EU’s waiting room post-Brexit?

by Hatidza Jahic and Miruna Troncota

hatidza-jahic miruna-troncotaIt’s been almost 15 years since the 2003 Thessaloniki promise of EU membership for the Western Balkans, and the countries in the region are still in the EU’s ‘waiting room’. The EU Commission’s ‘White Paper on the Future of Europe’, published on 1 March 2017 does not mention EU enlargement at all. In the context of the 2017 Western Balkans Summit in Trieste, the first one to be organised after the Brexit vote, Miruna Troncotă (Ro) and Hatidza Jahic (BiH) ask: Are the Balkans forever stuck in the EU’s waiting room?

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09. May 2017

Emmanuel Macron – a populist elitist?

by Enja Sæthren

Enja Sæthren NEWWe got lucky this time. France said no to xenophobia, closed borders and hatred by electing Emmanuel Macron as the next president of the French Republic with 66 % of the votes. The French refused to follow in the footsteps of the British and the Americans, but how confident can we really be that this was the last battle? Has the fight against right-wing extremism already been won?

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03. April 2017

Let’s do it: Integration

by Fiona Fritz

fiona-fritz

Closing borders, limiting immigration and a faster expulsion of criminal asylum seekers. These topics currently dominate the discourse on migration all over Europe. The numbers of people seeking refuge in Europe has been on the rise for the last 5-10 years. But since 2015 this topic is on the front pages of news outlets in Germany almost every single day. Merkel’s “Wir schaffen das!” (We’ll make it!) was met with scepticism by parts of the population and many politicians. In the recent debates, however, the issue of integration is too often neglected. This is partly due to the fact that ‘integration’ is a fuzzy and unclear concept. Who is responsible for integration? What does it mean to be integrated? In my opinion, integration requires time and effort by both the host societies and their new members.

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20. March 2017

The fog that never fades – welcoming the EU friend who never came

by Adnan Rahimić

1-adnan-rahimicIt was a sunny and beautiful day in Sarajevo on 2 March 2017.  The city was full of blue and yellow flags, signs of celebration from the day before – Independence Day. Flags were left hanging from buildings a day longer, probably on purpose – to gently sway and greet very important guest our country was about to receive: Federica Mogherini, High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Vice-President of the European Commission. Her visit to Sarajevo was part of her Western Balkan’s tour of countries that are EU member state candidates/candidates-to-be. The plan was to meet with the members of the government of Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), to talk about the country’s current issues and problematic path toward EU candidacy and also, to give a lecture on the same subject to the academic community of the University of Sarajevo.

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