FEPS Newsletter 1 Sept 2023 – We are back!

📅 FEPS Newsletter: we are back!
Western Balkans, gender, Sahel, employment, care and much more
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Upcoming Events
Returning to work after the summer holidays is more appealing with the exciting rentrée agenda the FEPS team has prepared for you!

This summer, we travelled, in-person and with our minds. We went to the Western Balkans and got back with a fresh ‘Balkan Focus’ series: a dive into the current political developments of this region. As much as we like to look at their present and future, these countries have a past to learn from.

In the following days, among other activities, we’ll host public events on Sahel, care economy and AI in the workplace. Join us and stay tuned, many more will be announced soon!
The new Balkan Focus series provides background analyses on current political developments in the Western Balkan countries and the debate and process of European enlargement.

The policy briefs are published in cooperation with Centro Studi di Politica Internazionale (CeSPI) and Karl Renner Institut, in synergy with the Friends of the Western Balkan (FoWB) project.

The EU needs to reassess its regional engagement and provide a credible enlargement path for the Western Balkans.

What are the challenges and geopolitical shifts impacting the EU enlargement process for the Western Balkan (WB6) region? This policy brief also underlines the importance of including the WB6 in the EU for European security and stability at large. Read more.
Perspective on staged accession
By Sabrina De Silva

Find here a timely analysis of the most relevant proposals – developed both within the European institutions and by independent research centres – on the staged accession methodology for the EU Enlargement process toward the Western Balkans.

This policy brief also includes a summary of the discussion held at the network meeting of Friends of the Western Balkans in June 2023. It highlights the strengths and weaknesses of the proposal developed during the discussion. Read more.
Dive down into Montenegro’s recent political history. From the loss of Milo Djukanović, leader of the Democratic Party of Socialists, in favour of Jakov Milatović, leader of the ‘Europe Now!’ Movement, to the consequences of this loss for the country’s commitment to EU values and its application for the European Union membership. Read more.

Stay tuned! Three more policy briefs of the ‘Balkans Focus’ will be published soon.
25-26 August – Korčula, Croatia
What lessons can we learn from the Balkan conflicts of the ’90s? Through a gender lens, we looked at this region hoping to find guidance for resolving the ongoing crisis in Ukraine.

Initiated in 2012, the Korčula School brings together women and men political leaders from centre-left and social-democratic parties, experts, political activists and feminists, especially from South Eastern Europe, to discuss gender equality issues.

Among the speakers that took part in the debate were Ann Linde, former Minister for Foreign Affairs for Sweden; Zita Gurmai, PES Women President; Maria João Rodrigues, FEPS President; László Andor, FEPS Secretary General; Knut Fleckenstein, FEPS Special Advisor on Western Balkans; and Laeticia Thissen, FEPS Senior Policy Analyst on Gender Equality.

📕Women in the Western Balkans were also the focus of our policy studies on the implementation of gender mainstreaming and women’s political participation.

Are activation policies aimed at removing barriers to employment and strengthening the connection between social protection and work life? Their purpose, and effectiveness have been subject to an ongoing debate. Critics argue that it can serve as a disguise for deregulation policies.

This study reviews the nature of activation reforms in National Recovery and Resilience Plans and observes that the Recovery and Resilience Facility helped trigger, or even amplified, essential welfare recalibrations. Read more.

In 2023, the Sahel crisis entered its twelfth year and took on a worrying new dimension and the new dynamics in place seem to have challenged Europe’s ability to act.
On this occasion, together with Fondation Jean-Jaurès and Istituto Affari Internazionali, we will analyse the implementation by the EU of its Integrated Strategy 2021 for the Sahel. With an approach based on true partnership and equality, we will examine the challenges and opportunities of the new regional context.
6 September – Online

Do you know how much the need for care is projected to grow with the EU’s population ageing?
According to projections, the total age-dependency ratio could accelerate acutely and is expected to reach 76.1% by 2050.

Our next
policy lunch of the Care4Care series, organised with Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung and the European Public Service Union, will discuss the importance of recognising care as a priority for EU sustainable investments.

If well managed, the care economy can generate positive economic impacts and become a major vector for sustainable growth

Led by machines
21 September – Stockholm, Sweden
With the computer revolution, the workplace has seen a rapid introduction of digital technologies for gig work, remote work, surveillance, and algorithmic management of workers.
This public launch of the FEPS-Nordics Digital Programme on Algorithmic Management and Workers’ Rights will bring together researchers, policymakers, trade unionists and other stakeholders from the Nordic countries to discuss the effects of digital tech on the nature of work itself across the labour market.
The wheels are coming off
By László Andor
Frans Timmermans has stepped down as executive vice president of the European Commission. Margrethe Vestager is expected to become the president of the European Investment Bank, and Jutta Urpilainen is going to join the competition to become Finland’s new president.
These commissioners used to be political heavyweights in their home countries before moving to Brussels, which was certainly good for Europe. But due to their simultaneous departure more than one year before the end of the mandate of this Commission, added by the constant speculation about Ursula von der Leyen preparing for Jens Stoltenberg’s succession at the helm of NATO, the Commission’s leadership capacity is dramatically dropping. It gives the impression of the wheels coming off, and that the achievements of this cycle on major policy fields could remain incomplete. Read more.
Photo credits: Shutterstock/ Alexandros Michailidis
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