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Unrest in Serbia after elections and attack on LGBTIQ+ centre

Photo: The Pride centre in Belgrade after an attack in May 2023 - Wikimedia Commons It is unsettled in Belgrade, Serbia. Large-scale protests have been taking place weekly since the 17 December elections. The results are being questioned due to alleged fraud and other disturbances. In addition, the LGBTQ+ community still suffers from exclusion [...]

"Super election year 2024": what is the FMS looking forward to?

Photo: Mohamed Hassan/ PxHere 2024 is also being called the election year by political analysts. People in more than 70 countries will be allowed to cast their votes which amounts to 3.7 billion people, almost half of the total world population. Just because elections are organised does not automatically mean they are democratic. In some elections, the winner is [...]

China's growing influence in Europe's backyard

Photo: Construction of a bridge over the Morača Valley, Montenegro, as part of the Bar-Boljare highway - Wikimedia Commons China has been pushing for some time to become the new global superpower. The Belt and Road Inititave been part of this expansion drive. China is keen to expand its global footprint and [...]

EU mission to Bosnia needs not symbolic gestures, but structural change 

Photo: Main street in Sarajevo - Srebrenica is still a point of polarisation in the country (created by Renée Spees) In early October, the Bosnian Serb parliament voted in favour of a bill on compulsory registration of non-governmental organisations (NGOs) with foreign backers in a special register managed by the Ministry of Justice. The so-called 'foreign-agent law' provides the Republika Srpska [...]

Turkey's 'secular decline'

Photo: Statue of Atatürk looks down on a meeting of Erdogan - Wikimedia Commons Last week marked Turkey's 100th birthday. On 29 October 1923, national hero Mustafa Kemal Atatürk founded the Republic of Turkey, a secular state built on the ruins of the Ottoman Empire. However, the celebrations have been scaled down, leaving many [...]

Does EU enlargement mean a new wave of brain drain?

Photo: Wikimedia Commons With the prospect of several eastern and south-eastern European countries joining the European Union, the question arises as to what this means for internal migration within the EU. The idea is that joining the EU would boost national economies by making them part of the single market. [...]

'Political campaign development' training in Montenegro

From 22 to 24 September and from 6 to 8 October, FMS, in cooperation with SDP Montenegro, organised two three-day trainings on "political campaign development". The trainings were aimed at members and supporters of the Social Democratic Party. The party is in dire straits and managed to win zero seats in the last parliamentary elections. SDP [...]

Netherlands still pushes stick for Schengen membership Bulgaria

Photo: Border crossing between Romania and Bulgaria near Lom - Wikimedia Commons Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia were all set to join the Schengen zone, which allows free movement of people and goods between members, on 1 January 2023. However, in November 2022, the Netherlands and Austria vetoed the accession of Bulgaria, Austria as [...]

The 16th edition of the social democratic 'Summer Camp' in northern Macedonia

In northern Macedonia, Foundation Max van der Stoel is working with the Progress Institute for Social Democracy, an institute affiliated to the Social Democratic Union of Macedonia (SDSM). As Macedonia has resumed its journey towards democracy and EU accession after a parliamentary crisis in 2017, it is important that international partners continue their support. Partly [...]

Visit from the Balkans

  On Tuesday 3 July, Foundation Max van der Stoel was visited by prominent members of social democratic parties from Southeast Europe who were in The Hague for a working visit focused on political integrity, at the initiative of the North American National Democratic Institute (NDI). The Southeast European attendees included NDI staff, party officials, and councillors from the [...]