Welcome to the WeBER podcast series of European Talks podcast, a new communication tool in the regional WeBER initiative context. Each podcast episode will be devised around a relevant public administration reform and civil society related topic in the region. With this series, we mainly target civil society, experts, government officials and external interested audience (rather than public). European Talks podcast is a short form conversation that aims to untangle difficult questions on various topics related to Serbia’s relations with the EU and its member states, by talking to experts, diplomats, and other relevant actors. Whether you are a researcher, a politician, or just genuinely curious about the topic, European Talks podcast will provide you with valuable ideas, answers as well as new questions. The producer is the European Policy Centre – CEP, a non-governmental, non-profit, independent think tank based in Belgrade. CEP is the coordinator of the WeBER initiative. Listen to European Talks on Google PodcastsApple PodcastSoundCloud, or on Spotify.

Episode XI: Pursuing More Deliberative Democracy and Citizen Participation: Where and How to Begin?

In this 11th episode of WeBER2.0 podcast, a special edition of European Talks focusing on the EU integration of the Western Balkans, host Miloš Đinđić, Programme Manager of the European Policy Centre, Belgrade, and WeBER Lead Researcher, welcomes a distinguished guest, Professor Kalypso Nicolaïdis. Professor Nicolaïdis is the Chair of Global Affairs at the EUI School of Transnational Governance in Florence, and her contributions to the field of International Relations and European integration are remarkable.

During this engaging conversation, Professor Nicolaïdis shares her extensive insights into various aspects of European integration, global affairs, and democratic theory. With her wealth of knowledge in these domains, she explores the relevance of citizens’ consultations and the role they play in WeBER’s initiatives. The Democratic Odyssey, a groundbreaking project, serves as a blueprint for our discussion, offering valuable insights into the future of citizen engagement in the Western Balkans.

Join us in this enlightening conversation as we delve into the exciting realm of democratic participation and its potential to shape the future of the Western Balkan region. We are delighted to have Professor Nicolaïdis on board for this inspiring episode.

Visit her website for more information:


Episode X: From Opinions to Impact: Experience in Implementing Deliberative polling in North Macedonia

In the tenth episode of WeBER Talks, we welcome Ms. Simonida Kacarska, Director of the European Policy Institute (EPI) in Skopje, a member of the Think for Europe Network and WeBER partner from North Macedonia.

With her extensive background in Politics and International Studies, Ms. Kacarska provided unique insights into the world of deliberative polling (DP) and its relevance in our region. Delving into her experience, we explore the inception and implementation of DP, uncovering valuable lessons and takeaways. Simonida highlights the vital resources necessary for successful DP endeavours, discussing the human, financial, and time-related aspects. She also sheds light on the key challenges that Western Balkan CSOs, think tanks and research organizations might encounter when embarking on their own DP journeys.

Discover how DP can lead to informed public opinion and affect advocacy in the region, ultimately influencing decision-makers.

To learn more about the work of EPI, please visit: www.epi.org.mk.


Episode IX: Building Bridges: The Role of ReSPA in Fostering Regional Cooperation for Better PAR

In this episode of WeBER Talks, we host Maja Handjiska-Trendafilova, Director of the Regional School of Public Administration (ReSPA), a regional organisation that supports PAR in the Western Balkans.

Ms. Handjiska-Trendafilova shares her extensive experience in the EU integration and regional cooperation processes, having worked on various policy areas, including the Regional Economic Area and Common Regional Market agendas. She discusses ReSPA’s approach to fostering regional cooperation and exchange, as well as the organization’s current initiatives, including the Regional CAF Centre, which aims to improve public services through quality management.

Join us for this insightful conversation on the importance of regional networking and cooperation in PAR and how ReSPA is contributing to this process in the Western Balkans. For more information about ReSPA, please visit their website at www.respaweb.eu.


Episode VIII: Fitting public administrations for new challenges through revamped EU standards

In this episode, recorded within WeBER2.0, our guest is Mr Gregor Virant, Head of SIGMA, an initiative of the OECD and the EU.

The Principles of Public Administration were developed by SIGMA in order to define requirements for a well-functioning public administration in each of the core areas. Now, SIGMA principles are being reformed themselves. Why and how? Milena Lazarević, European Policy Centre – CEP Programme Director and WeBER2.0 initiative Team Leader, talks about that in conversation with Gregor and discusses the lessons learned after many years of experience in the region.

Find out more about WeBER2.0 here: par-monitor.org.

Episode VII: The Digital Imperative in Administrative Reform

In this episode, recorded on the margins of the Third WeBER Regional “Citizens First” Conference, our guest is Admirim Aliti, Minister of Information Society and Administration of North Macedonia. In a conversation with Milena Lazarević, European Policy Centre – CEP Programme Director and WeBER2.0 initiative Team Leader, he reflects on North Macedonia’s Public Administration Reform Strategy’s achievements. While talking about them, he highlighted that countries should not perform reforms solely for the sake of the EU integration process but primarily for the citizens. Cyber-security issues of digitalized services and the necessity of utilizing the CSO’s potential for better policymaking were also discussed.

Episode VI: Taming corruption necessary for achieving a good public administration: What can CSOs do?

The countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe have been facing several different crises in recent years, which lead to, in some countries, the phenomenon of shrinking space for civil society, populist policies and authoritarian leaders. All this is interconnected with the raising the level of corruption, which is further related to the weakening of democracies, and as a consequence, we have reduced trust of citizens, non-functional and non-transparent public administrations and captured states. Setting the principle of citizens’ trust and the supreme value of democracy as the best path that humanity has discovered for building a successful society that has citizens in the focus, and which never reaches the goal but is constantly improving, Mr Ruslan Stefanov, Director of the Economics Program of the Center for the Study of Democracy (CSD) and manager of the CSD’s SELDI network reminds civil society that it is necessary to have responsible leaders at the top, independent institutions that control them, and governments willing to cooperate with civil society and experts.

Episode V: Common Assessment Framework: A way of making continuous improvements in Public Administration

For insightful discussion on the importance of QM tools such as CAF, advantages of its application, and experience of WB countries who are using it, we have the pleasure of welcoming Mr Thomas Prorok, Managing Director at the KDZ – Centre of Public Administration Research, and Head of the CAF Centre at the KDZ, who has hands-on experience in supporting the administration in the region in the CAF implementation. Mr Prorok is also WeBER Advisory Council member. He spoke with Milos Djindjic, WeBER Lead Researcher.

Episode IV: The smaller the states, the bigger the issues? Challenges of achieving good administration

“Smallness does not justify corruption,” said Professor Tiina Randma-Liiv, guest of the fourth WeBER Talks. She is a member of the WeBER Advisory Council as well as a Chair of Public Management and Policy at Tallinn University of Technology, Estonia. Currently, Professor Radma-Liiv also serves as a Vice Dean of the Faculty of Social Sciences and Member of the University Council. She spoke with Milos Djindjic, WeBER Lead Researcher, about how more attention must be given to the size of the state in the process of public administration reform.

Episode III: Long and Winding Road to professional civil service in the Western Balkans

In this episode, Long and Winding Road to professional civil service in the Western Balkans,  Jan-Hinrik Meyer-Sahling, Professor of Political Science at the University of Nottingham and a member of the WeBER Advisory Council and Lead WeBER Researcher, Milos Djindjic, discussed what lessons can be drawn from the EU member states and beyond.

Episode II: Policy planning on the road to the EU: The case of Montenegro

In the second episode, our guest is Zorka Kordic, Chief Negotiator for the EU Accession of Montenegro. Milena Lazarević, an expert on the topic of public administration, European Policy Centre – CEP Programme Director and WeBER initiative Team Leader, talked with her about the Montenegrin road to the EU and the role of policy planning, the WeBER initiative and why civil society must monitor the public administration reform process.

Episode I: En route to a better public administration: Why bottom-up pressure is necessary

In the first episode, our guest is Gregor Virant, Head of SIGMA (Support for Improvement in Governance and Management) is a joint initiative of the OECD and the European Union and former Minister of Public Administration of Slovenia. Milena Lazarević, an expert on this topic, of the European Policy Centre – CEP Programme Director and WeBER initiative Team Leader, talked with him about the SIGMA principles of public administration, the WeBER initiative and why civil society must monitor and involve in the public administration reform process. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Wbsfr-9NanQ&feature=youtu.be