Europeanisation meets democracy from below: The Western Balkans on the search for new European and democratic Momentum (WB2EU)

Change Experts Group (CEG) has been established in November 2018 with the objective of becoming a regional platform of expertise in support to Western Balkan countries transition and their EU integration efforts.

We see how much potential our region has, but it is going through a rapid transition that often overtakes the capacities on the ground. With our joint expertise of people with decades of experience in various transitions across Europe and the region, we see gaps we need to mend in order to fully realize our countries’ potential. We believe that with targeted actions in certain areas we can ensure that these transitions remain positive.

CEG’s network of associates has been built over two decades through collaboration with top academics, practitioners, politicians and senior civil servants.

CEG’s offers advice to various actors involved in key decision-making processes in the region and beyond. The network possesses a wealth of lessons learned from various transitions worldwide, which can be translated into country-specific recommendations.

CEG key staff and associates have successfully been working in areas of:

  • EU accession
  • Good governance
  • Public Administration Reform
  • Inclusive policy making
  • Regional Cooperation
  • Democratic Institution Building

Venera Hajrullahu, Director, CEG

Holds the degree (European Studies Certificate) from European Institute of the University of Geneva [1989-1993] (Compulsory Modules: Law, Economics, Politics, History of the European Union + 1 Elective module: Regionalism in Europe).

Key qualifications: Expertise on matters of European Integration, especially in the Western Balkans context; Expertise on Public Administration Reform; Management of large contracts for multiple donors including re-granting of funds; Expertise on Civil Society Development; Experience advising highest level state officials on European Affairs; Experience as key note speaker, discussant, moderator or rapporteur in numerous Kosovo, regional and EU level conferences;
of Change Experts Group since November 2018. Established Change Experts Group LLC that brought together high level experts from Kosovo, the Western Balkans region and the EU. A network of associates built in over two decades of collaboration of top academics, practitioners, politicians and senior civil servants provides expertise to various actors involved in key decision making processes and specialises in democratic institution building, regional cooperation and EU accession.
Director of Kosovar Civil Society Foundation from February 2006 to September 2018. Took over the non-profit organization, as Executive Director to expand and manage its scope and role in Kosovo. Set up three main programs: The Civil Society Development Program, focused on creating an enabling environment for functioning of civil society; The European Integration Program, focused on increasing understanding on European Integration process and advancing the European agenda of Kosovo; and The Grant Giving Scheme, focused on supporting local CSOs in the field of democratization, active citizenship, transparency and accountability, gender and minority areas. Managed to: expand staff and secure funding for different programs for over 11 years now which have more than 100 projects re-granted; more than 50 Basic and Advanced Trainings delivered; run the European Integration School which now has over 1,100 alumni; published over 30 publications. The organization today in Kosovo represents an important voice in development of civil society and European affairs.

Bardha Tahiri Jelliqi, Research Associate, CEG

Bardha Tahiri Jelliqi is currently engaged in Kosovar Civil Society Foundation as an Expert in European Integration and Associate to Change Experts Group. Previous professional experience as a Senior Officer for EU Legislation in the Ministry of European Integration has provided her with a deep knowledge, possibility for direct contribution and involvement in the Kosovo’s integration processes as this experience consisted of developing, drafting and implementing mechanisms for checking Kosovo’s policies and legislation for its compliance with EU legislation, and advising other line institutions on aligning their policies and legislation with EU law. Being a certified trainer on EU legal harmonization, she was involved in supporting public officials through capacity building on harmonization with EU legislation and standards. That support was comprised of developing, drafting, planning and coordinating the professional support and trainings for all the line ministries and institutions in Kosovo.

Being part of the Kosovo’s Secretariat for the negotiations of Stabilization and Association Agreement has given her the best combination of experiences in coordinating institutions, following processes and advocating positions within the European Integration area.

In addition to the adequate experience, she holds an advanced Masters Degree (LLM) in European Law at the Katholieke Universiteit Leuven, and as a supplement to her knowledge and experience she attended many international trainings and conferences in EU-EI affairs/topics.

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