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Briefing with the Populari Centre for Socio-Economic Studies, Sarajevo, May 2011

Sarajevo, Bosnia & Herzegovina– On May 12, 2011 Lana Pasic, Balkanalysis.com correspondent in Bosnia, conducted a briefing with Goran Tirak, a researcher and analyst with the Populari Centre for Socio-Economic Studies, at the think-tank’s headquarters in Sarajevo.

In the briefing, the present and future activities, projects and goals of the organization were discussed. Currently, Populari is involved with several larger projects, including De-construct and Good Neighbours, as well as a range of smaller research projects which are turned into newsletters. In addition to the current and upcoming activities of Populari, the briefing also included a discussion of issues relating to international involvement in Bosnia and Herzegovina.

In this regard, Mr Tirak, a former Research Fellow with the Centre for European Policy Studies in Brussels, also discussed the findings of his November 2010 policy paper for the CEPS, The Bosnian Hiatus: A Story of Misinterpretations. Discussing the role of the different PIC member countries (mainly EU states, the US and Russia), he pointed to the need for the OHR to be transformed into an EU body with a different scope of mission, as the OHR took away responsibility and accountability from the Bosnian leaders.

Mr Tirak also noted that since the OHR and EUSR are the same institution, a situation that sometimes has led to confusion, a possible separation of these two offices could clarify things and allow EU, US and other actors to use soft and hard power for influencing politics in Bosnia.

The Populari Centre for Socio-Economic Studies has been active since 2007, and utilizes a team of young local and international researchers to cover the social, economic and political issues in Bosnia. The main activities of Populari are research, based on which reports and recommendations are made. Their overarching themes are EU integration and the all-encompassing reforms in all sectors of life, from grassroots community level research to hard-profile political topics, at the national and international level. Populari seeks to continue being recognized as an independent center and to be a partner with all the actors in the society, and inspire a constructive dialogue.

Although Populari was established with the goal of researching the socio-economic issues affecting Bosnia, it has had to expand its range as these cannot be separated from political crises which impact all aspects of life. For example, the distribution of IPA funds in Bosnia is currently on hold, due to the lack of political agreement. Thus, Populari’s original focus was revised to include not only economic projects, but also political events and actors.

Balkanalysis.com is an American research and analysis firm that provides dedicated coverage of the Balkan and Eastern Mediterranean regions, in areas ranging from politics and security to economics and culture. It draws on the expertise of its broad network of field analysts and reporters representing a number of various countries and professional backgrounds.

Balkanalysis Briefings is a regular series in which correspondents of Balkanalysis.com, sometimes in affiliation with partner organizations, engage with representatives of companies, governmental institutions, non-governmental groups and other organizations professionally involved with the Balkan and Mediterranean regions in order to gain insight into issues, trends and other factors affecting present and future developments in the area. This process contributes to better analytical and prognostic research, allowing Balkanalysis.com to better serve its readers, while also providing Briefings partners an opportunity to make their products, services and goals better and more clearly known among those most actively involved with the region.

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