EUVP Visit Story - Damir Nikočević
Are you considering applying for a EUVP visit? Ever wondered how EUVP programmes are organised and what their outcomes are? Follow the “EUVP visit stories”, featuring unique reports and testimonials from those who have joined us at the heart of the EU!
Today, we are pleased to present you the EUVP visit story of Mr Damir Nikočević, Development Coordinator at the Centre for Civic Education (CCE) in Montenegro who completed his virtual EUVP programme in July 2021.
My EUVP story started back in 2020, when I was nominated by the EU Delegation in Montenegro to participate in the programme. At that point, I already knew about the programme, as I had heard in the past about its positive outcomes from the former participants from my country. I was very grateful to the Delegation for this nomination.
Since in my professional capacity I have been dealing for a long time with issues of democratization and Europeanization of Montenegrin society, especially in the field of media, media freedom, media monitoring, democracy, political and election analysis, transparency and accountability of public institutions, most of the meetings of my virtual EUVP programme were dedicated to these topics.
Some other themes of discussions that I held concerned: the Montenegrin path to the EU, further perspectives within the framework of new enlargement negotiations methodology, media freedom in Montenegro and the Western Balkan countries, work of Reporters Without Borders with a focus on their research methodology, work of the European Committee of the Regions and the role of regional and local actors in the EU. Moreover, I was happy to further deepen my knowledge about the parliamentary cooperation between the EU and Montenegro.
Overall, the European Union Visitors Programme was a great and very useful experience. The conversations and the exchange of information and views on the future with several important decision-makers made me discover some new interesting facts concerning the functioning of the European Union and its institutions, which are not well known in Montenegro, as a country that is still outside the European Union.
My takeaways from this programme can be very valuable bearing in mind that I am a member of the Consultative Body (formed by the Government of Montenegro) which monitors and evaluates the implementation of the Strategy of Informing the Public on Accession of Montenegro to the European Union in 2019-2022. Communicating the process of European integration and activities within the negotiation chapters is extremely important given the large amount of disinformation and fake news that harm the European togetherness.
Although my EUVP visit was virtual, the contacts made were very valuable. New and extensive network of individuals and organizations dealing with topics of vital importance for relations between the European Union and Montenegro as a future EU member is crucial. The EUVP was extremely important in helping me in further work on internal reform process of Montenegro within the scope of my responsibilities. I deeply believe that Europe and the European Union, despite the many challenges they face, are still the best place to live. Democracy, human rights and equal opportunities are the foundation without which there is no progress!