The second joint seminar in the frames of the Western Balkans Fellowship Programme at the Austrian Parliament which is funded by the Austrian Parliament and realised in cooperation with the European Fund for the Balkans was held in Vienna from April 14 to April 18th, 2024.

The seminar gathered the fellows from the third and the fourth generation of the fellowship programme which was designed for civil servants working in the administrations of the national parliaments in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia.

This parliamentary staff scholarship program was established in 2019 by the Austrian Parliament and the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) in order to strengthen parliamentary democracy in the Western Balkans. The programme enables the parliamentary staff from the WB6 countries to become familiar first hand with the parliamentary work in Austria, during a six-week on-site visit, and to become involved and cooperate in various spheres. It offers a unique opportunity to gain knowledge about the operations and practices of the Austrian Parliament as well as to observe and to learn from the administrative staff and professionals about the different aspects of their work.

The joint seminar rounds up the whole learning experience and exchange of know-how with an extensive agenda of on-site visits, teambuilding sessions and meetings with the parliamentary groups for the respective countries.



After the welcome visit to the office of the Secretary General of the Austrian Parliament, Mr.Harald Dossi, the Fellows had an opportunity to meet with officials from different institutions like the House of European Union, the Court of Auditors, the Austrian Ombudsman Board, European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights, Austrian National Council and the Federal Ministry of European and International Affairs, as well as discussions with the MP's of the Parliamentary Bilateral Groups for the Western Balkans.


In the frames of the seminar the Fellows were hosted at the ERSTE Stiftung Foundation which was also one of the partners for the launch of the pilot edition of the programme in 2019. The meeting and discussion with Franz Karl Prüller, advisor to the Managing Board of ERSTE Foundation and EFB’s Steering Committee Board Member was followed by a presentation of ERSTE FLiP Experience program for financial education of young people. As an add on to the versatile agenda, BiEPAG Member Vedran Dzihic presented the work of our Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group and had a discussion with the Fellows about the EU integration process and state of play in their countries, regional cooperation, migration, and the importance of strong institutions.