ENGAGE Fellowship Programme

The CEPS Engage Fellowship Programme

CEPS launched the ENGAGE Fellowship Programme with the support of the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE). This tailor-made Programme connects academic, civil society and think tank actors from Central and Eastern European and Western Balkans countries with EU-level policy debates. It consists of a one-year programme providing a set of trainings, study visits, public events and a policy brief writing exercise. It culminated in the active participation of the selected fellows in the 2018 CEPS Ideas Lab.

The CEPS ENGAGE Fellowship takes a Rule of Law approach to the policy domains of Rights, Security and Economics.

The CEPS ENGAGE Fellowship Programme is coordinated by the CEPS Justice and Home Affairs Unit and counts with the involvement of several CEPS Senior Research Fellows from this Justice and Home Affairs Unit (Mr. Sergio Carrera), the Economic Policy Unit (Ms. Cinzia Alcidi) and the Foreign Policy Unit (Mr. Steven Blockmans).

Selected members

For the period 2017-2018, five highly-qualified Fellowship members have been selected:

  • Ms. Petra Bárd, Visiting Professor, Central European University / Senior Researcher, National Institute of Criminology / Professor, ELTE School of Law, Budapest, Hungary
  • Mr. Fisnik Korenica, Senior Research Fellow, Group for Legal and Political Studies, Pristina, Kosovo
  • Mr. Marjan Nikolov, President, Centre for Economic Analysis / Docent, International Slavic University, Skopje, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • Ms. Małgorzata Szuleka, Lawyer & Researcher, Helsinki Foundation for Human Rights, Warsaw, Poland
  • Mr. Gjergji Vurmo, Programme Director and Researcher, Institute for Democracy and Mediation, Tirana, Albania


Please note that soon there will be an open call for applications. At this point, spontaneous applications will not be considered.



  • At 9 May 2017, a Welcoming Meeting was organised with the selected members of the CEPS ENGAGE Fellowship. The aim of this meeting was to get to know each other, exchange views on expectations and interests, and inform on practical arrangements.
  • From the 12-15 of June, CEPS organised a training week for the Fellowship members in Brussels. It consisted of lectures on EU policies, skills workshops on e.g. policy brief writing and research communication, meetings with EU policy makers, supervision of written outputs, and discussions on the research-policy nexus. Please find the training week programme here.
  • On the 14-15 September 2017 a Conference on The Rule of Law: Where are we heading? took place in Skopje, co-organised between CEPS and the Centre for Economic Analysis, and actively supported by all Fellowship members.  This international event brought together representatives from academia, think tanks, civil society and policy-making to take stock of where we are today and we are heading when it comes to the Rule of Law in Europe. These questions were assessed in the fields of Rights, Security and Economy in a number of expert panels, plenary sessions and keynote lectures. Particular attention was given to the situation in Central and Eastern Europe and the Western Balkans. This Event was co-organised between the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, the Centre for Economic Analyses (CEA) in Skopje. Please find the programme of the Conference here.
  • Further another Side-Event on The Rule of Law and Academic Freedom was organized on 13 October 2017 at the Central European University in Budapest. This event brought together representatives from academia to discuss the delicate relationship between the Rule of Law and academic freedom illustrated by the CEU affaire in Hungary. This event was co-organised between the Centre for European Policy Studies (CEPS) in Brussels, and CEU Legal Studies Department, Budapest. Please find the programme of the Event here.
  • A close-door Roundtable on Rule of Law backsliding: What Way Forward for the EU?, in collaboration with MEP Sophie In't Veld Office, took place in 22 January 2018 at the European Parliament premises. 
  • During the 2018 CEPS Ideas Lab (22-23 February 2018) the ENGAGE Fellows had the opportunity to receive comments on their research findings by high-level policy makers who gave their feedback on these policy papers from a rule of law perspective. The Programme can be downloaded here



The foreseen output of the CEPS ENGAGE Fellowship Programme is for all the selected members to produce a research-based Policy Paper and actively participate in the CEPS Ideas Lab 2018, as supervised by CEPS Senior Research Fellows and the CEPS team of editors. Throughout the Fellowship period, a tailor-made supervision process has been in place that supports the Fellowship members in selecting a policy relevant topic, carrying out the academic research, formulating policy recommendations and drafting and editing the Policy Paper. All Policy Papers have taken a Rule of Law approach to the respective topics.


Furthermore, an additional publication has been published following the preliminary reference sent by the Supreme Court of Ireland to the Court of Justice of the European Union on 12 March 2018.


To conclude, the fellows Petra Bárd and Marjan Nikolov produced two Blogs published in the Center for Economic Analyses (CEA) webpage (See: http://cea.org.mk/eu-powers-enforce-values-shares-member-countries-yet-eu-pre-accession/?lang=en#):

  • Rule of law backsliding in one Member State is an EU matter, by Petra Bárd; and
  • The ruling of the International Court of Justice should be the cornerstone of promoting European values in this asymmetric dispute between Greece and Macedonia, by Marjan Nikolov


Contact person

The CEPS ENGAGE Fellowship Programme is coordinated by Prof Sergio Carrera, Senior Research Fellow & Head of the Justice and Home Affairs Unit. 

Supported by a grant from the Foundation Open Society Institute in cooperation with the OSIFE of the Open Society Foundations