The European Fund for the Balkans was established in 2007 as a multi-year joint initiative of Robert Bosch Stiftung, the King Baudouin Foundation, the Compagnia di San Paolo and the Erste Foundation.

The Fund is designed to undertake and support initiatives aimed at bringing the Western Balkans closer to the European Union through grant-making and operational programs and as such is focused on individuals and organizations from the Western Balkans region. As a direct follow-up to the International Commission on the Balkans (2004-2006), the Fund embodies the “member-state building strategy” which includes the development of functioning state administrations and constituency-building as main priorities.

Working on its mission, during the period the Fund has been using different approaches within the four programs: (I) Practicing Europe – aimed at professional and administrative capacity-building of young government officials from the Western Balkans, (II) Experiencing Europe – in support of initiatives allowing youth in the Western Balkans to experience and learn about Europe, (III) Envisioning Europe – in support of individual and collaborative research and policy development projects in the Western Balkans, and (IV) Developing Policies for the Balkans – a policy research platform, promoting the European integration and the consolidation of democracies in the region. In addition, the Fund supported a number of initiatives of civil society organisations across the Western Balkans – fresh ideas and endeavours to accelerate the reform process and to promote public engagement on the road to EU integration.

As a result of the Fund’s programmatic efforts, a select set of talented and hard-working individuals from the region acquired new skills and gained insights in and first-hand knowledge of the EU countries’ administrative practices; organisational development of promising think tanks was supported and carried out, as were their research on European issues; leaning on the Fund’s hybrid, “local-European nature”, a non-partisan, regional platform of distinguished policy analysts was created for research and analysis of policies, from the perspective of the Western Balkan countries’ integration process; finally, the Fund has built a dynamic network of regional and European organisations and individuals, and set the stage for the members’ social and professional linkages.

After 2014, responding to the changes in the political environment, building on past results and lessons learned, the Fund is streamlining its work to three program areas – (I) Support to Policy Development, (II) Capacity Development and (III) Community Platform.

Quick Figures – 2007-2014

  • 3 flagship programs

  • 56 supported think tanks

  • 115 skilled government officials

  • 203 young leaders

  • 120 supported researchers

  • 30 international events

  • 5 books

  • 95 panel discussions

  • 35 group projects

  • 15 summer schools and academies

  • 70 policy papers

  • 20 surveys

  • 75 calls

  • 21 roadshow media events

  • 1 regional TV show, 3 seasons

  • 60 debates

  • 2 Balkan festivals

  • 3 online platforms

  • 1 SEE art exhibitions

  • 1 community conference

  • Approaching 7,000 Facebook page likes