The European Fund for the Balkans
is a multi-year joint initiative of European foundations designed to undertake and support initiatives aimed at bringing the Western Balkans closer to the European Union through grant-giving and operational programmes and, as such, is focused on individuals and organisations from Western Balkan countries.
The European Fund for the Balkans is established in June 2007 as a multi-year joint initiative of European Foundations including the 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 programmes and as such is focused on individuals and organisations 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.
More specifically, the Fund’s objectives are:
- to encourage broader and stronger commitment to the European integration of the Western Balkan countries and societies;
- to strengthen the efforts undertaken by a range of stakeholders in this process with a view also to developing effective policies and practices in the region and in the EU and
- to support the process of member-state building as envisaged by the International Commission on the Balkans, in particular by building constituencies in the societies of Southeast Europe who will be offered an opportunity to experience and learn about Europe.
The Fund’s strategy is articulated along four main strands:
1. PRACTICING EUROPE
The European Fund for the Balkans initiates programmes that support the building and improving of the professional and administrative capacities and skills of young government officials from the Balkans in the EU integration process, with a view to:
- Building a new generation of politicians and civil servants with new visions and a regional outlook;
- Gaining practical experience in EU countries’ federal, state or municipal government agencies;
- Creating links between administrations in the region through individual networks and joint initiatives.
“Fellowship Programme for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans: Supporting Excellence and Leadership in Governance”
The general objective of the Programme is to contribute to the development of effective and efficient state administrations in the region by offering a tailor made fellowship and training programme for highly qualified young professionals from the highest ranking state authorities of the countries of the Western Balkans. Twenty civil servants from ministries from Western Balkans countries have been selected to spend a 3 month fellowship in Austria, Germany, Belgium, Italy, the Czech Republic, Slovenia or Poland.
The Programme started in April 2009 with an introductory seminar organised in co-operation with the University of Potsdam and included, apart from the institutional practice, a study visit to Brussels and a final evaluation seminar in June 2009.
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2. ENVISIONING EUROPE
The Fund provides support through programmes focused on individual and collaborative research and policy development projects as well as media outreach initiatives, with a view to:
- Supporting inclusive and evidence-based research and policy-making;
- Strengthening the think tank capacity in the Balkans or in the EU regarding Balkan issues;
- Bringing EU integration into public perception;
- Linking emerging policy institutes from the Balkans with EU-based think tanks;
- Stimulating regional exchanges and transfer of know-how within the wider region.
“THINK AND LINK” – Regional Policy Programme for Think Tanks and Policy Institutes
In response to the need of fostering different debates on the challenges, costs and opportunities of genuine EU member-state building through-out the region the Fund launched the first of its annual policy programme: “THINK AND LINK” – Regional Policy Programme for Think Tanks and Policy Institutes in March 2008. The programme seeks to foster inclusive and evidence-based policy making in the Western Balkans by initiating research projects on the chosen annual programme topic, embedded in a regional seminar programme cycle.
The results of the research on the topic “Environmental policy in the Western Balkans – policy legacies, current institutions and European standards” were conducted by six research teams from Belgrade, Pristina, Skopje, Split and Tirana selected in the first programme cycle 2008/2009.
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3. EXPERIENCING EUROPE
With the aim of promoting European values in future generations, the Fund undertakes and supports initiatives allowing young generations in the Western Balkans to experience and learn about Europe, with a view to:
- Addressing opportunities that exist for young people to play an active role in contributing to the development of the Balkan region;
- Serving as catalisators for emerging positive change makers and leaders in the Balkan societies;
- Encouraging the spirit of co-operation by identifying new connecting issues for young generations in the region and the EU;
- Creating a network of ‘young ambassadors’ of the region.
Southeast Europe and the EU – Leadership Development Programme (LDP)
In an effort to support the integration process in Southeast Europe, the TRANSFUSE Association, the College of Europe and the European Fund for the Balkans are organising an annual Leadership Development Programme for young people from Southeast Europe, as well as broader Europe, who aspire to play an active role in the future of their countries.
The Programme runs over a ten-month period and aims to transmit knowledge about the EU and its relation to the region, to stimulate the leadership and professional skills of participants and to encourage an exchange of views. Underlying the project is the belief that the driving force for the continuation of the political, social and economic reform and transition process are qualified young professionals with international experience.
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4. SUPPORTING POLICY DEVELOPMENT
With the aim of contributing to informed policy maknig in the Western Balkans, all on the road toward EU integration, the Fund supports initiatives and partnerships with a view to:
- accelerating the reform process in the societies of the region
- creating synergies and multiplying the impact thorugh innovative approaches
- promoting increased public engagement
- supporting decisive leadership models
Gallup Balkan Monitor
In partnership with Gallup Europe, the European Fund for the Balkans developed the “Gallup Balkan Monitor”, which aims at providing all-encompassing data on people’s perceptions in the Western Balkans region, creating thereby a one-stop shop that delivers strategic insights based on evidence-based social research in the region.
This unique survey is expected to help measure and assess the impact of EU and national policies in the Balkans and to assist leaders in shaping their agendas by permitting timely access to their constituents’ voices and minds. It is also the first-ever in-depth survey of the whole Western Balkans region.
The results of the first research were presented in Brussels in November 2008. In order to promote and widely acknowledge the results of the Gallup Balkan Monitor a series of presentations and public discussions are organised in the capitals of Western Balkan countries. (http://www.balkan-monitor.eu/)
This programme was closed in 2011.
From 2012 Supporting Policy Development outgrows into a platform which seeks to serve policy researchers, think tanks, NGO’s, and governments, who are interested to be engaged in the policy developments and the EU integration process in the Western Balkans. The programme aims to facilitate the transfer of knowledge and expertise based on the evidence based approach for addressing complex societal challenges the countries of the region are facing on their way to EU membership.
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The European Fund for the Balkans issues calls for proposals that seek to generate innovative and promising ideas from people and organisations from the Western Balkans. Unsolicited proposals are not accepted. The Fund supports projects that are in line with its priority programme areas by issuing calls for proposals throughout the year.
PUBLIC PRIVATE PARTNERSHIP
The venture is designed to engage not only European funders already active in the Balkans, but also public and private donors who have not worked in the region until now, or wish to leverage their own funding and increase its impact.
The Fund is managed under the authority of a Steering Committee, which is responsible for the strategic orientations of the Fund and oversees the work of the Secretariat. The Steering Committee is the official decision-making body of the Fund. Each of the foundations constituting the Fund has one representative on the Steering Committee.
The Belgrade-based Secretariat, led by the Executive Director serves as the headquarters for the Fund.
An independent Advisory Board including senior experts and policy makers is guiding the Fund’s strate-gic development.
The Fund is currently hosted by the Network of European Foundations – NEF (Brussels) which provides legal and administrative assistance.
The Fund – Secretariat
The Secretariat of the European Fund for the Balkans is based in Belgrade, from where it covers the Fund’s activities throughout the region of the Western Balkans.
It is run by a small but experienced staff, who actively seek out and incorporate expertise from a wide variety of sources, as well as experts to add to their numbers.
Senior Programme Manager
The Fund – Steering Committee
The Fund is managed as a separate entity under the authority of a Steering Committee (SC) that oversees the project as a whole. Each foundation appoints one representative and a substitute to the SC. The latter draws the strategic orientations of the Fund and oversees the work of an Executive Secretariat ad-ministering the Fund’s activities.
The Steering Committee is operating based on a 12 month rotating Chair, appointed from the founding partners.
Steering Committee Chair:
Sandra Breka, Head of Berlin Office, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Steering Committee members:
Nicolo Russo Perez, Program Manager, Compagnia di San Paolo
Marzia Sica, Program Manager, Compagnia di San Paolo
Joachim Rogall, Head of Department, International Relations Central and Eastern Europe, Stuttgart Office, Robert Bosch Stiftung
Gerrit Rauws, Director, King Baudouin Foundation
Fabrice de Kerchove, Project Manager, King Baudouin Foundation
Knut Neumayer, Programme Director, ERSTE Stiftung
Franz Karl Prüller, Programme Director, ERSTE Stiftung
The Fund – Advisory Board
The Advisory Board of the European Fund for the Balkans is a body composed of individuals with unique knowledge and skills who provide non-binding but informed guidance to the programme development.
The Advisory Board is expected to play a dual role in relation to the Fund: on one hand the Advisory Board is the primary source of expertise that can be drawn upon to lead the Fund’s activities, on the other, Advisory Board members play an important public relations role acting as “ambassadors “of the Fund.
Advisory Board Members:
Mr. Giuliano Amato
Former Prime Minister of Italy
Mr. Wolfgang Ischinger
Global Head, Government Affairs, Allianz SE
Mr. Erhard Busek
Special Co-ordinator, Stability Pact for SEE
Ms. Valdete Idrizi
Director, Community Building Mitrovica
Mr. Goran Svilanovic
Former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Serbia and Montenegro
Mr. Osman Topcagic
Director of the Directorate for European Integrations of Bosnia and Herzegovina
Mr. Ylli Cabiri
President, Human Development Promotion Center, Tirana
Ms. Vesna Terselic
Director, Documenta – Center for Dealing with the Past, Zagreb
Mr. Ivan Krastev
Chairman, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia
Mr. Jacques Rupnik
Director of Research at the Centre d’Etudes et des Recherches Internationales (CERI), Sciences-Po, Paris
Mr. Giovanni Ravasio
Former Director General, Economic and Financial Affairs (DGII)
Mr. Ivan Vejvoda
Executive Director, Balkan Trust for Democracy, Belgrade