The European Fund for the Balkans together with its Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) and Engaged Democracy Initiative (EDI) organised a panel discussion about the civic movements potential and its role for democratisation of our societies. The event was also an occasion to present the BiEPAG brief “Unleashing the Potential for Change through Social Movements and Civic Initiatives” (Authors: Vedran Džihić, Marika Djolai, Jelena Vasiljević and Alida Vračić).
A proliferation of civic initiatives and protests focusing on a variety of issues, motivated by and ranging from the destruction of urban space, environmental devastation, to corruption scandals took place across the region over the past years. They showed that many citizens are deeply dissatisfied with the lack of accountability of the ruling elites and are ready to actively engage in their communities. Whereas their success has varied, the latest environmental protests in Serbia have proved the tangible and specific issues that affect the daily lives of citizens, still have a high mobilization potential to enhance citizens’ sense of agency. Besides, environmental issues cut the ethnic and national divides and demonstrate a strong ability to unify people across the region in their fight for a better environment.
The panel was an opportunity to discuss these and other issues, drawing on the recent Policy Brief published by the BiEPAG - Unleashing the potential for change through social movements and civic initiatives. The paper is examining and presenting civic activism as dynamic force in addressing citizens’ needs: stemming from economic, legal, environmental, or social problems and uncertainties, and points the lack of political will and institutional capacities to address them. Authors are BiEPAG members: Vedran Džihić, Jelena Vasiljević, Marika Djolai and Alida Vračić. The brief is based on a public opinion poll carried out in all countries of the Western Balkans in 2020 and 2021.
Given the unfavourable epidemiological situation with Covid-19 and the imperative of ensuring the safety of all participants, the panel was envisaged as a small in-person event for around twenty selected participants, where all epidemiological protective measures prescribed by the authorities were followed. The discussion was livestreamed at the European Fund for the Balkans You Tube Channel
Read the overview from the event
Read the interview with Vedran Džihić at European Western Balkans.
Unleashing the potential for change through civic movements and initiatives - What can the latest developments in Serbia tell us
Tuesday, January 25th, 2022
11.00 – 12.30
Venue: Yugoslav Film Archive (Kinoteka), Uzun Mirkova 1, (1st floor)
Vedran Džihić, Austrian Institute for International Affairs, Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group
Marina Pavlić, Kreni Promeni Initiative
Miran Pogačar, Activist
Bojana Selaković, Civic Initiatives
Moderator: Filip Lukić, Journalist