I have been absent from these pages for a long time now :-(. The preparation of the Balkan Peer Exchange for think tanks and advocacy organizations in Belgrade that starts on Tuesday next week has been one of the main reasons for my silence. Now, i could proudly say that with more than 70 participants, 10 different donors, 10 speakers from other regions, the exchange is ready to ‘rock’n’roll’ :-).
As a taster I provide you some of the questions we will ask to Ivan Krastev in his key-note address.
The current economic crisis has exposed the deep gaps in the political governance of the European Union and the surrounding countries that belong to the continent. The general population has lost trust in the liberal elites to govern their countries and the European Union. This has prompted an upsurge in populist politics and a rise in extremist parties, and has undermined expertise-based politics (despite some expert governments such as in Italy). Under such circumstances, it is not only the political and policy arenas that are changed, but the entire perception about the role of think tanks and civil society organizations. In the Western Balkans, the value of these organizations has already been questioned for quite some time. In a time when the EU accession agenda is waning and economic stagnation will certainly linger for a while, few societies have a vision on how to move forward. Talking to Ivan Krastev, we hope to learn more about where think tanks and advocacy organizations are positioned in their societies, what they are doing and what they should be doing?
Q1: Europe has changed and is changing as we speak. What are the key changes in ‘old Europe’ that have affected governance ( both political and economic) within EU and beyond its borders?
Q2: How this change has affected / will affect the think tanks / analysts in the EU?
Q3: And, how the changes affect Western Balkans? Where do they place policy analysis and think tanks and NGOs as one of the key ‘independent’ aspirants to influence the policy processes?
Q4: What is the biggest opportunity ( every crisis brings opportunities J) and what is the biggest threat for civil society (specifically advocacy organizations and think tanks) in the Western Balkans?
All of you not there follow the web-streaming on the specially dedicated Facebook page.
Tomorrow, more about the other debates to follow at the event