EU is More Relevant Now Than Ever in Balkans

In 2010, I took on the task of coming up with a strategy for the development of civil society and its role in the Western Balkans. After an inclusive process involving civil society, activists, think tanks, journalists, (not the NGO mafia and the usual suspects - the post conflict mushrooms, as I call them), I crafted a strategy. The main goal was to support reform in the Western Balkan states and enable civil society to play its proper role in their accession process.

Nine years on, the EU is even more relevant now than it was then to the people of Western Balkans.

The 2010 strategy I worked on focused on three areas: 1. Democratic development through free and fair elections, support mechanisms for transparent and accountable governance and participatory democracy through empowerment of citizens; 2. Sustainable development, to push policy reform that ensures transition from fossil fuel-based, corrupt and closed energy systems to green, renewable and democratic energy; and 3. Peace-building work, which encompasses and responds to a complexity of myths from the past and to hate stemming from the recent wars in the region.

The work planned to tackle the issue of peace-building at its roots: documenting the truth about what happened in the wars of the 1990s, and getting people to face up to their past and stop the denial of war crimes.

This strategy has been implemented through a unique "triangle" approach, of deep collaboration between grassroots, think tanks and investigative journalists - boots, brains and noses.

Clearly, many great people, institutions and interventions have contributed tremendously to moving the region forward over these years. But what I am proud of most is how many of the institutions that were part of that...

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