About this event


  • Marko Pankovski, ReThink.CEE Fellow, German Marshall Fund of the United States


  • Jovana Marović, Executive Director, Politikon Network


  • Daniel Hegedüs, Fellow for Central Europe, German Marshall Fund of the United States

The countries of the Western Balkans are increasingly subject to foreign authoritarian influence. Using new, sophisticated tools, authoritarian powers from outside the region have moved from a fringe and informal involvement to a sophisticated systemic presence that clashes with the EU-driven reform process and a European normative and institutional architecture. This trend was accelerated by the coronavirus pandemic, which added to the distance between the EU and the Western Balkans.

The often ad hoc and incoherent policymaking process in the Western Balkans countries suits authoritarian powers, which capitalize on unpredictable policy environments. The lack of coordination between various levels of government reduces the resilience of the countries in the region to the complex, multisectoral engagement of external authoritarian players. Lack of meaningful civil society involvement in policymaking also prevents regional governments from assessing the long-term strategic effects of policies and regulations. 

Could sound regulatory environment and good governance prevent further authoritarian influence in the region? What policy tools and governance mechanism could enhance the resilience of Western Balkans countries to authoritarian meddling? What role can civil society and civic innovation play in fostering good governance and in containing the influence of authoritarian powers?   

The German Marshall Fund of the United States is pleased to invite you to the presentation and discussion of a new policy paper that examines the above key questions. This event is part of the ReThink.CEE Fellowship, which was established by the German Marshall Fund of the United States in 2018. As Central and Eastern Europe faces mounting challenges to its democracy, security, and prosperity, the ReThink.CEE Fellowship supports next-generation thinkers and activists to conduct original policy research, to offer fresh thinking and perspectives, and to shape effective responses by the transatlantic community.