On November 22, the Balkan Civil Society Development Network (BCSDN) in cooperation with the Balkan Trust for Democracy (BTD) and the German Marshall Fund (GMF) Brussels office organized a policy workshop entitled “Civil Society Lost in Translation? Donor Strategies and Practices in Support of Civil Society Development in the Balkans”.
The workshop launched the research findings of a study conducted in cooperation with the University of London on strategies and practices by donors working in the Balkans, including the European Commission. Tanja Hafner Ademi, the Executive Director of BCSDN and Adam Fagan of the University of London presented the first findings and recommended further steps for effective support to civil society in the region.
The event was opened by Mr Michael Leigh, senior advisor, GMF Brussels and former director general, DG Enlargement of the European Commission. Leigh underlined the role of civil society as essential for a liberal democracy and said support from European institutions and organizations, particularly in the pre-accession period, is vital. He also added that with small amounts of financial assistance results can sometimes be more timely, effective, and meaningful.
Three panels addressed questions of building a sustainable civil society, the role of private European foundations, and how to achieve a balance between external support for civil society, and autonomy. Speakers included representatives of the European Commission and Balkan civil society organizations.