European Fund for the Balkans
Promoting International Young Leaders

European Fund for the Balkans

As the first of the Balkan countries, Croatia became a member of the European Union in 2013 – but also Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are integrated in the association process. To support the countries of the Western Balkans in this process, the Robert Bosch Stiftung together with the ERSTE Foundation, Vienna, the King Baudouin Foundation, Brussels, and the Compagnia di San Paolo, Turin launched a European Fund for the Balkans (EFB).

The fund follows the recommendations made by the International Commission on the Balkans initiated by the Robert Bosch Stiftung. It had stated that the development of functioning government agencies must be supported and that a pro-European public is an important requirement for the integration of the region into the European Union. As a neutral platform for innovations, the fund has been supporting this process through trainings of young professionals in public administration and the development of regional expertise in policy research and advocacy.

The program pillar “Policy development” concentrates on activities with Think Tanks and research organizations and aims at encouraging social and political debates about the further development of the region. The “Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group” is comprised of experts from the EU and the Western Balkan countries, which work together to develop and publicly present recommendations for political decision makers. The group’s research focuses on the enlargement policy of the EU, the democratization process and the economic development of the region. The program “Think and Link” provides means and methodological trainings for local Think Tanks, NGOs and other institutes to strengthen their capacity and to enhance regional co-operation and networking. More than 50 organizations have already participated in the program.

The „Fellowship Program for Young Government Officials“ is the key program of the fund`s pillar “Capacity building”. Every year 20 young employees of national ministries take part in a three-months fellowship program, which entails a working placement in a national ministry in a EU-country. Since 2008, 120 young employees of the Western Balkan have participated in the program, which is carried out in cooperation with the Potsdam Center for Policy and Management at the University Potsdam.

The „EFB Community“ is the third pillar of the European Fund for the Balkans. Through networking activities, past and current participants and partners of the EFB programs are brought together.

The fund’s office is located in Belgrad. The fund is active in Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia.

About the top image: The partners signing the agreement in Madrid in June 2007. Executive Director Dr. Ingrid Hamm and Dr. Joachim Rogall (second from right), head of the "International Relations Central and Eastern Europe" program area, were on hand representing the Robert Bosch Stiftung. Photo: Arteuno, Madrid.

Regional Opening of the European Fund for the Balkans in Sarajevo

The photo shows Giuliano Amato, former Italian prime minister and minister of the interior, during a discussion with Goran Svilanović, former Serbian foreign minister.
The regional event to commemorate the launch of the European Fund for the Balkans was held on June 18, 2008, in Sarajevo. A panel discussion was held which included former Italian prime minister Giuliano Amato, former Serbian foreign minister Goran Svilanović, and former Bosnian prime minister Zlatko Lagumdžija as members of the International Commission on the Balkans, which is supported by the Robert Bosch Stiftung, as well as aspiring young people from different countries in Southeastern Europe. Miroslav Lajčák, high representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina and EU special representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina greeted the guests from all of the region’s countries in Sarajevo, while the discussion was moderated by Nik Gowing from the BBC World Service. "The European Fund for the Balkans acts on the recommendations of the International Commission on the Balkans by appealing to the people of the countries of Southeastern Europe, and in doing so, helps create the pro-European following that these societies need for their future," said Giuliano Amato.