Will Europe pass the acid test?

Ivan Vejvoda becomes Permanent Fellow at IWM and launches multi-year project to examine the future of the EU, developed jointly with ERSTE Foundation

Europe is facing tremendous challenges. Liberal democracy is being put to the test both from within and from outside. In addition to the advance of populist parties and the rise of nationalist tendencies, exit plans – see Brexit – jeopardise the stability and future of the European project. To be able to treat the symptoms of the crisis, it is necessary to thoroughly analyse the problem, says political scientist and Balkan expert Ivan Vejvoda. Starting in 2017, Vejvoda will lead a three-year research project at the Vienna Institute for Human Sciences (IWM). The initiative, which has been developed with ERSTE Foundation, is entitled “Europe at Risk?”.

“Europe is currently undergoing a crucial historical phase and challenge, making it more important than ever to strengthen democratic structures and promote civil-society engagement,” said the Belgrade-born political scientist Ivan Vejvoda. A long-time member of ERSTE Foundation’s Advisory Board and newly appointed Permanent Fellow at the Institute for Human Sciences, he is convinced that the tradition and many years’ experience of both institutions in analysing and supporting democratic political and social developments provide the ideal foundation for this endeavour. In addition to awarding research fellowships, the aim is to encourage dialogue, research and policy exchange with partner European individuals and institutions and importantly also beyond the borders of Europe. New forums are to be added to established discussion formats such as the Vienna Seminars, Berlin Process and Debating Europe.

In his previous position as Senior Vice President of the German Marshall Fund of the United States in Washington, Vejvoda gained a reputation as an experienced programme director. Before that, he headed the GMF’s Balkan Trust for Democracy project, which is dedicated to strengthening democratic institutions in South Eastern Europe. He was senior advisor on foreign policy and European integration to Serbian Prime Ministers Zoran Đinđić and Zoran Živković and a key figure in the Yugoslavian opposition movement of the 1990s.