Press Room

Media Release

Launch of the European Fund for the Balkans

12. January 2012

 SARAJEVO (June 18th 2008) – For the first time four of the largest European Foundations – among them ERSTE Foundation – have come together to establish a new funding programme in the Western Balkans.

The European Fund for the Balkans, a multi-million-Euro joint venture has been established by the Compagnia di San Paolo, ERSTE Foundation, the King Baudouin Foundation and the Robert Bosch Stiftung with the goal of undertaking and supporting initiatives aimed at bringing the Western Balkans closer to the European Union.

“The European Fund for the Balkans works in direct continuation of the findings of the International Commission on the Balkans by reaching out to the citizens of the Western Balkan countries and thereby creating the pro-European constituencies these societies need for their future”, says Giuliano Amato, former Italian Prime Minister and Chair of the International Commission on the Balkans (2004-2006). Today, the Fund is celebrating its regional launch with a public panel discussion on "The Balkans in Europe’s Future" featuring Giuliano Amato, former German Federal President Richard von Weizsäcker, former Serbian foreign minister, Goran Svilanovic, former Bosnian Prime Minister, Zlatko Lagumdzija, as well as young leaders from the Balkans, in a debate moderated by Nik Gowing. The audience includes distinguished guests as high level state officials from the region, representatives of international organisations, media and civil society organisations, as well as representatives of academia. Miroslav Lajcak, High Representative and EU Special Representative will welcome the guests in Sarajevo.

To pursue its goals, the Fund develops grant-making and operational programmes, focusing thereby on supporting the improvement of public administrations in the countries of the Western Balkans and offering an opportunity to a wide range of organisations and individuals from these societies to experience and learn about the European Union. The first initiative launched by the Fund is a “Regional Policy Programme for Think Tanks and Policy Institutes – Think and Link”, which seeks to foster inclusive and evidence-based policy making in the field of environment in the Balkans, involving organisations from the region in a research and seminar programme cycle. One of the future activities of the Fund will focus on supporting excellence and leadership in governance through its “Fellowship Programe for Young Government Officials from the Western Balkans”. The European Fund for the Balkans is open to other private and public donors. The venture is designed to engage not only European funders already active in the Balkans, but also public and private donors who have not worked in the region until now, or wish to leverage their own funding and increase their impact.

The European Fund for the Balkan’s Secretariat is based in Belgrade, Serbia.


For more information, please contact:

European Fund for the Balkans Secretariat

Address: Resavska 35, 11000 Belgrade, Serbia

Tel./fax: +381 (0)11 30 33 662