Dear partners and friends of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom,
I hope you had a good start into the New Year. On behalf of the whole Freedom Team in East and Southeast Europe, I wish all of you a prosperous, peaceful and successful 2017. For us German liberals the New Year will bring three state (Saarland, North Rhine-Westphalia and Schleswig-Holstein) elections. In September the national parliamentary elections will be decisive also for the future of our Foundation. We have tried to help to lay solid foundations so that the coming challenges can be met with confidence. The freedom message is as powerful and attractive as ever, and I am very confident that German liberals will do well at the ballot box.
Before we look ahead, allow me to dwell a little on the past. “Re-shaping Europe” was the name of an international event, the Foundation organized in Berlin in December 2016. We were honoured to have there as keynote speakers: Joachim Gauck, the President of Germany. Moreover, many European liberals followed our invitation among them Xavier Bettel, Prime Minister of Luxembourgh; Miro Cerar, Prime Minister of Slovenia; Hans van Baalen, President of ALDE; Alexander Graf Lambsdorff (FDP), Vice President of the European Parliament (FDP); Christian Lindner, the President of the German liberal party, FDP; Ryszard Petru, Chairman of the Polish liberal party “Nowoczesna”; and many more. Apart from the release of a new FNF policy paper on the new initiative to re-shape Europe, also a new image film was presented to the public. Have a look at this short film, which represents what our Foundation stands for globally.
Also in our region, the future of Europe and the European Union were topics we addressed in 2016. In September, our Regional Office dedicated our annual consultation “Future of Freedom” to the future of Europe. In this playlist you can find many video quotes on the future of Europe from liberally minded partners in East and Southeast Europe. 2016 has left the world in turmoil with alarming declines of freedoms and breaches of human rights (see our Freedom Barometer), and threatened by the rise of authoritarianism, post-truth politics, outbursts of extreme nationalism and populism. Liberal democracies are weakening, while its underlying values are put into question. With this newsletter, I would like to share with you some of the highlights of our work in the last year.
2017 will be politically a very decisive year, with many changes in power and overarching challenges. The first to come is the inauguration of president-elect Donald Trump on January 20. President Trump has already promised drastic paradigm shifts which will have far reaching effects on NATO, the European Union and many bilateral relationships with the USA. Important elections are not only up-coming in Germany, but also in France and the Netherlands. New state leaders, who have just stepped into power, might be changing the course of international relations. As liberals, we are concerned about the future of Europe, our security and our freedom in general. FNF will firmly stay the course of promoting freedom, supporting the market economy, liberal democracy, human rights and the rule of law. I am glad to share some of the novelties. Since February 2017 we will have a new website under the roof of freiheit.org. This newsletter might be the last one for a while, due to the up-grading of our digital presence. The links from this newsletter will be valid only until the end of the month because of the website transfer. We will continue staying in touch with you- please follow us and get in touch with us via our Facebook Page, FreedomTV Europe Youtube Channel and our website.
Finally, I would like to thank you for your trust in FNF and I look forward to more interaction and co-operation in the coming months.
Dr Rainer Adam,
FNF East and Southeast Europe
Special Focus: FNF ESEE on Refugees and Migration
How Liberal Parties Can Counter the Populist Challenge? A Regional Workshop in Bulgaria
A regional workshop “How liberal parties can counter the populist challenge: the example of asylum, migration, integration and border security” took place on 15-16 Dec 2016. The purpose of this workshop was to equip participants with the toolbox to use effective political and communication strategy fighting the populist challenge successfully before, during and after elections.
Managing the Migration Crisis, Finding Liberal Answers- Visit to Brussels, Belgium
How could liberals contribute with their proposals towards opinion shapers to alleviate the refugee crisis? The final round of discussions on this topic which had started May in Lesbos/Greece and had moved along the Western Balkan Route via Sofia/Bulgaria to Belgrade/Serbia took place on November 29th in Brussels. Around 70 participants listened to the experts on two panels from politics and civil society.
The European Refugee Crisis: In Search for Liberal Answers – Visit to Belgrade, Serbia
In the third stop from the journey of European liberals along the Balkan Refugee Route, the group visited Belgrade. The participants had a chance to get a first-hand insight by visiting Krnjaca Refugee Facility and Miksaliste Refugee Aid Centre. At the closing World Café Session on “Responding to fears and developing creative solutions for integration” programme’s participants discussed possible liberal approaches.
The European Refugee Crisis: In Search for Liberal Answers – Visit to Sofia, Bulgaria
The second stop from the four-tier-project financed by the European Liberal Forum (ELF) and supported by FNF two regional offices took place in Sofia, Bulgaria. Around 20 participants from all across Europe had a chance to get a first-hand insight into refugee facilities, talk to state officials and civil society actors on the ground in Bulgaria. The journey, which stated in Greece, in search of liberal answers to the refugee crisis continued in Bulgaria, Serbia and Belgium.
The European Refugee Crisis: In Search for Liberal Answers – Visit to Lesbos, Greece
The European Liberal Forum’s (ELF) 2016 series “The European Refugee Crisis: Liberal Answers to Challenges on Land and Sea” kicked off with an emotionally as well as physically intense two-day workshop for liberal politicians and migration experts on the Greek island of Lesbos in May. This program is co-organized by two regional offices of FNF European Transatlantic Dialogue and Cooperation and FNF East and Southeast Europe.
Migration Forum in Southeast Europe Seeks Solutions
Over a hundred policy makers, politicians, academics, journalists, and activists gathered in Blagoevgrad, Bulgaria in April 2016, to participate in an international conference on migration. The conference “Migration Challenges in Southeast Europe: Policy Options for Building a Strong and Free Europe”, was organised by the Regional Office for FNF East and Southeast Europe, FNF Southeast Europe in close collaboration with the American University in Bulgaria, the Centre for Legal Aid – Voice in Bulgaria, and the Refugee Support Group.
Serbia: Refugees and the Open Society, Mikser Festival
The Regional Office of FNF ESEE together with Project Office of FNF Western Balkans, organized a roundtable on “Refugees and the Open Society” within the framework of Mikser Festival – a gathering of civil society activists, artists and politicians from Serbia and far beyond. Find some insights about refugees from the workshop panelists and participants.
Feature Topic: Future of Freedom Annual Consultation Europe- The End of a Dream?
Video Insights from the Future of Freedom Consultation on Europe
In the following playlist you can find 75 video insights on Europe from the Future of Freedom Annual Consultation for East and Southeast Europe:
1. Short video quotes:
– Europe: The End of a Dream?
– The European Union…?
– The Future of Freedom in Europe…?:
– The Freedoms of Tomorrow…?
– The Refugee Crisis in Europe…?
– The Impact of Brexit…?
– The European Values…?
– How can the liberals win back the minds and hearts of people?
– What is the unique selling proposition of liberalism?
2. Interviews with participants:
– Interview with Prof. Karl-Heinz Paque (Germany)
– Interview with Jan Oravec (Slovakia)
– Interview with Dr Rainer Adam (Germany)
– Interview with Admir Cavalic (Bosnia)
– Interview with Leszek Jazdzewski (Poland)
– Interview with Ruxandra Cazacu (Romania)
– Interview with Emilia Zankina (Bulgaria)
– Interview with Mihailo Gajic for Freedom Barometer (Serbia)
Prof Karl-Heinz Paqué, Vice President of the Board of FNF, shared his expert opinion on an array of questions about the future of Europe and freedom.
Watch his video quotes:
– on “Europe: The End of a Dream?”: here
– on the future of freedom in Europe: here
– on the freedoms under threat: here
– on liberals standing up for freedom: here
– on the impact of Brexit: here
– on the refugee crisis in Europe: here
Jan Oravec, the Keynote Speaker at Future of Freedom Consultation
Watch below insights on Europe, the future of liberalism, and more from Jan Oravec, President of Tax Payers’ Association (Slovakia) and Keynote Speaker at Future of Freedom Consultation:
– Excerpts from the Keynote Speech about the future of Europe: here
– Video quote on the EU: here
– Video quote on the Future of Europe: here
– Video quote on liberalism: here
Dr Rainer Adam on the Future of Freedom Consultation
Watch the videos from the Regional Director of FNF East and Southeast Europe, Dr Rainer Adam:
– the opening speech of the 2016 annual consultation Future of Freedom: here
– about the future of Europe from the liberal perspective and the goals of the event: here
Future of Freedom Annual Consultation: “Europe: The End of a Dream? How to Counter Europe’s Decline? How and in What Form Can Europe Thrive?
The Regional Office for East and Southeast Europe of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom (ESEE) will hold our annual consultation on the “Future of Freedom” in Bucharest. This year’s theme is “Europe: The End of a Dream? How to Counter Europe’s Decline? How and in What Form Can Europe Thrive?”. The consultation brings together representatives from the various FNF partner organizations from civil society, think tanks and political parties from the region and beyond.
Find out expert opinions of why and how to measure freedom in politics, economics and the rule of law. Watch a playlist with the 3 authors. They explain what the added value of the index is, what the trends in the respective fields are, what comes next after reading the index. Watch more.
Feature Topic: Promoting Tolerance Programme in Cooperation with AJC
Promoting Tolerance US Study Trip 2016
The 2016 topic of the annual Promoting Tolerance Program was how to counteract the increase in hate speech and hate crime. 17 motivated practitioners and experts from Central, East and Southeast Europe of NGOs and think tanks, politicians and journalists from 11 different countries traveled to the United States in order to observe American approaches on social integration and the inclusion of different citizens, culturally and otherwise diverse, within society life. Get an insight from the study trip in USA.
Hate Speech, Xenophobia and Nationalism in Europe An Exercise in Liberal Counter Positions during the Promoting Tolerance Programme
Young professionals from the fields of politics, the economy, culture and civil society in Central, Southeast and Eastern Europe, the South Caucasus and Central Asia came together for a face-to-face seminar under the Promoting Tolerance Programme. The prominent programme is a joint effort of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation’s (FNF) Regional Office for East and Southeast Europe (ESEE) and the American Jewish Committee (AJC) and was inaugurated in 1992 with the goal of strengthening democracy, pluralism and minority rights in the region.
The 20th annual democracy Forum 2000 in Prague – a conference of global scale founded by Vaclav Havel, was devoted to the courage to take responsibility. Ukraine was one of the major topics discussed right from the start with Oleksandra Drik, Head of the Board of the NGO “Civic Lustration Committee”, representing her country on the Opening Panel “A Crisis of Democratic Leadership”. A panel specifically on Ukraine explored the role of Ukraine’s “new generation” in the transformation process.
FNF Participation in the 20th Annual Democracy Forum 2000
FNF actively contributed to the 20th anniversary of the annual democracy “Forum 2000” in Prague (16-19 October) – a conference of global scale, founded by Vaclav Havel. The anniversary edition was devoted to the courage to take responsibility and the crisis of democratic leadership. Eastern Europe was high on the agenda during Forum 2000. There was one FNF panel on Ukraine and one panel on Russia, both moderated by FNF Project Directors from Ukraine and Russia, respectively.
Media, Freedom and Values at the Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum 2016
Every June Bonn turns into a media Mecca for a few days. This is when Deutsche Welle (German Broadcasting) hosts the Global Media Forum (GMF). The three-day conference is a top global event combining media, politics and international cooperation. Topics are selected with great care: the motto of the ninth year of the conference was “Media, Freedom, Values”.
FNF at the Deutsche Welle Global Media Forum on Media, Freedom, Values
In this playlist on our Youtube Channel, FreedomTV Europe, you can watch short interviews with the panelists in this year’s FNF panel at Deutsche Welle’s Global Media Forum in Bonn, devoted to the shrinking spaces of democracy and moderated by the Regional Director of FNF South Asia, Ronald Meinardus .The panelists shared perspectives from Hungary, Egypt, Pakistan, Venezuela.
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Southeast Europe commemorated in 2016 its 25th anniversary in Romania. A quarter of a century’s work for freedom was celebrated with a Gala evening with many Romanian guests. The international participants at the Annual Consultation “Future of Freedom”, organized by the Regional Office in Bucharest, as well joined the celebration. The “Freedom Speech” was delivered by Prof Dr Karl-Heinz Paqué, the Deputy Chairman of the Executive Board of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom. The Keynote speaker during the Gala was Prof. Dr. Daniel Barbu, President of Institute for Liberal Studies (ISL).
Opinion Poll on Freedom Perception of Russian Population Russian Citizens on Individual Freedom, the State and Society
The Moscow Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation conducted a freedom perception opinion poll in in Russia in the period of July-August 2016.
It covered several themes, among which freedom and security, economy, gender, politics, religion, freedom of speech, fears and expectations, etc. The opinion poll revealed a lot of contradictions. Please find attached a more detailed presentation based on the opinion poll results here.
Results from Opinion Poll “Void of Liberalism: A View on Liberal Values in Turkey”
Friedrich Naumann Foundation Turkey Office conducted an opinion poll titled “Void of Liberalism: A View on Liberal Values in Turkey” in June 2016. The questions were related to liberal values and tried to figure out whether Turkey is indeed, as some outsiders might perceive, a country devoid of liberalism, or whether liberal and democratic values have in fact taken root in Turkey. he findings of the poll published on Thursday, and discussed with the experts as Prof.Dr.Ersin Kalaycıoğlu, Assoc.Prof.Dr.Bican Şahin, Prof. Dr. İştar Gözaydın Savaşır and Barçın Yinanç. The results showed that Turks were somewhat liberal in rhetoric but not in practice. People accept the importance of liberal values, but when it comes to the practice there are many contradictions. It seems that Turkish people have some limits for freedoms and those values may correspond to different meanings for the society.
Best Education Conference: Liberal Reform Agenda for Europe
“The Best Education for Europe” conference gathered more than 130 international and local education experts in July 2016 in Chisinau to discuss the liberal reform agenda for best education. The three-day event was organized by the Regional Office of FNF East and Southeast Europe, the Project Office of FNF Southeast Europe and the Ministry of Education of the Republic of Moldova under the auspices of Ms. Corina Fusu.
Do you want to follow the Freedom contributions of the six Project Offices and the Regional Office in East and Southeast Europe? Please like and follow the following Facebook pages of FNF in the region: