Ms. Konstantina Zoehrer speaks about the evolution of The Balkan Forum and the role that it can play parallel to the Berlin Process in conducting advocacy by bringing all the voices together, so that one voice, a strong voice is supported by all the partner organisations and other stakeholders with a need and interest to develop the region. And, that what we can see from the establishment in 2012 that The Balkan Forum belongs to a new generation of Civil Society Organisations, so we don’t see the project and donor approach but we see a more systemic and long-term sustainable approach on how to develop as an organization, and being more action oriented, and with a greater vision.
She mentions a new trend in the region and Europe focusing on creating platforms of dialogue to disseminate and multiply the potential of the region; and about different approaches by the civil society actors to empower the social sector and other sectors of the economy, and a new generation with a new mindset that is trying to create change, and influence region but also Europe - what has been done wrong, what can we correct and what can be done differently.
The Berlin Process for the accession process – there are differences but there are a lot of things in common. So, The Balkan Forum is building on this common pillars as strengths, and then looking into the week parts that can be improved very quickly when we have the strong parts developed.
The interconnection between countries that is new and how The BF is looking into the sectors and countries in multi-levels, as a good, new practice that takes time, but if we could unite the voices from the countries then this could be an example for other regions that have not been collaborating for quite a long time. For example, we are talking about the Scandinavian model, why not talking about the Balkan model as a development model that is very different from what we have seen from the models of 80’s and 90’s.
Ms. Zoherer also talks about the collective leadership; the importance to engage with the Berlin Process and voice opinions in the accession reports; the importance of creating partnerships, supporting/strengthening networks and connecting with other actors outside the region; the new generation inside the region and diaspora – the energy, will and efforts that we need to connect to talk and take action.
Interview with Konstantina Zoehrer