Balkan Platform

The McCain Institute/IRLS program has partnered with the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (BIRN), a network of Balkan NGOs, and Bakamo, a strategic social listening consultancy, to form the Balkan Platform (or “Platform B”) that aims to foster open debate about issues, trends and events shaping the future of democracy in the Western Balkans.

The Balkan Platform will bring together leading Balkan organizations and individuals from Albania, Bosnia, Croatia, Kosovo, Northern Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia with policy analysts and experts in Washington D.C. and Western Europe to address specific issues that pertain to the regions’ security, human rights, economic development, transitional justice and the rule of law.

The purpose of the Balkan Platform is to amplify the voices of strong, credible civil society actors in the Balkan region that seek to drive meaningful change, grassroots organizations that empower and engage citizens in democratic processes, and independent media organizations that inform matters of public interest. This comes at a critical time when democracy is deteriorating and several key trends are emerging: abuse of power, cronyism and authoritarian tendencies, assaults on transparency and media freedom, disregard for the rule of law, shrinking space for civil society, ideological entrenchment and polarization, demographic and social change, heightened geopolitical tensions, and a fractious Europe.