Four Countries – Four Common Issues
In 2014, the Project Office of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation of Freedom has initiated an agenda-setting workshop with representatives of youth organisations. Since we are operating in Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Moldova, the project team has gathered together politically interested young people from those four countries. Through interactive workshops, the participants identified the following four relevant issues of common concern.
Freedom of Media
Hate speech, lack of diversity, restricted pluralism, biased information – those are only a few problems that many countries in the region of Southeast Europe are suffering from. In addition, the ongoing process of digitalisation and the intensified use of social media challenge the traditional media landscapes of these societies.
Democracies need well-informed citizens, knowing what is currently happening in their country. Therefore, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom designs a variety of educational activities in order to raise awareness for problems in the media landscape. Also, particular political incidents require ad-hoc measures. The Foundation aims at fostering civil society, which is the key for promoting liberal values.
Economic Independence and Entrepreneurship
Freedom goes together with personal responsibility. For example, about 60 % of Bulgarian youth between 14 and 24 years are part of the so called generation NEET (Not in education, employment or training). Unfortunately, the situation in the other countries in the region is not much different. The post communist times created a very bad image of the entrepreneur as a person, who became successful, because of shady deals and corruption manipulations. This, together with the mentality, inherited from the communist regime that the state should take care of the future of the individual, makes especially difficult for the young generation to set free their entrepreneurial spirit and to be encouraged to start own businesses.
Led by the liberal values of freedom, individual responsibility and entrepreneurial spirit, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom combines modern facilitation techniques and profound expertise in the field of free market economy, entrepreneurship, rule of law, tax reform and competition.
The education reform in Southeast Europe has a crucial importance for the innovative progress in the region. Nowadays, the four countries suffer from higher youth unemployment and lack of qualified workforce. The last 25 years of democratic changes and the opening of the boarders set the ground for strong immigration wave from Bulgaria, Romania, Macedonia and Moldova. The corruption and inefficient reforms, the lack of prospects and good education contribute to the massive brain drain phenomenon. Its impact is now noticeable already in the whole region.
Recognising these tendencies, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom aims to promote dual education and entrepreneurship. Leveraging on our international expertise, FNF organises a variety of workshops, seminars and interactive panels for the youth.
Anti-corruption and Transparency
Corruption hinders progress of any country and reinforces nepotism. In Southeast Europe, corruption has been the order of the day. This results into a huge cleavage between the citizens and their elected dignitaries, be it Members of the Parliament or judges. Citizens have a strong mistrust of any higher authority. Especially, being involved into politics is widely equated with feathering one´s own nest. An active civil society is the only instrument to fight the old political model and to initiate the necessary change.
Through different political education measures, the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom enables the citizens in Southeast Europe to demand from their politicians efficient rule of law and functioning market economy as pillars of modern democracy.