German NGOs in the Western Balkans

NGO as a tool of German foreign policy

The growing role of non-governmental organizations (NGOs) had a strong impact on the domestic and foreign policy of the world leading countries, RISS expert Anton Demidov underscored in the analytical article of RISS journal “National Strategy Issues” №5 (56). "German foreign policy is increasingly based on the activities of non-governmental organizations. Berlin has historically maintained close ties with the Western Balkan countries and considered them as an important transit point. Germany seeks to expand its influence in the region and prevent the formation of independent power bodies there," he explained.

NGOs can have an active role in various areas. For example, some NGOs establish very close ties to business or have been specially created by companies or business associations to attract positive media attention. Other NGOs are engaged in mobilizing people to reach different purposes. The colour revolutions are also notable for the important role of NGOs. RISS expert recalled unrest in Belgrade in 2000, which had led to the overthrow of Slobodan Milošević.

The analyst underscored that such NGOs due to their specific activities didn't exist for a long time. After NGOs achived some goals they usually cease to exist. NGOs' activities require long-term preparatory work, focused on the rapid mobilization of significant amounts of resources and funding. There should be a lot of tools in the country to influence public opinion.

RISS expert also pointed out that a lot of German non-governmental organizations and foundations represented in the Western Balkans countrieswere commonly called as "think tanks". Their activities are aimed at the overall coordination of the information field through the data collection and systematization. "Such a wide presence of German think tanks in the Western Balkans countries is due to both traditional historical ties and the significant role of the region in ensuring trade and economic contacts between Germany and both Asian and Middle Eastern markets," A.Demidov said.

Germany NGO