The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom in East and Southeast Europe (ESEE)
Our Regional office in SofiaSome 25 years ago, the people living in East and Southeast Europe were still under communist rule. After a peaceful liberal revolution in most of the region’s countries, these people, in a historically very short time, succeeded in building democratic and market economy oriented systems with their newly acquired freedom. That is a huge success for liberal ideas. The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom has supported these people’s democratization and the building of their civil societies from the very beginning through political consultations and educational activities. Also, the Foundation actively helped develop the region’s economic restructuring process through public consultations and by conveying valuable liberal concepts, thereby facilitating these countries’ fast accession to the European Union.
The Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom fosters the establishment of democratic structures by promoting liberal political parties and groups. A close network of political parties, citizens' initiatives, human rights organisations, think tanks and scientific institutions forms the basis of the Foundation’s activities.
We increasingly rely on transnational activities and cooperation with existing liberal networks. Partners in our networking activities are, among others, the international associations of liberals – Liberal International (LI) and the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats in Europe (ALDE), the liberal youth organizations International Federation of Liberal Youth (IFLRY) and the European Liberal Youth (LYMEC), as well as the European Liberal Forum (ELF) and regional associations. With the American Jewish Committee (AJC), we have cooperated on the programme ‘Promoting Tolerance’ since 1992.
Changes in the Structure of the Region
As of 1 January 2015 we have introduced a couple of changes to the make-up of the decentralized regional structure of the Friedrich Naumann Foundation for Freedom’s regional offices. The eight countries of central Europe (Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Poland, Czech Republic, Slovakia, Hungary and Slovenia) will be administered by our regional office in Brussels. The nature of our work in these countries has become very similar to what we are doing in other EU countries and therefore the change is warranted.
Moreover, Turkey has joined us as a new country. This might be beneficial to the on-going dialogue with the EU countries and other European players. The changes in composition were also accompanied by a name change. We've shed our old, rather long and winding name and as of January 2015, we call the region: East and Southeast Europe.