COVID-19 and the Balkans: Navigating conspiracy theories and geopolitics
By NewsTeam - City of London (Remote)

The Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) host a discussion on the disruptive role of conspiracy theories amid COVID-19, geopolitical competition in the Western Balkans, and the implications for Euro-Atlantic integration.

Join the Atlantic Council’s Future Europe Initiative and the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG) on Thursday, December 10 from 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. EST / 17:30 hrs – 18:30 hrs CET for the launch of a new report, “The suspicious Virus: Conspiracies and COVID-19 in the Balkans.” The event features leading regional experts who conducted research in the Western Balkans six to discuss how the COVID-19 pandemic reinforced geopolitical competition in the region, the disruptive role of conspiracy theories, and the implications for Euro-Atlantic integration.

As the Western Balkans six confront the COVID-19 crisis, the virus has given rise to new conspiracy theories that erode trust in public health initiatives and democratic institutions. Despite breakthroughs in vaccine development around the world, conspiracies threaten to undermine government efforts to curb the virus and complicate the dissemination of important information. Such conspiracies also reinforce existing geopolitical preferences and heighten anti-Western narratives, leading to an uncertain future for the Balkans and its role in the transatlantic community at a critical time.
Join us for a timely discussion as experts explain the basis for COVID-19 conspiracy theories in the Balkans and outline recommendations for policymakers and stakeholders to restore public trust in order to navigate the current crisis.


Dr. Dimitar Bechev
Non-resident Senior Fellow, Eurasia Center, Atlantic Council; Director, European Policy Institute, Sofia

Dr. Florian Bieber
Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG)

Dr. Dejan Jović
Professor of International Relations, Faculty of Political Science
University of Zagreb

Dr. Tena Prelec
Research Fellow, Department of Politics and International Relations (DPIR)
University of Oxford

Moderated by

Mr. Tim Judah
Balkans Correspondent
The Economist

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