Europe 2017: Avoiding Electoral Surprises

Kursnummer: 13417

Part 3 – Serbia: One Candidate and the Rest of Hopefuls

Cooperation project between fjum and the European Commission Representation in Austria
Seminar series on the countries that hold election in spring 2017. Information regarding France and Albania to follow.


Serbia´s presidential elections scheduled for 2 April 2017 will be the new opportunity for the current Prime Minister and presidential candidate Aleksandar Vučić to prove his leadership in the country with a fragmented opposition, party-related job opportunities, obedient media, exodus or dream of exodus of young people, low salaries and even lower pensions, and permanent crisis mode relations with Kosovo and some of the neighbours.

According to the polls, none of presidential contenders have the chance to beat the omnipresent Prime Minister, who sells Serbia´s membership in the European Union to the voters, promises political stability to the EU capitals and boasts friendship with Austria´s Foreign Minister, Sebastian Kurz. The two collaborate in closing the Balkan route to the refugees.

Aleksandar Vučić initiated his career as a journalist for the Serbian TV in Bosnia, known for propagating war and hatred, led the nationalist Serbian Radical Party, and finally evolved into the politician who projects himself as a factor of stability in an unstable region.

While some opposition leaders and civil society activities claim that hate speech has returned to the Balkans, other point to the growing influence of the Russian Federation, whose media outlet, Sputnik, currently employs about 40 journalists.

What is the current situation in Serbia? Which are the major electoral issues and debates in an election that only the defeat of Vučić would constitute a surprise? On the other hand, what do the international political actors expect from Serbia? Is Vladimir Putin going to test Donald Trump’s patience in the Balkans, as recently stated during the debate in Europa im Diskurs in Burgtheater?

Bojana Barlovac, journalist and media expert (see full CV) will speak about the internal situation in Serbia, with emphasis on the role of media in creating the current political environment.

Ivan Vejvoda, an expert in international relations and democratization process, (see full CV) will address the international power play in the Balkans.

Learning Objective

To detect the most important elements that have to be taken into account when writing, analysing, following and commenting on political and social developments in Serbia. To understand the most relevant foreign influences. To know what matters on the ground to Serbian voters, not how outsiders react in this regard.


The session consists of 2 presentations and an interactive discussion. The reduced group size allows for a continuous dialogue. On Friday before the session, all participants will receive several articles on recent developments in Serbia. That way, everyone will have the same starting point for discussions.

Target Groups

Journalists from the Austrian and Austria-based media, foreign and national news desks.


Read the provided material before the session.

Maximum number of participants: 12
Registration deadline: 23 March 2017


Bojana Barlovac is a PhD candidate at the Belgrade University’s Faculty of Political Science (Culture and Media Department) with focus on mediatization of politics and media framing. She worked as Serbia country editor and regional associate editor for BIRN’s flagship website Balkan Insight from 2009-2015. See full CV.

Ivan Vejvoda is a Permanent Fellow and the Director of the Europe at Risk project at the Institute for Human Sciences in Vienna, Austria. Prior to coming to Vienna in 2017, he was a Senior Vice President of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) of the United States in Washington as well as head of the GMF’s Balkan Trust for democracy project. He also served as a senior advisor to on foreign policy and EU integration to Serbia´s Prime ministers Zoran Djindjic and Zoran Zivkovic. See full CV.

Further Questions

For additional information about the session, contact Mirjana Tomić, seminar manager,, or call 0676 365 26 93

Mirjana Tomić develops and manages fjum_Kontext information sessions on international current affairs. Her international career encompasses journalism, media and political analyses, public outreach and university lecturing. She holds a BA degree in Political Science from Brandeis University, US, and an MA from El Colegio de México, Mexico City, Mexico.

27.03.201709:30 - 12:30
Teilnahme kostenlos. Bewerbung erforderlich.
Bojana Barlovac
Haus der EU
Wipplingerstraße 35, 1010 Wien