This brief constitutes the final output of the GLOBSEC Vulnerability Index mapping susceptibility to foreign malign influence in eight Central European and Western Balkan countries (Czechia, Hungary, Slovakia, Bulgaria, Romania, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia).
Its primary aims are to: 1) summarize the key factors enabling and facilitating foreign influence across the two regions, 2) identify common points of resilience, and 3) suggest practical recommendations and best practices for international stakeholders.
Our key recommendations for international stakeholders are:
1. Be present in the region
2. Communicate more about the functions and activities of the EU and NATO
3. Localize PR and strategic communication efforts
4. Enhance situational awareness among civil servants
5. Encourage open communication about hybrid threats posed by Russia & China
6. Develop sustainable finance models and make quality journalism available in local languages free of charge
7. Support independent quality media and civil society
8. Limit the capacities of social media platforms to amplify hate and disinformation content
9. Remind societies of their connections to the West
10. Develop funding schemes beyond geographical areas