This conference will delve into one of the most important trends driving change in European politics: the dramatic drop in public trust in many political institutions. It will provide a space to discuss new research and analysis of the causes and consequences of the trust gap across the European continent. The Open Society Foundations and ERSTE Foundation have invited politicians, policy researchers, activists, and thinkers to seek new ways to rebuild trust at many levels, and to ensure that public institutions earn public respect in the future.

Click on individual session titles below for more details.

Day 1
29 Oct 2015
15:30 - 16:00



Welcoming words & opening remarks by representatives of the Open Society Foundations & ERSTE Foundation. Goran Buldioski, Director, Open Society Think Tank Fund Andreas Treichl, Chairman and CEO of ERSTE Group Bank AG / Chairman of the Open Society European Advisory Board
Andreas Treichl
Goran Buldioski

Has the refugee crisis damaged citizens’ trust in the EU project?

The surge in refugee arrivals is transforming the European debate, which is why the speakers of this public opening panel will link the current events to the central question of the conference: trust.
Katarina Mathernová
Ivan Krastev
Kilian Kleinschmidt

Cocktail reception and dinner

Cocktail reception and dinner featuring cutting edge research & data visualization with welcome words by: Franz Karl Prüller, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, ERSTE Foundation.
Franz Karl Prüller

Night Owl Sessions

1) Conspiracy theories: undermining trust, or empowering the masses?
2) How can civic activism overcome cynicism and mistrust?
3) Movie screening followed by discussion: Trust in the European Borderlands / Democracy and Trust
Slawomir Sierakowski
Sašo Ordanoski
Péter Krekó
Boris Kalisky
Tarmo Jüristo
Armine Ishkanian
Karen Douglas
Carlos Delclós
Teodor Celakoski
Goran Buldioski
Day 2
30 Oct 2015
8:45 - 9:00


Welcome and overview

Welcome and overview of the conference sessions by representatives of the Open Society Foundations & ERSTE Foundation. Neil Campbell, Acting Director, Open Society European Policy Institute Franz Karl Prüller, CEO and Chairman of the Management Board, ERSTE Foundation

How do polling and big data affect the relationship between politicians and voters?

This plenary session will discuss the implications of the changing use of opinion polls and big data for aggregating voters’ interests and overseeing political leadership. Specific focus will be on how the polls and data are changing the relationship between voters and politicians.
Zsuzsanna Szelényi
James Morris
Anna Matuskova
Neil Campbell
10:30 - 11:00

Coffee break

Break-out sessions on ‘Failing Debates, Failing Democracy’

1) The changing European social contract and the restructuring of the welfare state
2) Managing migration and diversity in society
3) Abuses of state power and the progressive erosion of democratic constitutionalism
Ana Petruševa
Milan Nič
Donal Mac Fhearraigh
Stefania Kapronczay
Mary Kaldor
Don Flynn
Vedran Dzihic
Moussa Al-Hassan Diaw
Elizabeth Collett
Dorothee Bohle
12:30 - 14:00

Buffet lunch including a 30-min. networking session (optional)

State Capture: Is anti-corruption rebuilding or destroying trust?

This plenary session will question whether trust can be rebuilt and accountability strengthened through anti-corruption efforts and transparency. Is anti-corruption delivering? Are there more effective ways of transforming captured states?
Alina Mungiu-Pippidi
Shauna Leven
Ivan Krastev
Olivier Hoedeman

Closing Remarks

Conference wrap-up and closing remarks by representatives of the Open Society Foundations & ERSTE Foundation
Jordi Vaquer
Franz Karl Prüller