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The COVID-19 pandemic has caught the world unprepared, think tanks included. Besides producing evidence-based analyses of the current events, think tanks utilise their expertise and experience to foresee potential challenges that lie ahead. Yet, this crisis has proven that even think tanks, a beacon of forward-looking thinking, have failed to anticipate the outbreak of the pandemic, as well as the immediate magnitude of its consequences.
Such observation, which brings to light the existing deficiencies of think tanks, should be viewed in the light of self-evaluation, with the greater purpose to usher the path for their further improvement and evolution. Self-awareness and self-improvement of this kind become all the more important considering that the democratic norms continue to erode under the pressure of the political, economic, and social impact of the pandemic.
With this context in mind, the European Policy Centre (CEP) hosted a conference under the name “Times of Crisis, Time for Think Tanks: the case of the Western Balkans” on 29 January 2021. In this issue of CEP Presents, we present the most important points and conclusions from the conference.