After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the opening of Eastern Europe to the West (market democracy), the countries of former Yugoslavia, took part in devastating wars. Instead of dealing with the introduction of democracy, protection of human rights and initiating market economy, in the given countries, political leaders had to focus on war (some on the attack, most of them on defense of their own country). After the war, there was no political and economic awareness regarding the limitation of the traditional socialist role of the state in politics, economy and lives of ordinary citizens. Therefore, the countries of the Western Balkans were visibly lagging behind when it comes to global measures of the level of protection of human rights, limited government (economic freedoms) and the general protection of freedom. Democracy has arrived in the form of organization of somewhat fair elections and political pluralism, but without awareness of the importance of market development, it is impossible to expect any significant changes in the economic area. Starting from the fact that economic freedom is the foundation and a kind of nursery for all other freedoms, as evidenced by historical examples around the world and now the current situation in China, it can be concluded that the greatest barrier to the development of freedoms in the Western Balkans, is the lack of economic freedom.
Consequently, this hampers the economic development of these countries, causing the development of left-wing and extremist movements, but also the departure of young people (the phenomenon of “brain drain”). The imposing non-governmental sector that has been developed in the post-war period and which to some extent replaced a conventional state units, did not have the necessary awareness of the importance of market transition. Thus, the huge financial resources and energy was given to organizations dedicated to improvement of individual rights, reconciliation among warring parties and the development of political institutions, without the cultural transformation in the form of awareness of the importance of the market economy for the development and preservation of individual freedom. Freedom are the true protectors of human rights and without freedom there is no rights no real opposition to those who violate them.
In order to accomplish such impact and cultural change it is necessary to make a comprehensive event that will be ideological, but also fun for the general public. That is why we organize OPEN Fest – the largest festival dedicated to the ideas of freedom in Europe. The aim is to influence regional culture in terms of libertarian values. Entrepreneurship, individualism and the free market should be true values of individuals in the Balkans in the 21st century. This is the only way to achieve long-term stable economic and social prosperity, along with the ever necessary regional stability.