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Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs

The NGO Centre for European and North Atlantic Affairs (CENAA) is an independent think-tank based in Bratislava (Slovakia), focused mainly on research and educational activities in the field of foreign and security policy.

This research, training and educational project concentrates on extremism as a security threat in the region of central Europe. It cooperates broadly with local NGOs and the academic community, and is financially supported by Open Society Foundations.

Type of Organisation: NGO

Project description

Our approach incorporates three elements, each focusing on one aspect of radicalisation in Slovak society: first-line practitioners and people in daily proximity to signs of extremism at local level; political party representatives and policymakers at various levels; and so-called reluctant radicals, i.e. people who tend to vote for extremist parties under certain circumstances.

Our principal aim is to provide a platform for local actors to share experiences and voice opinions on pressing regional issues, and to share best practices on countering extremist actions. The target region of the project, Gemer, is located in south-eastern Slovakia. Gemer suffers from serious socio-economic problems as well as extremely strained relations between the majority and minorities, especially the Roma group.

With the support and knowledge of local non-governmental organisation (NGO) representatives, who are well known and accepted by local citizens, and by holding discussions under the Chatham House Rule, we have successfully encouraged fearless, open and free expression. This allows the discussion platform to use local actors as partners in the process of formulating a strategy to counter regional extremism, rather than lecturing the target group.

Secondly, our aim is to highlight the subject of extremism and radicalisation in political discourse, and to help 'politicise' the problem. We also push for discussion with representatives of major political parties in Slovakia as well as representatives of municipalities in target regions, in order to spotlight the issue of extremism and radicalisation, and formulate strategies to deal with this security problem at policy level. Via ongoing consultations with political party representatives, mayors and young political party members, we bring sensitive issues to the fore and urge political representatives to take a position.

Thirdly, after the electoral success of the head of the right-wing extremist political party in the gubernatorial elections, we follow the development of voting behaviour in central Slovakian regions in elections. In practice, this could help to design interventions aiming to influence people’s perceptions.

Based on the moral foundations theory and theory of political attitudes, employing these research methods will also offer additional opportunities: for designing experiments based on story editing, and for intervention techniques devised to reshape people’s narratives about themselves and the world, in a way that results in lasting behavioural change. We will test and analyse potential means of framing and communicating sensitive issues in public discourse.


  • Report and policy recommendations resulting from round table meetings, elaborated in cooperation with first-line practitioners
  • Report and policy recommendations resulting from face-to-face consultations with major political party representatives
  • Report and policy recommendations resulting from consultations with candidates in European parliamentary elections
  • Report and policy recommendations resulting from a case study of successful local practices and problematic regions (published in 2015)
  • Design of an intervention to reshape people’s narratives and perceptions
  • Publication of the survey outcome (expected in November 2017)

Contact details


Klariská 14
811 03 Bratislava

Contact person: Tomáš Čižik, Director
Telephone: (+421) 904 497 865
Email | Website

Read the full practice

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