Simonida Kacarska is founder and director of the European Policy Institute (EPI), Skopje. She holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies from the University of Leeds and an MA in European Politics from the Sussex European Institute, both in the UK. Simonida has 20 years of practitioner and research experience related to the political transformation and European integration of the Balkans with a focus on national minority policies. Between 2005 and 2011 she worked in the Secretariat for European Affairs in the Government of the Republic of Macedonia, in the Unit for Justice, Freedom and Security. She was a research fellow at the Central European University, University of Oxford, the College of Europe and the University of Edinburgh. Her professional experience also includes lecturer at her alma mater the American University in Bulgaria. In 2017/18 Simonida was a Memorial fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and was awarded a Policy Leader Fellowship at the European University Institute in Florence. Her publication record includes both academic and policy related research. She is a regular media contributor and provides and consultancy services to international organizations.

Latest publication: DZANKIC, Jelena, KACARSKA, Simonida, KEIL, Soeren (editor/s), A year later: war in Ukraine and Western Balkan (geo)politics, San Domenico di Fiesole: European University Institute, 2023 EUI RSC, Global Governance Programme –


About EPI
The European Policy Institute (EPI), Skopje was established in 2011 with a mission to provide a sound base for debate and solutions, targeting decision-makers and the wider public, through high-quality research and proposals on European policy. EPI has reshaped public policy discussions by building a culture of dialogue of all stakeholders and has contributed significantly to the policy processes related EU accession through: its regular monitoring and policy proposals, as a coordinator and participant in broader CSO initiatives, as well as participation in working groups legislation. EPI’s portfolio builds upon a 12 year long experience in implementing more than 65 projects, predominantly in rule of law in view of EU accession, while also supporting CSO coalition building at the national, regional and EU level. Our annual analysis of the EC report as well as shadow report on chapter 23 published annually since 2011 and 2015 respectively, have been a key reference point for national and international stakeholders. Since 2018, EPI is the national research partner of the Fundamental Rights Agency of the EU for North Macedonia. EPI regularly organises at least one annual high level conference on various topics of EU accession, in addition to regular high level policy dialogues, bringing together on average 600 participants per year at its events, including EU based stakeholders. In 2022 EPI for the third time in cooperation with the University of Stanford organised a citizen deliberation event bringing together 150 representatives of the general public with key decision makers discussing policy making processes. EPI is one of the few organisations in the Western Balkans which has positioned itself as a regular interlocutor of EU based stakeholders. It has maintained keep high media visibility and presence on national, regional and European media to both advocate policies and inform the general public on rule of law and the accession process with 500 media mentions per year on average. EPI maintains high quality of research and transparency practices.