After Slobodan Milosevic was overthrown in October 2000, the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS), a coalition of 18 political parties and one independent trade union took power in Serbia. They were faced with reforming state institutions as well as overhauling the economy after years of Communism and Milosevic's dictatorship. At the invitation of the country's Deputy Prime Minister, Miroljub Labus, the Initiative for Policy Dialogue held a Country Dialogue in Serbia in March 2001 to focus on national macro-economic policies and privatization strategies.

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In March 2001, IPD and its partner, the Center for Policy Alternatives (CPA), hosted a policy forum, which brought together senior government officials, academics, NGOs, labor representatives and journalists during a time of deep reform implementation and a push towards rapid liberalization. The forum's discussions focused on macro-economic policy and privatization strategies, while using the experiences of other Eastern European countries as unique and instructive case studies for creating Serbian economic policies.

The forum helped lay the conceptual foundation for a more inclusive public discourse. The open ended discussions of the experiences of other transition countries enhanced the understanding of the need for privatization, the dangers of privatization done the wrong way, and an emerging consensus behind a "third way" strategy that avoids the pitfalls of shock therapy on the one hand and stagnation on the other.

The discussions forged common ground by giving advocates of shock therapy and skeptics of privatization an appreciation of the risks inherent in each of their strategies. At the close of the dialogue, the exchange of views had helped forge a consensus on an appropriate privatization policy for Serbia.