Brexit and the Balkans

Since the dissolution of Yugoslavia, political and economic relations between the UK and the western Balkan countries have been framed by, and harmonised with the EU’s Common Foreign and Security Policy and its Common Security and Defence Policy. This might be about to change.

                                              Copyright Reuters

On the 23rd of June, UK voters will head to the polls, deciding on whether or not to remain in the...

The parallel universe: bilateral issues and the future of the Western Balkans

The future of the Western Balkans (WB6) remains uncertain. The region is plagued by a number of persisting challenges, most notably bilateral issues which require resolution. These largely fall within the political sphere, and are primarily related to the history of the region and its recent wars. Existing disputes between the Western Balkan countries encompass a vast range of issues, from unresolved border or territorial disputes between the former Yugoslav republics to economic and property issues, identity, protection and representation of national minorities, and the status of refugees...

Presidential Pardon Debunks Fragility of Macedonian State Institutions

President Ivanov’s general abolition, granted on April 12 this year (to 56 persons), partially withdrawn on May 27 (only for 22 persons) and then completely withdrawn on June 6 (for the remaining 33 persons - one pardoned person, Kosta Krpac, who was actually a witness of the Special Public Prosecution, allegedly committed suicide) can be analyzed in two separate aspects: legally and socio-politically. In regard to the legal aspect, any well-informed lawyer with common legal sense can observe without doubt the continuous decadence of the entire legal reasoning behind the process that,...

Mirëdita Dobar Dan Festival in Belgrade: We Stuck our Foot in the Open Door

In early June 2016, the Mirëdita Dobar Dan Festival is taking place again, for the 3rd time in Belgrade. The Civic Initiative (Gradjanska Inicijativa) and the Policy Center, two civil society organizations from Serbia, in cooperation with Integra, a civil society organization from Kosovo, founded the festival in 2014.

My recent research on Serb-Albanian relations is focused on alternative forms of encounters between people from Kosovo and Serbia. For that purpose, I...

The Masks have Fallen in Serbian House of Cards

Last Wednesday 15,000 Serbian citizens protested against the illegal demolition of several sites on the Belgrade riverbank in the Savamala district's Hercegovačka Street. The buildings in Hercegovačka Street were demolished during the election night between April 24-25 in order to pave the way for the controversial Belgrade Waterfront project. Although the direct perpetrators of the demolition project breached several constitutionally guaranteed rights, including the inviolability of physical and mental integrity, right to freedom and security, and peaceful tenure of a person’s own...

Regional Initiatives in the Balkans and the Economic Development

Since the termination of hostilities in the Balkans, as illustrated by the 1999 Stability Pact, CEFTA 2006 and the SEE 2020 Strategy, there were initiatives to foster new relations between former belligerents, for the sake of peace, reconstruction and recovery.

In this short note, we report key-features and economic outcomes of these initiatives, underlining their importance for the development of the countries in the region and their journey toward the EU.

We also report concerns about the actual economic and social prospects in the region, which could...

Opposition in the Montenegrin Government: Who will win the game of chess?

In May, as Montenegro celebrates 10 years of its independence, a new government is being forged with no elections preceding it - a government that is supposed to ensure trust in the electoral process.

                                                            Copyright RFE/RL

This is apparently the positive outcome of several months of dialogue between the authorities and opposition, with the...

Huge Victory for EU Parties in Serbia

Austrian Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz was quick to congratulate to Aleksandar Vučić on his victory in Sundays elections in Serbia. The German conservative MEP David McAllister joined the victory celebration of the Progressive Party (SNS), apparently being a bit disappointed that a party winning nearly 50% of the vote did have a more enthusiastic celebration. Headlines across Europe celebrate a victory for reforms and EU. However, the reality of early elections in Serbia are much more sobering.

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vučić triggered early Parliamentary elections...

Could the political crisis be an opportunity to overcome ethnic divisions in Macedonia?

Ethnic politics is central in Macedonia. Examples from the first multi-ethnic government in 1992, the interethnic protests in 1997/98, the near-civil-war in 2001, the outburst of more or less violent ethnic protests and security incidents between 2004 to 2016, including a weekend war in Kumanovo in 2015, show the importance of good interethnic relations for...

The challenge of moving from normalised dialogue to normalised relations

Five years since the beginning of the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue and three years since the signing of the ‘First Agreement of Principles Governing the Normalization of Relations’, the EU-facilitated dialogue’s record is mixed and contested. The April 2013 document establishing the parameters for including northern Kosovo within Prishtina’s legal framework, while increasing autonomy for the predominantly Serb municipalities (especially those in the north) and providing the opportunity for closer cooperation through the Association/Community of Serb majority municipalities, as well as the...

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