RS Referendum - The Emperor has no clothes, but don’t blame it on the Court or Bosniaks

The influential British journalist Marcus Tanner argued that the Bosnian Constitutional Court should have never decided on such deeply controversial issue as the RS National Holiday: “It is hard to see what business judges have in ruling on whether people should celebrate January 9th, 10th, 11th, or any other day.  Marika Djolai joined Tanner, on the lines of this blog, in blaming...

The Republic Srpska Referendum and the Bleak Future of Bosnia and Herzegovina

20 years after the end of the war in 1995, Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) is still marred by lack of political progress and stuck in the situation of stabile unresolvedness. Recurrent political crises are a sad reality, whith political leaders of the two entities and three nationalist parties continuously pushing to establish sovereignty of their geographic or imagined territories in the hope that this will secure them a permanent ruling position. Quite often, they create turmoil to avert attention from more pressing social and economic problems resulting in challenging living conditions,...

Addressing Youth Unemployment in the Balkans

Balkan countries are confronted with high rates of youth unemployment. Such a situation may severely impact on political stability in the region and can cause tensions between communities; in addition, it stimulates illicit activities in the grey economy. Policies are also implemented to support the creation of new jobs; however, so far, outcomes are rather limited.

HIGH LEVELS OF YOUTH UNEMPLOYMENT

With the exception of Kosovo, the World Bank data base on youth unemployment (ages 15-24) provides interesting information on Balkan countries, which allows inter-country...

Losing the Western Balkans in Paris

The consequences of the United Kingdom’s imminent exit from the EU following the June 23rd referendum will be felt across the continent but perhaps nowhere more so than the Western Balkans. But the drama of “Brexit,” and with it the resurgence of grand geopolitics in the Balkans, obscures the more quietly devastating headline of the past year. It has been yet another year in southeastern Europe marked by...

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...

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