Extending the EU Semester Formula to the Balkans: Will it improve economic governance?

In 2013, the European Commission added economic governance to the fundamentals of the European Union’s (EU) enlargement strategy. The new approach to economic governance was implemented for the first time in 2015 and became fully operational in early 2016. This is a welcome development, but will the new...

The Balkan route backwards: refugees deported from Austria to Croatia

The Balkan corridor was officially closed in March 2016, having allowed the passage of around 700,000 migrants heading towards Northern Europe. Opened in September 2015, the route permitted migrants and asylum seekers to cross safely through Macedonia, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia before entering Austria. The flow of arriving refugees has reduced drastically since March 2016, but still hundreds of people fleeing war, persecution and poverty continue to cross the Western Balkans in the attempt to reach Northern Europe, now relying on ruthless smugglers.

But not even...

Trump, Putin, Europe and the Balkans: what happens next?

Sitting in the ‘Palata predsjednika Republike Srpske’, looking out across the autumnal vista in the adjacent park, Milorad Dodik is no doubt a happy man. As the last votes from Florida came in and one by one the swing states fell to president elect Donald Trump, Dodik’s (once unlikely) plan to split Bosnia in half and declare an independent Republic of Srpska just got a shot of epinephrine.

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Trumping the Balkans

While a number of commentators have noticed the parallels between Milošević and Trump (see here and here), little has been said on the impact a Trump presidency is likely to have for the Balkans. The only two places which have expressed their enthusiasm for Trumps victory are Sevnica and...

EU Must Highlight Serbia’s Democratic Deficiencies

This week’s annual European progress report should focus on the democratic deficiencies in Serbia as well as the country’s achievements, in order to prevent backsliding towards an illiberal political system.

On Monday evening, Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic addressed the nation via public broadcaster RTS and talked about the emerging surplus in the state budget, the newly-opened 40-kilometre-long highway in central Serbia, and an alleged assassination attempt against him.

What the prime minister did not talk about were issues relating to the...

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...

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