Lack of Clarity and Credibility in the EU Rule of Law Conditionality

Over the past fourteen years, EU policy makers have placed a growing emphasis on the rule of law and particularly the reform of the judiciary in the transition countries of the Western Balkans (WB) region. The EU’s strategy of promoting rule of law in the WB relies on the demand to comply with certain political criteria, in combination with the supply of institutional ties, technical, and economic assistance. The accession process generates unique, broad-based, and long-term support for the establishment of the rule of law in the candidate states. The most visible instrument for the...

A wake-up call for a new and more democratic Bosnia

Nobody expected the massive outburst of violence on Bosnian streets two weeks ago. However, given the disastrous economic and social situation in the country, huge unemployment (up to 70% of the Bosnian youth face unemployment) and exploding poverty rates, massive social protests were only a matter of time. Bosnia has been in a permanent crisis since the elections in 2006. The complex Dayton structure, based on the ethnic principle and division, has created a Frankenstein-country dominated by ethno-political elites. For almost two decades, ethno-political elites have invested their energy...

EU scrutiny and rule of law priorities in Albania

On December 2013, the Council of the European Union decided to decline Commission’s recommendation to grant Albania candidate country status. The decision is left pending on country’s “continued implementation of anti-corruption and judicial reform strategies”, which will be re-assessed in June 2014. In a way, Council’s decision is nothing new. Since its application for membership in April 2009, Albania has collected a rather unique three-year saga of refusals from the EU --an...

Leave us the worst and dullest!

The “global cold war for talent” is at its peak. Developed countries are introducing innovative developments to attract “the best and the brightest” from around the world, while developing countries are becoming increasingly aware of the importance of human capital for their development, and are putting in efforts to retain their most educated citizens within the country’s boundaries. Unfortunately, the countries of the Western Balkans, not surprisingly, behave as if they are not aware of the worldwide race for talent, and put almost no effort into either retaining their highly skilled...

Challenges of Minority Rights in the Western Balkans

Last November, the Council of Europe marked the fifteenth anniversary of the Framework Convention for the Protection of National Minorities (FCNM) – still the only legally binding document on minority protection in the contemporary international community, and still a document that is persistently ignored by eight (of the 47) member states of the Council of Europe. This past anniversary provided an opportunity for some reflections on the FCNM, its achievements, and challenges that remain in...

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