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...

Croatia veto on Serbia's EU talks causes surprise

At a meeting in the EU Council on April 7, the Croatian delegate refused to endorse the European Commission’s opinion that Serbia is ready to open talks on Chapter 23 of the accession book, which deals with judiciary and human rights.

According to the EU’s “fundamentals first” enlargement strategy, this is one of the “superchapters” that is crucial to the whole process. Serbia had hoped it would be opened by June, paving the way for other chapters. This is now likely to be delayed. 

Alone among the 28 member states, Croatia cited doubts on Serbia’s...

The President’s Pardon Turns Back the Clock on Macedonia’s Crisis

On Tuesday, April 12, the President of Macedonia, Mr. Gjorge Ivanov, dropped a bombshell: he announced his decision to issue a pardon  to all individuals, overwhelmingly politicians, that are under investigation regarding the 2015 wire-tapping scandal under the jurisdiction of the Special Prosecutor, as well as those that were brought up against the leader of the largest opposition party, Mr. Zoran Zaev, plus another unnamed individual who is already in...

2016 Snap Elections will reaffirm semi-authoritarian rule in Serbia

Serbian snap Parliamentary elections will take place on April 24, as announced by Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić, despite the country’s next election not being due until 2018. To many outside observers this move came as an utter surprise, since Vučić’s government currently enjoys overwhelming support in the Serbian Parliament. Those surprised by recent events, however, have probably forgotten that the 2014 elections were also prematurely triggered by Vučić, this time in order to diminish the rule of the Prime Minister Dačić and his socialist party. Furthermore, of the 11 Serbian...

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