Business as EUsual with difficult stYUdents

Only in the 1990s has the European future of what is now known as the Western Balkans been bleaker than nowadays. After the ‘democratizing turn’ in 2000, the year marked by regime changes and political commitments to democracy, open society, free market economy, and European Union (EU) integration, the people living in this southeastern corner of Europe believed that a brighter future was ahead of them. The EU policy-makers dealing with enlargement still had their hands full attempting to prevent inter-ethnic conflicts, mediate...

Should Montenegro be invited to NATO?

Montenegro has experienced an unprecedented wave of protests against the government in recent weeks. Initially focused on the governments bid to join NATO the heavy-handed government response have shifted the focus to the government itself and the dominance of Milo Đukanović over Montenegrin politics for nearly 25 years.

While it is unlikely that the protests will gather the momentum (see here and here) to put the government under real...

Elections in Montenegro - between protests and dialogue

Nine years after the restoration of independence and three years after opening EU accession negotiations, the key debate in Montenegro still  revolves around the organisation of fair and democratic elections.

Twenty five years after its first multiparty elections, Montenegro has not yet experienced a democratic change of its government. To best describe this scenrario the famous Lineker's football quote can be paraphrased to be read as: Elections in Montenegro are the game...

Media Reports that Media is Not Free

On 8 November Andrija Rodić, the owner of the Adria Media Group – which publishes 18 magazines including the daily tabloid Kurir – came out with a public apology to Serbian citizens for his role in producing overly favourable coverage of the situation in the country, alongside 80 per cent of Serbia’s other local media owners.

Until that point he and his associated media outlets had been faithful supporters of Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vučić, and his...

To UNESCO or not to UNESCO: Serbian Cultural Heritage in Kosovo between Sovereignty and Protection

No event after Kosovo’s unilateral proclamation of independence in 2008 has attracted so much public attention in Serbia as its failed attempt to become the member of the UNESCO. Despite victorious headlines in several Serbian media outlets, one could easily describe the result as the Pyrrhic victory for Serbia. On October 21 the UNESCO Board agreed to vote on Kosovo, which is still not in the UN but recognized by 108 of its members, for the UNESCO...

Kosovo– Creating Performing Institutions, The Case of Kosovo Customs

One of the main attributes of a state is the existence of an effective customs administration which is able to control borders and facilitate their crossing, through specific routes and official checkpoints. In the case of Kosovo, Customs were created in 1999, and with the assistance of the international community, they could become a modern institution and address the challenges most customs are confronted with – in particular the prevention of corruption and controlling all borders.

CREATING KOSOVO CUSTOMS FROM SCRATCH...

Macedonia in Europe or Belarus in the Balkans?

At the dawn of the publication of the European Commission's Progress Reports for 2015 the Macedonian political crisis is at its climax, while the way out of the deadlock seems distant and intangible. Since the I think establishment of the so called Przhino Agreement its implementation took more effort than anyone expected. This especially goes for the EU special mediator Peter Van Haute who drives the European vehicle towards the successful implementation of what was agreed upon in June and July 2015 by the main four political leaders in Macedonia. For the purpose of finalizing the crisis...

Kosovo’s SAA: sign of change in relations with EU non-recognizers?

Disagreements over Kosovo used to be among the most flagrant examples of how difficult it is to operate a common EU foreign policy.  Consequently, does Kosovo signing the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU on 27 October in Strasbourg signal some shift in the respective positions of the five EU members that do not recognize this country's independence? Or does it merely illustrate the fact that Brussels has found a way to go around them?

This blog post looks at the case of Slovakia which, along with Greece, has been the most flexible of...

Managing the Western Balkans Route

The 17-point plan agreed upon by European representatives and key states along the Western Balkan migration route is a welcome step in managing the refugee crisis. However, it is only another step in what is likely to be a long and tiresome journey for all involved. Indeed, the plan is at best a band-aid solution.

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Sleepwalking in Brussels

The declaration of the West Balkan Route summit makes no sense, except as part of a larger strategy to shut refugees out of Europe

With several hundreds of thousands of refugees already on the move along the so-called ‘West Balkan Route’ to Central Europe, and thousands more arriving daily on the shores of Greece, any attempt to return to the orderly world of the...

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