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...

The Western Balkan Migration Plan: Solidarity and Burden-Sharing in a Zero-Sum World

On Sunday evening the range of EU legislative and executive branches, UNHCR, and heads of state along the Western Balkan migration route issued a leader’s statement on a 17-point plan for tackling the migration crisis.

The document reveals the basic contours of a plan for alleviating stress on Member States and the European project writ large. It...

Protests in Podgorica: Montenegro’s spring or a battle for political points?

On 17 October, early in the morning, police forces broke up a peaceful protest in front of the Montenegrin parliament. They removed tents that had been blocking traffic through the main streets of Podgorica, after their permit   had expired seven days earlier. The protests of the Democratic Front, the opposition coalition in Montenegro's parliament, were announced as the only form of political battle against an unchanged government that has been in power for more than 20 years. Central requests of the three-week long protests were the resignation of Prime Minister Milo Djukanovic...

Kosovo - The Need for an Effective Competition Policy

The implementation of the Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) between Kosovo and the European Union is expected to start in 2016. SAA Article 75 is about Competition and other Economic Provisions. Considering article 75, within a few years, Kosovo is expected to implement effectively competition policy, in line with the EU Acquis and experience.

The effectiveness of competition policy is first of all defined by the actual outcomes of investigation...

Small steps and (not so) great expectations. Notes from the Vienna Summit

The Viennese Hofburg makes for a grand setting for any summit. When Western Balkan governments met with EU officials and representative from some EU member states, most notably Germany and Austria, but also Croatia, Slovenia and Italy, the planned signal was to show that EU enlargement is alive, as is regional cooperation. In comparison to the first such summit last year in Berlin, the Vienna summit comes after a host of regional meetings that some have joked that the prime ministers of the region see each other more often than their own ministers. Regional cooperation has picked up steam...

The RS Referendum in Judges’ Hands

Schach Matt to Dayton. An attempt to destabilize Bosnia. A political adventure with an unknown outcome. These thoughts sum up what the West and the RS opposition think of Dodik’s initiative to call a referendum on the powers of the High Representative and the BiH Court. 

While the confrontation between Dodik (...

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