Kosovo’s Key-Assets to Address the Challenges of Transition

Kosovo is one of the poorest countries in South Eastern Europe and, like other countries in the region, its liberal and democratic transition is de facto confronted with major challenges. However, despite transition problems, Kosovo does possess three key-assets that could be better mobilized to make the country more prosperous, namely its youth, the large Diaspora and abundant minerals.

THE YOUTH AS HUMAN CAPITAL

Successful experiences of economic growth underline the importance of...

The Challenges of Transition in Kosovo

Fifteen years after separating from Serbia and despite considerable foreign aid, Kosovo is still confronted with serious economic, social and institutional challenges; they include inter alia trade deficits, fiscal problems, the quality of governance, unemployment and poverty. Findings underline the complexity of the liberal and democratic transition, for which much time is required to overcome the legacies of the past and build a new, more unified and richer country.

       Kosovo in perspective

Kosovo is a very small country – it has a...

Policy Brief: Unraveling the Political Crisis in Macedonia: Toward Resolution or Calm Before the Storm?

In a period of less than two weeks, between 5 and 18 May 2015, Macedonia had violent protests, a weekend-“war,” resignations in government, and continued social mobilization for and against the government, which resulted in two big rallies and the setting up of two separate tent camps in the center of Skopje, one against the government and another in its support. Negotiations between the political leaders, facilitated by international actors, brought momentary political stability; however, the question remains if the negotiations will resolve the political crisis in a deeply divided and...

Escalation of protests and violence: Macedonia awakening or going toward an abyss?

On 5 May 2015, peaceful protests escalated into clashes between protesters and police in Macedonia. For several hours, protesters rallied peacefully in front of the government, occasionally throwing eggs at the newly-made baroque facade. However, before midnight the police moved to disperse the protesters, which resulted in violence.

Both protesters and policemen have been injured and hospitalized, while some 30 people have been arrested. While...

Modern Censorship in Action

When censorship exists it is also talked about. This is true in the case of 17th century England, when censorship was imposed by Parliament, and it is also true in the case of countries that call themselves democracies, or which aspire to be democracies.

During the English Civil War Parliament passed the Licensing Order of 1643. According to the Order, a team of official censors controlled, i.e. prohibited or approved, works before they went to print. It is in this atmosphere that the debate on the freedom of the press was ignited and only a year later John Milton...

How to make EU mediation work in Macedonia

Since Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski accused the opposition of plotting the overthrow of the government and espionage and opposition leader Zoran Zaev began regularly releasing “bombs” of wiretapped calls that suggest corruption, abuse of office, electoral fraud and a range of other crimes by the prime minister and his associates, tensions in Macedonia have been increasing steadily.  

Now, the EU has become engaged with a low-level mediation by MEPs between government and opposition, meeting in Brussels on...

Bosnia-Herzegovina after EU association. Four challenges ahead

On March 16, 2015 the foreign ministers of the 28 EU member states gave the green light for the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA) between Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) and the European Union (EU) to enter into force. The SAA is a treaty with a complex story. Back in 2005 its signature quickly became burdened by OHR-mandated conditionality on police reform, which the EU finally put aside after accepting cosmetic changes in 2008. However, after a three year ratification process, the agreement had to be frozen before it could enter into force because in 2009 Bosnia was found in...

The end of conditionality in Bosnia-Herzegovina?

At their monthly meeting in Brussels on March 16, the European Union’s foreign ministers are expected to decide that a pre-accession agreement with Bosnia-Herzegovina should take effect. With the stroke of a pen, the foreign ministers will discard the notion that EU conditionality might be used to propel constitutional reform in Bosnia, reversing a policy that has been in force for many years.

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The EU’s Energy Union – An Opportunity for the Western Balkans

Policymakers and pundits in the Western Balkans should take note as energy has once more come into the spotlight in Brussels.  On  February 25th the European Commission unveiled its blueprint for an Energy Union, an instrument intended to both deepen integration and bolster EU’s bargaining power vis-à-vis external suppliers such as Russia’s Gazprom.  While the final version falls short of the ambitious ...

A reflection on the emerging politics of resistance in Macedonia

For the past few months we have been witnessing an abundant expression of resistance in Macedonia, manifested by the dissent of different social groups from students, professors, part-time workers, journalists, teachers to high-school students. All of them, for different reasons, and organized under different Plenums, have displayed their resentment against the authoritarian practices of the regime of Nikola Gruevski, the current Prime Minister of Macedonia. This blog post aims to dispel the persisting myth in Macedonia which holds that the citizens are passive and not very keen to express...

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