democratic consolidation

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...

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...

Without a clear plan towards transitional justice, the current lustration initiatives in post-communist Albania could be too little, too late

On November 29th, Albania celebrated the 70th anniversary of the end of World War II and its liberation from the Nazi forces. The coalition government, made-up of the Albanian Socialist Party (PS) and the Socialist Movement for Integration (LSI), took the lead in a series of commemorative events during the weeks and months preceding the anniversary. The high point of this campaign was the public opening of one of the most secretive anti-nuclear bunkers in Shtish-Tufina, a village 1.5 km away from the center of the capital, Tirana. The Albanian PM, Edi Rama, announced a radical break with...

The fall of the Berlin Wall and post-Yugoslav transition

Post-communist transition, in post-Yugoslav states, contributed significantly to the uneven progress of changes that unfolded in the past quarter of a century across the Eastern parts of Europe. Twenty-five years after the fall of the Berlin wall, the post-Yugoslav part of Europe’s former, communist universe firmly stands between the, more successful, transition-achievers of Central-East Europe and the, less successful, transition-non-achievers of the post-Soviet states.

The satisfaction that political and economic accomplishments are not as bad as most of the ex-Soviet lands’ is...

Greater Serbia and Greater Albania do not exist: The myth of bad Serb-Albanian relations

The incidents during the recent football match between Serbia and Albania and the fall-out with attacks against bakeries owned by real (and presumed) Kosovo Albanians in Serbia and the postponement of the visit of Albanian Prime Minister to Belgrade have created a misleading hype about Serb-Albanian relations.

Numerous media reports and a recent study by IFIMES, based in Ljubljana, which received considerable media attention often note how many decades no Albanian head of state has visited Belgrade (of course Edi Rama is...

How to “regulate” politics in Bosnia?

One of the recommendations on a large list of possible actions to re-energize the EU integration process in the Western Balkans, which was presented in a policy paper recently published by the BiEPAG group, is more active engagement on the EU in resolving remaining bilateral disputes in the Western Balkans. In the case of Bosnia, this recommendation could be extended to the internal disputes in the country. Some of the reasons are explained below.

...

EU’s ‘new approach’, democratization and the problem of stateness in the WB

The current “business as usual” policy of enlargement, or the first scenario of the Balkans in Europe Policy paper, deals with the advantages, and pitfalls, of the EU’s capacities to foster stalling democratization in the Western Balkans.  Any analysis of the potential for enlargement policy turning around the weak record of democratization in the Balkans has to take into account the innovations of the ‘new approach,’  when compared to the previous...