Democratic Consolidation

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...

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...

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 (...

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...

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