Dear Reader, welcome to the first issue of Contemporary Southeastern Europe! This peer-reviewed journal is published as an open-access academic journal, by the Centre for Southeast European Studies. We are firmly committed to the highest standards of academic publishing, including rigorous, double-blind, peer review and making research available, free of charge, to an interested audience. As subscription costs rise and many libraries have to save resources, we are committed to making high quality research available for researchers without cost.
Unification or secession efforts, especially those based on nationalistic principles, have been made continuously since at least the 19th century, but the way states exert their influence on the international arena has undergone major transformations. Could these transformations change the motivation of certain states to unify or that of different regions to secede? What is the benefit of having one or more additional state representatives in international organizations? To answer these questions, this paper examines the importance that voting processes in international organizations can have for the cost/benefit calculations of states or particular regions in their national unification or secession efforts.
Elections in Serbia have been held quite often over the past 26 years. Yet, of all elections that have taken place since the introduction of the multiparty system in 1990, the elections held on April 24 2016, were the most confusing. They were held early, but were neither a product of political, nor economic crisis. So why were they necessary?
Last year, Greece became the epicenter of attention not only for the newly elected SYRIZA government and the negotiations for a bail-out with creditors, but also for its role as the main border-crossing point for hundreds of thousands of refugees, coming from war zones in order to continue their journey towards central and northern Europe. The country, located ‘on the doorstep of Europe’, is on the frontline of Europe’s biggest immigration crisis since the Second World War. It is thus a ‘frontier’ state between European Union states and the various countries which refugees or immigrants leave to seek asylum and/or a viable livelihood elsewhere. Hundreds of people are attempting the short but dangerous crossing from Turkey to the Greek islands in unseaworthy, overcrowded vessels that often founder and capsize.
When the future or, more specifically, a redirection of South-East European studies is discussed in a series of essays in this journal, one has to have in mind that this is not the first discussion of this kind – and for sure not the concluding one. In an increasingly globalizing world, area studies are under permanent critical observation. What can particular findings related to an area contribute to the understanding of the whole, the global, and how is the global represented in the particularities of an area? However, this kind of critical self-reflection that can sometimes result in self-deprecation was not always the case in the long history of the study of South-East Europe.
Two recent books on Kosovo offer some compelling insights and answers as to why international state-builders stumbled in Kosovo: Elton Skendaj’s, Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions and Andrea Lorenzo Capussela’s State-Building in Kosovo: Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans. Both books are welcome additions to the growing discourse on state-building and touch on some of the more important themes that have recently dominated the literature, including the principle of local ownership, the limitations of technocratic approaches to state-building, and the dilemmas of political corruption and state capture in postwar societies.