Jan 28 2015

Bieber: Attacks on media are part of “a regional pattern of authoritarian temptation”

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Marcus-TannerA new model of authoritarian government is taking hold in the Balkans – one which the EU is failing to recognise or address, Florian Bieber said at the LSE. There is a “curious inter-relationship between EU integration and these patterns [of government]”, characterised by strong party political control of the administration and a flexible attitude towards the law, Dr Bieber noted. Marcus Tanner reports.

 

Dr Florian Bieber, University of Graz (left) was visiting speaker at LSEE, January 27. The event was chaired by Dr James Ker-Lindsay, Senior Research Fellow in South East European Politics at LSEE Research on SEE (right)

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Jan 28 2015

Serbia holds a position few others in Europe can match – but is yet to find how to use it

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James-Ker-Lindsay‘Serbia certainly holds a position that few other states in Europe can match: it is a country that is seeking EU membership, and yet also has long standing close ties to Russia. However, it needs to be clear about how best it can leverage this to bring about meaningful results,’ LSEE’s James Ker-Lindsay argues in an interview with the Serbian weekly Svedok. In a conversation with journalist and LSE student Milan Dinic, he discusses the country’s relationship with Kosovo, Russia, and the European Union.

Johannes Hahn, former European Commissioner for Enlargement, in the 1st row, in the centre, leaving the residency of the Serbian Prime Minister

Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy and Enlargement Negotiations, in the 1st row, in the centre, leaving the residency of the Serbian Prime Minister

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Jan 13 2015

6 key observations after Croatia’s presidential election

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Dimitar BechevThe elections’ outcome will give HDZ a badly needed boost ahead of the more important parliamentary polls at the end of this year. Grabar-Kitarović could well use the presidency to score points on behalf of HDZ, especially with regard to the struggling economy, argues LSEE’s Dimitar Bechev discussing the results of the presidential race in Croatia.

Photo: Kolinda.hr

Photo: Kolinda.hr

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Jan 9 2015

Never was a presidential election in Croatia such a close-run challenge

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On 11 January, Croatia will hold a second round of voting to elect the country’s next President. Višeslav Raos provides a comprehensive preview of the vote, noting that the elections are expected to give a clear indication of how the country’s upcoming parliamentary elections might go later in the year.

 

On 11 January, Croatian voters will decide whether the country’s incumbent President, Social Democrat Ivo Josipović (57), a law professor and composer of classical music, will retain his post or have to pass the baton to Christian Democrat Kolinda Grabar-Kitarović (46), former Minister of European Affairs, Minister of Foreign Affairs and Assistant Secretary General for Public Diplomacy at NATO (the first woman to hold a senior post in the Alliance).

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Dec 22 2014

Guest blog by Hashim Thaci: Kosovo’s New Foreign Policy Roadmap

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The_Prime_Minister_of_KosovoKosovo’s former Prime Minister Hashim Thaçi has now taken up the role of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs. He writes exclusively for LSEE about how he envisions Kosovo’s future foreign policy, listing as its main goals: deeper regional and global engagement, stronger national security, the continuation of the dialogue with Serbia and the increase in economic growth driven by foreign investment.

Hashim Thaçi, on the right, and Catherine Ashton

Hashim Thaçi, on the right, and Catherine Ashton, photo: European Commission

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Dec 17 2014

The Moldovan Elections of 2014 are more than about Putin or the EU: Corruption, Poverty and Parties

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Dan BrettEllie KnottThe most shocking result of the Moldovan elections has been the rise of the Socialist Party, closely associated with Russia. “It would be incorrect to see them as Russian stooges, opportunists, or as old faces under a new banner. Instead, their support has come from those concerned about corruption, poverty, Europeanisation and a growing dissatisfaction with Moldova’s Communist Party’s leadership”, argue Daniel Brett and Eleanor Knott.

 

“Towards Europe, towards a decent future”

“Towards Europe, towards a decent future”

 

Pure democracy is three wolves and two sheep voting on what to eat for dinner.
Benjamin Franklin

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Dec 16 2014

Does civil society in Albania have an answer to the country’s many problems?

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018On 4-5/12/14 a group of civil society activists from Albania – journalists, academics and international stakeholders – met in Munich at a workshop organised by the Sudosteuropa-Gesellschaft. They held a dialogue on Albania and its future, looking for answers to the current issues surrounding Albania’s civic society and finding more questions, as outlined by Joanna Hanson. The event participants expressed the wish to continue this discussion: contributions are welcome as comments to this post.

 

Workshop CSO Albania december 2014_09

Photo: courtesy of Südosteuropa Gesellschaft

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Dec 15 2014

Belgrade Waterfront: when Sultanism enters city planning

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Jorn KolemaijBarend WindBelgrade Waterfront – Beograd na Vodi: top-notch urban design or glossy but shady façade? Two young urbanists, Jorn Koelemaij and Barend Wind, take us through the many layers of this controversial project. This blog post has been kindly provided by The ProtoCity as part of a blog exchange. You can read LSEE’s contribution to ProtoCity, “Brand Old Skopje”, here

 

Serbia’s capital Belgrade is about to become an integral part of the glitzing scene of ‘world cities’ as soon as its new Waterfront development will be established in 2019. At least, this is what the project’s founding father, prime minister Aleksandar Vučić, seems to be convinced of. The media report that his personal contacts account for 3 billion euros of Arab investments in this project. Many active citizens are sceptical and wonder whether the project will ever be realized and what its actual costs will be. What is behind this remarkable urban mega-project?

The Belgrade Waterfront Gallery/ 3D Model presented at the ‘1905 Belgrade’. Picture by Jorn Koelemaij

The Belgrade Waterfront Gallery/ 3D Model presented at the ‘1905 Belgrade’. Photo: Jorn Koelemaij

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Dec 15 2014

Brand Old Skopje

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Tena Prelec

The ProtoCity[Go to full article] In recent years, Skopje underwent a process of city rebranding, reinventing itself along a past that, arguably, never was. The project was presented as a way of dignifying the city’s landscape and attracting tourists – but it mostly attracted international media’s scepticism and ridicule, and also exacerbated the long-running name dispute with Greece. The sums of money involved in the project have also raised questions of financial integrity.

Critics point at a redrawing of the city boundaries: a process that risks perpetuating and entrenching underlining ethnic segregation. An often heard argument is that the dominant ethnicity, by claiming for itself a direct continuity with the historical region of Macedonia and reneging links to the Ottoman period, is pushing all non-ethnic Macedonians out of the city’s past – and therefore present.  An alternative interpretation now emerges: the two largest ethnic groups might both have a stake in the project.

LSEE’s Tena Prelec writes about the topic for The Protocity, as part of a blog exchange with the LSEE Blog. Read the whole article on The Protocity.

Skopje city centre’s construction projects. The new buildings on the waterfront are now covering up the architecture from the socialist past, as to erase it from the eye of the observer. Map by Jakub Krupa / LSEE

Skopje city centre’s construction projects. The new buildings on the waterfront are now covering up the architecture from the socialist past, as to erase it from the eye of the observer. Map by Jakub Krupa / LSEE

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Dec 13 2014

Kosovo is a full member of the IOC. So what?

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Dario BrentinWhat links sport, nation-building and international diplomacy? In the Balkans, sport has often been (mis)used as a nation branding tool. The recent recognition of Kosovo by the International Olympic Committee (IOC) is a further occasion to reflect. “Although it remains to be seen how FIFA and UEFA will react to the IOC decision, the inclusion in the ‘Olympic family’ represents a symbolic victory for Kosovar international diplomacy on its way to full UN membership”, writes Dario Brentin.

Source: http://www.srf.ch/sport/mehr-sport/olympische-spiele/ioc-macht-weg-fuer-kosovo-frei

Source: http://www.srf.ch/sport/mehr-sport/olympische-spiele/ioc-macht-weg-fuer-kosovo-frei

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