Sep 26 2014

Is Kosovo’s young democracy growing well?

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andrea capusselaThe June 2014 elections in Kosovo have led to a political deadlock that is now freezing the young country. Despite a marked decline in election fraud, both contenders for the premiership are seen as ‘key personalities of organised crime’. The picture is sombre and yet heralds new opportunities, argues Andrea Lorenzo Capussela: “the crisis is the result of ill-conceived and malfunctioning institutions and the apparent breakdown of the intra-élite pact, which opens opportunities but entails also risks”.

A Western diplomat recently conceded that ‘industrial fraud’ took place during Kosovo’s 2010 parliamentary elections, about which the international community ‘closed its eyes’: according to the (plausible) calculation of an opposition politician I then spoke to, fraud determined the allocation of about one third of the parliamentary seats. Less and lesser fraud was observed during the general elections held on 8 June 2014. But they opened a serious political crisis, which illuminates the gap that still separates – I argue in a forthcoming book – the formal political institutions of Kosovo from its real governance system.

kosovo table 1

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Sep 25 2014

Maria Spirova: “Party politics in Bulgaria has become completely nonsensical” (1/2)

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Bulgaria will hold parliamentary elections on 5 October following the resignation of the Bulgarian government in July. In an interview with LSEE’s Tena Prelec and EUROPP’s editor Stuart Brown, Maria Spirova discusses the protests which have taken place in Bulgaria since 2013, the party politics of the country, and the bank crisis which underpinned the resignation of the government. Stay tuned: the second part of the interview will be published next week.

 

boyko borisov

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Sep 22 2014

Kosovo Constitutional Court debate: ‘Instead of a Reply – Comparing Apples and Oranges’

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Donike QerimiWe receive and publish the third contribution to the debate surrounding Kosovo’s Constitutional Court and the extension of the mandate of its foreign judges: Donikë Qerimi replies back to Andrea Lorenzo Capussela. The levels the discussion has taken place on, she argues, are fundamentally different. Further reactions to the debate are encouraged as comments to the blog posts.

 

Read all the posts concerning the Kosovo Constitutional Court debate here.

from idahodems.org

from idahodems.org

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Sep 20 2014

“The mandate of EU judges in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court” is illegal: a response

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andrea capusselaAndrea Lorenzo Capussela replies to Doniqe Qerimi’s post on the legality of the extension of the mandate of foreign judges who sit in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court, reaching opposite conclusions and arguing that the President’s actions would justify her impeachment. “For the EU, appointing judges to the Constitutional Court would amount to recognizing it and, with it, also Kosovo’s independence. So EULEX and the EU never had, do not have, and do not want to have a power to appoint constitutional judges”, is one of the arguments he puts forward.

Read all the posts concerning the Kosovo Constitutional Court debate here.

 

from eulex-kosovo.eu

 

I disagree with Donikë Qerimi’s post on this matter in this blog, and with her forceful last words: the conclusions she reaches should be clear, she says, “at least to anybody who understands law.” Touché: I reached different conclusions – in articles published a dozen days ago in Kosovo’s press and elsewhere – but cannot claim any expertise in Kosovo law. Yet I think that ordinary logic and some plain general principles are sufficient to cast at least some doubt on Qerimi’s confident arguments, for the question really is rather simple, and refreshingly free of legal intricacies.

So you are about to watch a duel between two mutually incompatible arguments, leading to diametrically opposite conclusions: it will be easy for the widowed queen to decide which knight has prevailed, and should inherit the kingdom (Qerimi is a woman, of course, but that’s no obstacle as women famously can be knights, and valiant too: think of Bradamante in Ariosto’s Orlando furioso). So let’s survey the ground set for the duel: what both knights agree about.

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Sep 19 2014

The mandate of EU judges in Kosovo’s Constitutional Court: complicated yet legal 

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Donike QerimiRecently, Kosovo’s President Atifete Jahjaga came under fire after she extended the mandate of the three foreign judges sitting in the country’s constitutional court. “This act of the President, erroneously reported as the extension of the Judges’ mandate by the her sole initiative, is just another newcomer in some kind of a trend of labeling acts of the public institutions of Kosovo as unconstitutional. The President of Kosovo might have made several mistakes in the past, but signing the decree to extend the mandate of international judges in the Constitutional Court, was not one of them”, argues Donikë Qerimi.

Read all the posts concerning the Kosovo Constitutional Court debate here.

 

atifete ashton kosovo

Atifete Jahjaga, President of Kosovo, and Catherine Ashton, former EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs – from www.slobodnaevropa.org

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Sep 17 2014

Belgrade Pride 2014: Another blow to the head or will it go ahead?

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koenslootmaeckers 100A recent attack has shaken Serbia’s LGBT community. Will the 2014 Belgrade Pride go ahead? Two scenarios are possible, largely depending on the pressure the EU will decide to exert. “Over the last three years, the EU seem to have turned a blind eye to the bans of the Pride Parade, as long as Serbia made progress in other, more important, matters, like the normalisation of relations with Kosovo”, writes Koen Slootmaeckers.

Prajd 2014 from ParadaPonosaBeograd on Vimeo.

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Sep 17 2014

Scotland’s sui generis

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Dusan Spasojevic 100How should Serbia look at the Scottish case for independence – which suddenly appears to be capable of becoming as “sui generis” as Kosovo?

Dušan Spasojević argues that there is at least one thing Serbia should not do – relish with malignant spite for England’s vows, reminiscing London’s support for the independence of Kosovo.

From www.crossed-flag-pins.com

From www.crossed-flag-pins.com

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Sep 16 2014

Gazprom’s gas deal in Republika Srpska provides South Stream stop-gap

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Josh PosanerGazprom’s announcement of a deal to supply the Republika Srpska with gas imports from mid-2015 should be seen within the context of Russian moves to push forward the South Stream gas pipeline, currently under review by the European Commission and suspended by key transit state Bulgaria, writes Josh Posaner.

Working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Company's Management Committee and Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska (fot. Gazprom)

Working meeting between Alexey Miller, Chairman of the Company’s Management Committee and Milorad Dodik, President of Republika Srpska – Gazprom

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Sep 12 2014

New privatisation wave: Serbia has enough mistakes to learn from

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Tena PrelecUnlike established market economies, in countries undergoing transition privatisation manifests itself as a large-scale property transfer and involves long-term consequences that can make or break their economies. Societal and political changes depend indirectly – though very closely – upon the way the process is carried out. Evidence has it that a big chunk of the most successful Serbian companies are still in state hands. This will have to change, if Serbia is to conform to the Western institutions’ trends of liberalisation and to cover up some of its budgetary holes. LSEE’s Tena Prelec discusses Serbia’s troubled relationship with the idea of privatisation.

From bogdanstojanovic.com

from bogdanstojanovic.com


Have a say on the Serbian privatisation! We alwa
ys value your contributions: send us an email at euroinst.lsee@lse.ac.uk with a general outline of your comment.

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Sep 2 2014

The EU should set explicit press freedom requirements for candidate countries

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“If the EU is to maintain its stellar performance on freedom of expression, it should insist that candidate countries specifically demonstrate adherence to basic standards regarding press freedom laws and practices”, argues Freedom House’s Jennifer DunhamSeven of the eight candidate or potential candidate states considered have press freedom ratings substantially below the EU average, with Turkey and Macedonia in particular experiencing sharp declines in recent years. 

The European Union has consistently been among the best-performing regions in Freedom House’s annual Freedom of the Press report, which assesses the condition of media freedom around the world. However, the EU’s average score in the report has dropped over the past five years, a result of sharp declines in Hungary and Greece and more modest deterioration in the United Kingdom and Spain.

The EU’s score for the report covering 2013 was also pulled down by the inclusion of Croatia, the bloc’s newest member. Croatia’s score (40) was far below the EU average (23.29) on Freedom of the Press’s 100-point scale, with 0 representing the best possible conditions and 100 the worst. Similarly, as shown in the Chart below, seven of the eight EU candidate or potential candidate countries – Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Turkey – score significantly below the EU average (Iceland, with a score of 12, is the exception).

Chart: Press Freedom Score in aspiring EU member states (2009-13)

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