Nov 19 2014

2014 Presidential Romanian elections: Where do we go from here?

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Dan BrettEllie Knott - profileThe outcome of the Romanian presidential elections has been nothing short of surprising: underdog candidate Klaus Iohannis beat the incumbent prime minister and favourite, Victor Ponta, with a very convincing result. Daniel Brett and Eleanor Knott take us through the whole story and get ready to discuss Where does Romania go from here at our event on 1 December.

 

“Mândru că sunt român ortodox” / “Proud to be Romanian Orthodox”
Victor Ponta, Romanian Prime Minister and PSD Presidential Candidate

Top: Victor Ponta President – the president who unites; bottom: Iohannis – Romania, work done well (Source: Daniel Brett)

Top: Victor Ponta President – the president who unites; bottom: Iohannis – Romania, work done well (Source: Daniel Brett)

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Nov 13 2014

The scandal about the EU in Kosovo: a call for a judicial audit

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Andrea Lorenzo CapusselaIn the wake of the recent scandal affecting the EU’s most expensive foreign mission, Andrea Lorenzo Capussela gives a comprehensive overview of the shortcomings of an idea that he describes as well conceived but badly managed: 

“Ever since 2011 it was clear that EULEX suffered from negligence, incompetence and a general inclination not to disturb Kosovo’s politico-economic élite, which often coincides with the criminal élite”, he writes.

The judicial functions of EULEX “should now be carefully reviewed, for it is there where Eulex’s structural flaws manifested themselves most clearly and most damagingly”, Capussela argues.

 

EULEX Police officers during a raid - image from www.eulex-kosovo.eu

image from www.eulex-kosovo.eu

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Nov 11 2014

Changing global business trends and Serbia’s obsolete strategy for attracting foreign investment

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“At the micro level there seem to be many ideas, energy and creativity in every corner of Serbia. Yet, the country is stuck with an obsolete macro development model and lack of credibility from the international community”. Sonja Avlijaš discusses the shortcomings of the recent Serbia Investment Day.

 

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic with Daniel Kawczynski MP and Crown Prince Aleksandar (far left) after his speech at the Serbia Investment Day at Central Hall Westminster, on October 29, 2014 (Photo by Peter Dench/Getty Images for Serbia Investment Day)

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic with Daniel Kawczynski MP and Crown Prince Aleksandar (far left) after his speech at the Serbia Investment Day at Central Hall Westminster, on October 29, 2014 (Photo by Peter Dench/Getty Images)

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Nov 7 2014

Albanian FM Ditmir Bushati: ‘Those still thinking about a Greater Albania live in a different world’

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The Foreign Minister of Albania Ditmir Bushati gives his views on a number of topical issues the EU-aspiring state needs to deal with. The interview was conducted by LSEE’s Dimitar Bechev and Tena Prelec

Ditmir Bushati

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Nov 7 2014

Fatos Lubonja: Albania’s PM Edi Rama ‘makes a better façade’

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Albanian writer Fatos Lubonja has been defined by journalist Andrew Gumbel as “the closest thing Albania has to an intellectual conscience: a former political prisoner, publisher, writer and activist who has never been afraid to offer his frank opinions, even in the depths of the Enver Hoxha years”.

Joanna Hanson, LSEE Visiting Senior Fellow, and Fatos Lubonja presenting his book

Joanna Hanson, LSEE Visiting Senior Fellow, and Fatos Lubonja presenting his book at the LSE

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Oct 29 2014

Interview with Aleksandar Vucic: ‘We’re not asking for mercy, but reforming Serbia’

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We caught up with Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic after his talk at the London School of Economics, held on 27 October 2014. LSEE blog editor Tena Prelec was asking the questions. Click here for the Serbian version.

Aleksandar Vucic and James Ker-Lindsay

Serbian PM Aleksandar Vucic at the LSE and James Ker-Lindsay, chairing the talk

 

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Oct 29 2014

Intervju sa Aleksandrom Vučićem: ‘Ne tražimo milostinju, nego želimo reformirati Srbiju’

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Popričali smo sa Premijerom Srbije g-dinom Aleksandom Vučićem posle njegovog predavanja na LSEE 27/10/2014. Urednik LSEE bloga Tena Prelec je postavljala pitanja. Pročitajte englesku verziju.

Tena Prelec and Aleksandar Vucic

Tena Prelec, LSEE Research on SEE, i srpski premijer Aleksandar Vučić

 

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Oct 28 2014

Vucic sells reformist image to London audience

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Dimitar BechevDimitar Bechev gives his views on Aleksandar Vucic’s public lecture at the LSE, taken place on 27th Oct: “Vucic’s London trip confirms that he has been embraced by important EU capitals, perhaps as the lesser evil, or for lack of a credible alternative. That continues to dishearten liberals in Serbia who believe the country is backsliding”, he writes.

 

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Aleksandar Vucic at the LSE. Photo Jakub Krupa / LSEE

 

“I am changing every day, learning new things.” No, that is not an echo from Emir Kusturica’s 1981 classic Do You Remember Dolly Bell but one of the quotes from the speech that Serbia’s Prime Minister, Aleksandar Vucic, made at the London School of Economics, LSE, on Monday.

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Oct 16 2014

Which way out of the Bosnian deadlock?

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Most commentators point at a critical deadlock in Bosnian politics. Part of LSEE blog’s editorial team roamed Bosnia during the October 12 general elections and endeavoured to list down the main issues encountered on the ground. No easy solutions are on offer: add your further thoughts on problems & possible solutions as comments to this blog post or email them to us.

 

Nationalism is as present as ever

Bosnia and Herzegovina is tripartite in almost every aspect of its functioning, the most emblematic expression of which being its rotating presidency. Politicians tend to appeal to the ethnicity they represent because the system rewards them for that.

Many voters in urban settlements have indicated their wish for a more unified and fair system: “I hope that one day we can choose candidates not on the basis of their ethnicity, but of their real value” (Emina, Sarajevo). In practice, however, there is no big reward for politicians to advocate for a more united Bosnia.

In addition, “the economy does not work, so politicians play the nationalist card even harder”, says Dragan, an analyst and entrepreneur from Banja Luka.

Dragan Mocevic

Dragan Mocevic from Banja Luka, posing in front of Gavrilo Princip’s tomb in Sarajevo: photo Tena Prelec/LSEE

 

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Oct 13 2014

Bosnia – voting for the devil you know

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Jessie Hronesova resizedThe Bosnian electorate failed to make a choice that would bring real change, in spite of signs throughout 2014 that the discontent for the current political set-up was about to reach a tipping point. “Voting for moderate parties, which would base their programmes on other than Dayton-linked demands, is simply too risky. People opt for the devil they know rather than the devil they don’t”, argues Jessie Hronesova.

 

Streets of Banja Luka on the election night, photo: Jakub Krupa/LSEE

Streets of Banja Luka on the election night, photo: Tena Prelec/LSEE

 

To any external observer, the October 12 general elections in Bosnia might have seemed as a great opportunity for people to take power back into their hands and hold their corrupt political elites accountable for embezzling billions of dollars. But the electoral results, unsurprisingly, will hardly lead to a game-changer. Even if the past year’s events were truly unprecedented in the Bosnian post-Dayton history, they have not changed the general cowed approach to electoral risk-taking in Bosnia.

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