Nov 30 2015

Views from north Kosovo: the ethnic distance is not getting any closer

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Joanna HansonA recently published report represents the first attempt to assess the views of the citizens in four Serb-majority municipalities in north Kosovo. The goal of the research was to gain insight into the key social and economic issues Kosovo Serbs face. Joanna Hanson provides an analysis, remarking that a lack-of-trust theme runs throughout the report. 

Church in northern part of Kosovska Mitrovica, Kosovo. Credit: Tiia Monto / Wikimedia Commons (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Nov 18 2015

Experts react: EU progress reports 2015

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On 10 November, a month later than usual, the European Commission released its annual reports on the progress achieved by EU candidate and potential candidate countries. We asked seven experts in the region to give their responses to the key points raised for each state. (If you are interested in how this compares to last year’s reports, the 2014 expert reactions are available here).

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement. Credit: Friends of Europe / Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)

Commissioner for European Neighbourhood Policy & Enlargement. Credit: Friends of Europe / Flickr (CC BY-SA 3.0)

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Oct 6 2015

James Ker-Lindsay on the refugee crisis: “I have never seen the EU so utterly divided and working against the very principles upon which it was built”

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How has the refugee crisis affected countries in South Eastern Europe? In a discussion on the situation in Serbia, Croatia and Hungary, James Ker-Lindsay argues that with no country – Germany included – managing to get all of their moves right, the crisis is proving to be the most divisive issue Europe has so far had to face.

A man carries a 6-day-old child at Horgoš near the Hungary-Serbia border. © Elio Germani 2015 / Politico (published with the permission of the author)

A man carries a 6-day-old child at Horgoš near the Hungary-Serbia border. © Elio Germani 2015 / Politico (published with the permission of the author)

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Jul 7 2015

The Association of Serbian Municipalities: “The Sum of all Fears”

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Joanna HansonSerbs in the North of Kosovo, whose status was at the centre of the 2013 Brussels Agreement, were not a part to the negotiations. Today, their still unclear position is causing “uncertainty, dissatisfaction, distrust and fear” among the community. A recent report has attempted to tell the story through their voices. Joanna Hanson runs through the key points.

Mitrovica city centre: the town is divided by the Ibar river both geographically and politically. North Mitrovica's population is inhabited by 76.6% Serbs, 16.6% Albanians and 6.8% others. Photo by Agron Beqiri, Wikimedia commons CC-BY-SA-3.0

Mitrovica city centre: the town is divided by the Ibar river both geographically and politically. North Mitrovica is inhabited by 76.6% Serbs, 16.6% Albanians. Photo by Agron Beqiri, CC-BY-SA-3.0

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Jul 2 2015

The paradoxical Kosovo ‘special court’ was a guarantee of political stability – that is why the ruling class wanted it

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Andrea Lorenzo CapusselaAndrea Capussela discusses the many paradoxes of Kosovo’s special court, which was supposed to investigate and deliberate upon the serious human rights abuses during and after the 1998-1999 war – and asks six questions. 

 

ICJ – Public Hearing of the “Accordance with International Law of the Unilateral Declaration of Independence by the Provisional Institutions of Self-Government of Kosovo”. CC BY-SA 4.0-3.0-2.5-2.0-1.0, via Wikimedia Commons

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Jun 24 2015

Trouble at the Top: Corruption, anti-corruption, and the battle for political survival

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Dan Brett x 100 option 2The latest corruption scandal in Romania has brought charges against Prime Minister Victor Ponta. Despite calls from President Klaus Iohannis for Ponta to resign, Ponta is so far refusing to go, claiming that the case will be “meticulously dismantled … through clear proof and certified documents”. The scandal threatens to produce another summer of political conflict and polarisation with attention focussed on corruption and internecine political battles rather than economic, social and international issues. Words by Daniel Brett.

Politician and businessman Liviu Dragnea and PM Victor Ponta during the recent floods n Romania - from media.hotenews.ro

Politician and businessman Liviu Dragnea and PM Victor Ponta during the recent floods in Romania – from media.hotenews.ro

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Jun 19 2015

Postcard from Visegrad: five lessons for South East Europe

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wisniewskiSouth East Europe could take inspiration from its Central European neighbours and focus on regional cooperation to boost its talks about Euro-Atlantic integration, Jarosław Wiśniewski suggests. 26 years after the region ‘returned to Europe’ following the first partially free elections in Poland, he outlines five key lessons for the Balkans.

V4+ Western Balkans summit in Bratislava, November 2014. Photo: AFP

V4+ Western Balkans summit in Bratislava, November 2014. Photo: AFP

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Jun 12 2015

Croatian war veterans: Coup de théâtre or coup d’état?

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Ana LjubojevicSince October 2014, Croatian war veterans have been camping in front of the Ministry dedicated to them. They are protesting against the government in power and requesting more rights for themselves – though, relatively speaking, they have been treated as a privileged group so far. How political is their protest? Ana Ljubojević gives an overview of this sensitive issue. 

 

Protesters requesting the ousting of the Minister  of Veterans' Affairs Predrag Matić, of his deputy Vesna Nađ and of his assistant Bojan Glavašević. From braniteljski-portal.hr

Protesters requesting the ousting of the Minister of Veterans’ Affairs Predrag Matić, of his deputy Vesna Nađ and of his assistant Bojan Glavašević. From www.braniteljski-portal.hr

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Jun 9 2015

The Four Plagues of Macedonia

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TBoutherinWhat stands at the roots of the current Macedonian crisis? Thibault Boutherin takes a bird’s eye view and locates the four main problems of the country – four ‘plagues’, he calls them – in the lack of rule of law, in the ever-increasing ethnic divide that is being exploited by the political parties to their advantage, in the shady practices that have left space for external players to enter the Balkan chessboard, and in the loss of influence of the European Union. 

Anti-government demonstration, 17 May 2015. Photo Reuters / Ognen Teofilovski

Anti-government demonstration, 17 May 2015. Photo Reuters / Ognen Teofilovski

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