What future for the process of European enlargement to the Balkan region? Which scenarios for the European Union (EU) and for the candidate countries? What do citizens think about these issues? These and other questions were at the heart of two conferences, one at the Jean Monnet House, the second at Sciences Po Paris, on 28 and 29 April 2011 dealing with the Balkans.
Motivated by strategic objectives to do with the size and geopolitical significance of Ukraine, the EU opened a political dialogue with Ukraine through the signing of the Partnership and Cooperation Agreement in June 1994, in which issues such as trade, the movement of capital and the Common Foreign and Security Policy were discussed. This political dialogue was tied to conditionality clauses with regard to political and economic reform, but nevertheless Ukraine’s government felt confident that EU membership would soon be an actual prospect.
"The new education system in Turkey –making pilots out of religious school graduates?" This was a comment that a blogger put on his page, after the new education system (4+4+4) entered into force following the decision made by the currently ruling party in Turkey, the AKP (Justice and Development Party). He was expressing his concern over the conservative AKP, notably the fact that they favour the students who study in religious schools. And the new system will only help them, but no one else.
Who would have said that the European Union might overshadow national elections in a country that is known for its long-lasting extreme nationalism? Serbia now surprises all the sceptics and those who could hardly believe that the country is willing to sacrifice some of its nationalistic stances. Let's have a look at a pivotal issue in the national elections that will take place on May 6.
In November 2010, Myanmar saw the first poll in 20 years. Even though the main military-backed party claimed victory, for the first time since it came to power the military regime yielded to the opposition forces. A civilian power took over from the Junta, marking the first transition to democracy. This sudden political transition sparked the most significant political and economic reforms that the country has witnessed for the past half decade.
"Best pleased to inform Her Majesty that the Union Jack once again flies over Stanley. God save the queen." Those were the words of Major General Jeremy Moore on 14 June 1982 when the Argentinian garisson in Port Stanley surrendered to the British, ending the Falklands War. But today tensions seem to have resumed. Argentina has stepped up its attacks against Britain in what it calls an "illegal occupation" of the islands. Why is this resurfacing today, after such a landmark conflict, and what is it about ?
After the fall of the Soviet Union, populism emerged in the Belarusian political context as an effective instrument to come to power and to retain it. A democratically elected president, Alexander Lukashenko, has been governing since 1994; his unique leadership style continuously attracts the attention of the international community, not least because of its populist character.
North Kosovo's status remains one of the main challenges to be addressed in the Balkans. Tensions have risen again recently. It is a dangerous turn of events, since violence could lead to the destabilisation of the entire region. Based on interviews with local actors, this article will discuss how bridges can be built and how divides can be overcome.
More than three years after the Kosovo declaration of independence, the dialogue between Serbia and Kosovo is still hardly moving out of the deadlock. The principles are tightly controlled on both sides, leading them to a no-win situation that neither Kosovo and Serbia, nor the principal mediator – the European Union – are satisfied with. We may then wonder to what extent nationalism is playing a role in today’s bilateral relations and whether it still retains the same features as earlier.
Everyone had seen it coming, but when it finally happened it was nonetheless shocking. Last year’s political crisis on a possible referendum in Bosnia and Herzegovina was yet another painful sign of the ongoing political stagnation of the country. The EU’s standard rulebook for the Balkan countries matches uneasily with the peculiar political situation of Bosnia. Not only should the EU step up its efforts, but it should also increase its legitimacy in the country.