On February 13th, a few hours after the adoption by the Greek Parliament of an austerity programme strongly supported by the EU and the IMF, the government’s spokesman Pantelis Kapsis announced that Greek legislative elections would take place in April 2012. While the current coalition government struggles to implement the economic reforms demanded by Greece’s eurozonee partners, the political climate in the country appears extremely tense.
Vlora Çitaku the Minister for European Integration of Kosovo has already introduced herself as a very charming leader representing the younger political generation in Kosovo. One has to admit that this sounds really promising. Why does Kosovo need the European Union and what possible future prospects does it have today when the dialogue between Kosovo and Serbia has become so edgy?
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.
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.
On May 21st 2006, Montenegro chose by referendum to become an independent state, splitting up the state union with Serbia, forged in 2001 in the wake of the break-up of Yugoslavia. However, the « yes » campaign won by only a narrow majority (55.5%), and political antagonisms reflected a genuine divide within society. Yet, almost 5 years later, the country seems to have done better than expected.
Serbia is getting closer and closer to an official candidacy for EU membership. It is now waiting for the Commission to give the green light in 2011. In the meantime, one may read the Progress Report which reviews the situation. True, Serbia has made strong steps so far, but at least two strides are needed: the arrest of war criminals Ratko Mladić and Goran Hadžić, and above all, a more constructive attitude towards Kosovo.