The Western Balkans

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Go West: The Western Balkans towards European integration

Go West: The Western Balkans towards European integration

The Balkans can be considered as a melting pot in terms of populations, languages spoken, cultures and religions. In this paragraph we present the ethnic composition, though not exhaustive, of various countries and the ethnic structure of Western Balkans as a whole (Table 16). In any case one must consider the fact that these countries have recently been, and to a certain extent still are, subject to important population movements. This changes have taken various forms of internal migrations from one region to another, or from one country to the other (sometime spontaneous in search of better life and more possibilities, very often due to war or ethnic cleansing), or internal movements within countries themselves, emigration to Western Europe and North America. The later has brought as a result the fact that, in some cases, there are strong ethnic communities from the Western Balkans living abroad. For example, it is estimated that around 2,8 million 13 Albanians, 2,6 million Serbs and 4 million Croats live in
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EU internal security policies in the Western Balkans: analysing the intersection between enlargement and civilian crisis management

EU internal security policies in the Western Balkans: analysing the intersection between enlargement and civilian crisis management

The Stabilisation and Association Process pursues the threefold objective of stabilisation, transformation and European integration. The EU’s regional pre-accession strategy builds upon the experiences of previous enlargements, but differs in some aspects from Central and Eastern Europe (CEE). “While in the CEE the phases of stabilisation, transition and integration indeed overlapped, they did basically follow one another. In the Western Balkans, EU integration is a condition of stabilisation, rather than the other way round” (Batt, 2004: 19). European integration is one of the rare political objectives that is shared across ethnic and political dividing lines and that helps reform and stabilise the political environment. Still, the EU believes that in certain cases the pre-accession strategy is not sufficient in terms of managing a situation of crisis and securing post-conflict stabilisation. The Western Balkans is a heterogeneous region. While some countries, in particular Croatia, are well-advanced in terms of EU integration, others lag behind and struggle with war legacies and unresolved status issues, most notably Kosovo’s bid for independence and Serbia’s determined opposition against it. The EU considers Kosovo to be a key to stabilising the region in general and to achieving the strategic objectives in JHA in South-Eastern Europe in particular. So far, numerous fundamental democratic and security issues are insufficiently addressed in Kosovo. Criminal networks managed to benefit from Kosovo’s unresolved status issue and from the uncertainty that comes along the unclear and disputed political configuration (Montanaro- Jankovski, 2005: 6-7). Also, Bosnia and Herzegovina has faced difficulties in becoming a viable state since the 1995 Dayton peace agreement. Political leaders from all the constituent peoples, most frequently from the Republika Srpska, apply a strong nationalist rhetoric and challenge the constitutional order of Bosnia and Herzegovina. 3 It is still questionable whether Bosnia is able to stand alone, that is, without international presence. The political landscape in the Balkans has remained volatile and unstable, regardless of the fact that a major conflict is improbable in the foreseeable future.
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Interdependence between Core and Peripheries of the European Economy: Secular Stagnation and Growth in the Western Balkans  LEQS Discussion Paper No  104/2016 February 2016

Interdependence between Core and Peripheries of the European Economy: Secular Stagnation and Growth in the Western Balkans LEQS Discussion Paper No 104/2016 February 2016

new funds into the region. This led to a huge increase in imports mainly of consumer durables such as motor cars, much needed to replace the antiquated stock of vehicles, but also other consumer goods, and to a lesser extent machine tools and other equipment to upgrade the industrial production sector. The Western Balkan countries ran large trade and current account deficits. By 2008, the trade deficit in the Western Balkans was running at an average rate of 35% of GDP. This also led to an increase of international debt, although this was not excessive and during this period was rather stable at around 50% GDP (between 2003-2008).
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The EU and border management in the Western Balkans: preparing for European integration or safeguarding EU external borders?

The EU and border management in the Western Balkans: preparing for European integration or safeguarding EU external borders?

outlined above. On the one hand, it responds to the cross-border effects the ongoing political and socio-economic instability of the region is having on its long-term stabilisation. On the other hand, it is also motivated by the EU’s internal security needs, which explains why border management is at the heart of the external dimension of the Union’s Justice and Home Affairs (JHA). The argument developed here sheds light on the fact that, inbuilt into the EU’s strategy, there is a three-fold contradiction: (1) between its short-term approach to border management and the long-term nature of the challenges facing the region; (2) between its own security needs and the national and regional socio- economic needs in the Western Balkans; and (3) between the temptation to intervene from the outside to impose quick fix solutions and the need to promote local ownership and sustainability of the reforms. The tensions arising from these contradictions are aggravated by the political, economic and security problems that have affected the region at least from the wars of the 1990s to date, inter alia, problems of corruption and organised crime, political instability (and thus, legitimacy, credibility and fragile statebuilding and democratisation processes); a difficult economic situation, and a weak absorption capacity.
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Trade regimes, investment promotion and export prospects in the Western Balkans

Trade regimes, investment promotion and export prospects in the Western Balkans

It was in the Western Balkans, namely in BiH, where the fuse of World War I was lit. In the 1990s Europe witnessed the worst armed conflict after World War II taking place in this region. Historically, the political landscape of this part of Europe has rather been complex. The first political integration here occurred in 1918 when the first Yugoslavia or the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats, and Slovenes came into being. Not only as the name suggests, but the first Yugoslavia did not recognize other nationalities and treated them as citizens of second hand. This political integration lasted until the outbreak of World War II. Unlike other socialist states of Eastern Europe that were satellites subordinated by the former Soviet Union, the Yugoslav communists fought their own way to power, imposed political integration of the second Yugoslavia, and built a differentiated model of socialism. This integration too, ended up in disintegration after more than 45 years of existence. Like the royalist Yugoslavia, the socialist Yugoslavia imposed economic integration through politics. The current or the third integration within a slightly differentiated geographical configuration (with Albania included and without Slovenia that joined the EU) as the Western Balkans is evolving through a different scenario. It starts from economic reforms and cooperation at regional level that may lead to a more natural and better integration (Mulaj, 2007).
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Migration, terrorism and possible armed conflicts in the Western Balkans

Migration, terrorism and possible armed conflicts in the Western Balkans

So, if refugee's terrorism is taken into account, and if a migrant is taken as the criterion of the risk analysis of terrorism, then we conclude that it is possible to find the following groups in the role of terrorists: immigrants "from the last century" - participants in armed conflicts throughout the territory of the former SFRY in the 1990s, which is very likely; current immigrants or transit migrants (foreigners) - members of Al Qaeda or ISIL who are infiltrated into convoys of migrants from the East through the territory of the Western Balkans, who are headed to Central and Western Europe, or intend to settle down on the territory of the Balkan region, which is less likely, but not impossible; emigrants-returnees - domestic citizens, at the same time foreign terrorist fighters, who are returnees from the battlefields in Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya, Syria or in some other country, which is very likely; migrants of the so called second or third generation (who were born in Europe, but whose parents or grandparents immigrated to Europe in the last century), who have become radicalized with some extremist ideology (Al Qaeda, ISIS, etc.), which is also likely;
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Tough love : the European Union's relations with the Western Balkans

Tough love : the European Union's relations with the Western Balkans

In search of the right policy mix for the stabilisation of the Western Balkans, and as a result of the aim to strike a balance between taking a broad view of international relations with the Western Balkans as a whole and examining certain events, actions and policies in greater detail, this study does not dwell on specific legal questions relating to the nature of the European Union and/or the interna- tional legal order. Rather, its aim is primarily to assess the extent to which the international community, and in particular the European Union, is supplied with adequate legal instruments in the light of the policy objectives. The result of this approach is that the more specifically legal dimension of this study is rather dispersed. Two other points of caution should be raised. Firstly, measuring the success, failure and effectiveness of policy making and concrete actions targeted at creating lasting peace and stability in countries or regions is fraught with difficulties. It is near to impossible to determine to what extent single efforts and approaches have led to positive or negative results. Nevertheless, a number of activities and approaches may be ascribed a positive (or negative) influence on developments that have the potential to (de)stabilise a situation. It is on the basis of such general perceptions that general conclusions in this book are drawn and recommendations are formulated. Secondly, due to the fast-moving dynamics of both the European Union and the Western Balkans, any book, article or report on the relationship between the two is bound to be outdated before it is even pub- lished. While this study tries to take a contextual approach to problem solving in the Western Balkans, its recommendations are best understood when viewed in combination with the snapshot picture of the regional and international state of play at the time of writing. Research for this book was concluded on 31 May 2007.
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The Way Back: Brain Drain and Prosperity in the Western Balkans

The Way Back: Brain Drain and Prosperity in the Western Balkans

While it would be counterproductive for the EU to obstruct or end migration from the Western Balkans, the sheer number of people leaving the region – and its effects on local economies[r]

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Intemperate weather in violent times – narratives from the Western Balkans during the Little Ice Age (17-18th centuries)

Intemperate weather in violent times – narratives from the Western Balkans during the Little Ice Age (17-18th centuries)

volume. The starting point for history – LIA climate connection in the Western Balkans was the ‘Long war’ (1593-1606), followed by the Morea war (1684-1699) in the south of the Balkan Peninsula, and the Holy League war (1683-1699), happening in the vast area of Europe, from Vienna to Skopje and to Sarajevo. The next century brought several shorter, though not less detrimental conflicts – 1714- 18, 1736-39, 1787-91, involving territories in the Adriatic hinterland, Ottoman Bosnia and Serbia, with Transdanubian parts as well (Aksan, 2007). Impacts of wars were manifold, starting from forceful army provisions and the requisition of men, food, and animals, adding up to already strained food production, distribution and supply during the LIA period. Brigandage and wartime pillage destroyed some agricultural areas and settlements; transportation and market disturbances impeded regular food distribution, which increased commodity prices and creation of black-market, smuggling, population movements and migration, spread of disease too, as epidemics usually followed troop movements. Besides this external violence, the inner situation deteriorated due to the ‘violence from within’, evidenced in the chronicle from Sarajevo, where local magnates ( ayans ) and janissary troops raged against Christians and Jews, but also against the Ottoman emperor and his governor, the Bosnian pasha (Koller, 2004). Urban unrests against corruption, and relating Ottoman government inefficiency, high food prices and market manipulation, as well as guerilla attacks on army troops ( uskok s and hayduk s), produced a ‘culture of violence’ and, accordingly, as ways of coping with pressure – a variety of ‘economies of violence’ (Bracewell, 1992; Mayhew, 2008; Esmer, 2014, 163-199).
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Transition Process in the Western Balkans: How Much Successful Is This Story?

Transition Process in the Western Balkans: How Much Successful Is This Story?

The last enlargement of the European Union put Western Balkans countries into focus of integration, and thus the countries became an area where future integration is expected. Future enlargement of the European Union depends on the success of the previous European Union accession, as well as on the achieved results of the transition process in the Western Balkans, since these countries are not on the same level as the de- veloped European countries or new member states. The region contains small countries that are at different stages on their road towards membership. Transition is a comprehensive process of economic and political reforms that creates many shocks in the economy, and when this process occurs in a politically unstable and war environment, as the case being with the Western Balkans, the results may be very unfavorable. Formal agreements improved the relations between these countries and the European Union, thereby had an influ- ence on risk reduction and increased business transparency, resulting in a growing interest of foreign inves- tors for the region. Despite increased investments in the region and rapid economic growth, Western Balkan countries have only 21% (Albania) and 52% (Croatia) of the average European Union Gross Domestic Product (GDP) per capita, indicating the need for faster implementation of reforms and individual involve- ment of countries into the process of European integration. There is a significant development gap between Western Balkan countries, so observing the region as a whole and applying a singular strategy in the sense of its economic leveling and the process of European Union accession would have a negative impact on Croatia, as the most developed country of the region.
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Patterns of Constrains in Access to Finance for SMEs in the Western Balkans Region

Patterns of Constrains in Access to Finance for SMEs in the Western Balkans Region

What is the best model for growth and if we have it, what is the best way to implement it? These are fundamental questions in economic growth theory. Even when the same economic model is implemented in different counties the results we get are not always the same. This is so because there are many more factors influencing the model at the time when the ceteris paribus condition is removed. In order to get a glimpse of these other factors that may make a country perform better or worse than others the best approach is to make a comparison between them. Using four categories for classifying and measuring credit- constrained status for firms, this study is focusing on comparing constrains patterns in access to finance between countries in the Western Balkans region. For the analysis are used data from the World Bank-Enterprise Survey. We found that financial constrains are one of the top constrains for SMEs in the region. Also the level of integration doesn’t seem to influence the financial constrains level. For some of the countries in our analysis the perception does not reflect their comparable constrain level. Size, as expected, results negatively correlated with financial constrains and this pattern is consistent for all countries. And at last the financial deepening doesn’t seem to influence on easing financial constrains for any of the groups. This study is not focused in explaining the difference in the SMEs financial constrains patterns. The aim is to identify the best performing models and to set a track for further studies which will seek to understand the factors which characterize those countries whose models seem to have worked better.
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Enlargement of the EU towards the Western Balkans in the light of the Treaty of Lisbon

Enlargement of the EU towards the Western Balkans in the light of the Treaty of Lisbon

The European Council in March 2003 reiterated that the future of the Western Balkans was the EU and promised the Union's full support to Balkan countries for consolidating democracy, stability and promoting economic development. Integration of Western Balkans into European structures is a top priority for the Union. The enduring extension and signing of the Athens treaty in April 2003 should inspire and encourage the Western Balkan countries to follow up on the successful reform path and to step up efforts in this direction. However, the EU stresses that the speed of the Western Balkans movement towards the EU lies in the hands of these countries and depends on the performance of each country in implementing the relevant reforms set out by the Copenhagen European Council and the Stabilization and Association process. The main points that they need to complement to make possible the implementation of these reforms are:
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Developing Security Community in the Western Balkans: The Role of the EU and NATO

Developing Security Community in the Western Balkans: The Role of the EU and NATO

referendum according to established liberal democratic principles. These facts demonstrate that a security community is possible, but remains rather weak and under-developed at this stage. In other words, the Western Balkans have accomplished the first tier of security community development, are beginning to demonstrate some characteristics inherent to the second tier, but are still far from internalizing the third tier. A significant amount of ‘nascent’ conditions exist – precipitating factors such as external third parties, the promise of EU and NATO membership, heightened trade and economic possibilities, and the need for contained security – as do a number of ‘ascendant’ conditions, such as powerful IO actors and a process of social learning. But the region is still considerably far from approaching the ‘mature’ phase of a security community. The early phases of security community that are apparent are clearly supported by the involvement of external actors, as our hypothesis anticipated. It is no mistake that the Adriatic Group comprises the two countries in the region that have reached EU candidate status (Croatia and Macedonia). While Albania lags behind, it has still made substantial progress with the help of international organizations. It is also in these three countries where the chances for a permanent peace and the non-violent resolution of conflict seem the most plausible, though field research is necessary to confirm this.
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Do the Western Balkans face a coming Russian storm?

Do the Western Balkans face a coming Russian storm?

On 6 February, the European Commission published its new enhanced Strategy for the Western Balkans, that included refining the accession process for Serbia and Montenegro.[10] These p[r]

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From myth to reality: How to understand Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans

From myth to reality: How to understand Turkey’s role in the Western Balkans

In interviews in Ankara, senior Turkish officials emphasise that Turkey is supportive of EU enlargement in the Western Balkans, and they express frustration that Europeans fail to see[r]

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Assessing regional integration and business potential in the Western Balkans

Assessing regional integration and business potential in the Western Balkans

Related analysis however, shows that trade patterns in the region are unfavorable: exports mainly consist of unskilled-labor-, or natural-resource-intensive products. This pattern makes most countries vulnerable to low-wage competition from Asia and other regions. Moreover, buyer-driven trade is dominant while producer- driven trade is slowly emerging (with exception of Romania). During the 1990s, all countries of the Western Balkans region experienced a period of transition and ethnic conflict, along with a decline in the standards of living and the impediment of economic growth. World Bank experts underline poverty, unemployment, social cohesion and inadequate governance as the common challenges for all countries of the region (The World Bank Policy Research Working Paper, http://www.wds.worldbank.org). Nonetheless, the status and ‘distance’ from the European Union is diff erentiated across Western Balkan countries, along with their level of democratization and economic recovery. Thus, the deterioration of inter-ethnic relations and the absence of multicultural policies have been a major obstacle for stability and prosperity in the region (Petričušić, 200 5).
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"The Linguistics of Ethnic Nationalism in the Western Balkans"

"The Linguistics of Ethnic Nationalism in the Western Balkans"

Newspaper titles, parts and paragraphs predominantly demonstrated nationalism, ideology and politics. Reference to whole articles was omitted because of the length of the paper. In the course of the text analysis, we looked at factors of nomination, noun-construction and the constructions of facts. Very often interviews of the selected Western Balkans leaders included carefully selected verb-process to denote and highlight the responsibility of the act in connection to the other ethnic groups. Then, most of the statements by the Western Balkans political leaders predominantly include words “they,” “their” and negative presuppositions. These carefully selected words were mostly used for hidden and open subjective generalization and collectivization, whereby everything was ethnically divided into us and them. Detailed analysis indicated that presuppositions, selected nouns and noun-construction were used for adding a value and unique ethnic position in comparison to other ethnic groups. Finally, the number of newspaper articles used association and quantification to distinguish one ethnic group from the other. Some of the prevailing terminology in interviews of the Western Balkans leaders included: “motherland”, “war” “Serbs/Croats/ Bosnians (Bošnjaks)/Montenegrins”, “ethnic violence”, “borders”, “violence” “loyalty” “aggression”, “national sentiments”, “multi- ethnicity”, “legitimacy”, “discrimination”, “national feelings” “history” historical memory” “corruption”, “constitution”, “rights”, “ethnic representation”, “peace”, “stability”, “cooperation”, “genocide”, “crimes”, “great powers”, “hostilities”, “apathy”, “depopulation,” “take measure”, “normalization”, “Russia”, “Turkey”, “EU”, “NATO”, “national unity”, “patriotism”, “national project”, and others. The frequency of these terms clearly indicates how ethnic nationalism shape politics, policies and diplomacy of the Western Balkans countries.
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BREXIT IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE ENLARGMEMENT OF THE WESTERN BALKANS

BREXIT IMPLICATIONS FOR THE FUTURE ENLARGMEMENT OF THE WESTERN BALKANS

Apart from political consequences, the Brexit it‘s expected to have also the economic impact for the EU. The UK made the third highest net contribution to the EU budget, €7.1 Billion, following France with €7.4 Billion and Germany with €17.7 Billion. Therefore the economic impact relates also to the EU’s multiannual financial framework (MFF) for both the current (2014-2020) and the next planning period.The negotiations around and adoption of the (2021-2027), MFF will become more stressful and challenging than before (Dana, 2016). Futhermore, once Britain leaves the European Union, there will be consequences for the EU as a trading power. Britain was, in 2015, the world’s fifth-largest economy and Europe’s second-largest. It was tenth-biggest exporter of merchandise, and the second-biggest of commercial services (Schmucker, 2016). According to the (DG for Internal Policies Report, 2017) the volume of trade between the UK and EU27 is very substantial, with EU27 enjoying a large surplus. The EU27’s exports to the UK totalled €306 billion, whereas it imports amounted to only a little above half as much, at €184 billion.Further- more, in 2015, 76% of the Western Balkans’ total trade was with the EU 28. Within the EU 28, the UK is a minor export market for the Western Balkans compared with Italy, Germany and Central Europe. These markets are unlikely to change because of Brexit (Butler, 2016).
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Cyclical Behavior of Fiscal Policy in the Western Balkans

Cyclical Behavior of Fiscal Policy in the Western Balkans

It is widely known from the Keynesian view that fiscal policy is usually a tool for dealing with output fluctuations, but growing literature is shown ambiguous results. In the last decade studies have shown that for developing countries fiscal policy behavior has been mainly pro-cyclical. A pro-cyclical fiscal policy from Keynesian view and also from the neo-classical view is suboptimal, therefore not desired. Frankel et al. (2013) brings empirical evidence that many developing countries are graduating, so passing the school of using pro-cyclical policies. After the 2009 crisis the focus on using fiscal policy has come back and better understanding of its effect especially in times of crisis are needed. The purpose of this paper is to study if the Western Balkans, have graduated from the cyclical behavior of fiscal policy using different approaches. Additionally, we intent to measure the impacts in the fiscal behavior rising from different structural shocks the economies of the Western Balkans might suffer, including output temporary crisis.
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Employment Policy and the Labor Mobility in the Western Balkans

Employment Policy and the Labor Mobility in the Western Balkans

A principle question becomes the issue of why employment policies are important to study? The answer is because of the high number of Balkan citizens who are registered as job seekers at the Employment Office. Directly related to the employment policies is unemployment as a very meaningful and complex social phenomena. Even though a very significant number of researchers deals with labor and unemployment issues; it is still not so helpful for alleviating unemployment, especially in the Balkans in the post communist era. Unemployment strikes young men, women with low education, those without qualifications and low skills, people with disabilities, the sick, immigrants and minorities.
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