Europe’s Diplomacy on Public Display: The EU and the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue

  • Katarina Ćuković
The European Union’s (EU) role in the negotiations between Belgrade and Pristina can be assessed in two different periods. The first period can be described as ‘increased mediation activity’, where one highlight was the signing of the ‘Brussels Agreement’ in 2013 under the supervision of the EU High Representative (HR) Catherine Ashton. By not referring to Kosovo’s status and softening disputed parties’ attitudes towards each other, the HR and the newly-created European External Action Service (EEAS) managed to prove both internally and externally that the EU is a capable and effective mediator. The following period can be labelled as ‘decreased mediation activity’, representing the translation of the Brussels Agreement into reality. During this phase, the dialogue was challenged not only by disagreements between Belgrade and Pristina, but also by disagreements from within the EU.

Populism and Anti-Establishment Politics in Kosovo: A Case Study of Lëvizja Vetëvendosje

  • Bilge Yabanci
Few studies have systematically examined the rising political and social unrest in the Balkans. This paper investigates the local dynamics and consequences of widespread anti-establishment discontent in Kosovo through the analytical framework of populism. By focusing on the case of Lëvizja Vetëvendosje (LVV), the paper sets out to consider two related questions: the unique populist style of the LVV and the complex reasons behind its electoral breakthrough and continuing support among various groups. Based on a qualitative documentary analysis of the party programme, manifesto, party publications, speeches of the leadership and interviews, the paper finds that the LVV successfully melds a populist political style, leftist/social democratic agenda and contentious politics as a means to disperse its message.

Unification and Secession: How do Votes in International Organizations influence Cost-benefit Analysis?

  • Alban Lauka
Unification or secession efforts, especially those based on nationalistic principles, have been made continuously since at least the 19th century, but the way states exert their influence on the international arena has undergone major transformations. Could these transformations change the motivation of certain states to unify or that of different regions to secede? What is the benefit of having one or more additional state representatives in international organizations? To answer these questions, this paper examines the importance that voting processes in international organizations can have for the cost/benefit calculations of states or particular regions in their national unification or secession efforts.

Conclusion: The Politics of Numbers – Censuses in the Post-Yugoslav States

  • Soeren Keil
This conclusion poses a number of questions related to policy issues and the censuses in the post-Yugoslav states. It is argued that censuses are always more than just a technical counting exercise. Census discussions in Western Europe tend to focus on regional funding, infrastructure support and long-term policy planning, and can be as contested and heated as questions over identity, religion and mother tongue in the post-Yugoslav states. However, identity-related questions in an area in which identity is still in flux and in which fundamental demographic changes have taken place recently, prevent any focus on more policy-oriented discussions.

Kosovo 2011 Census: Contested Census within a Contested State

  • Mehmet Musaj
This paper analyzes the census in Kosovo in 2011 with specific focus on the political implications and ethnic minority rights. A key conclusion is that this census highly influences public policy-making, and with regard to minority rights, the census data, in comparison to previous estimates and Kosovo Constitutional provisions, is not favorable to ethnic minorities. Expressing a lower number of minorities in total terms, the 2011 census explicitly reduced the representation of minorities at the central and local institutions, and consequently affected budget allocations. However, we must be aware that to some extent, because of the full boycott in the North by local Serbs, and the partial boycott in the South by the Roma and Serb communities, comparisons are limited and the data needs to be analyzed with care.

Introduction: The Politics of Numbers in the Post-Yugoslav States

  • Soeren Keil,
  • Valery Perry
Since 1991, every country in the former Yugoslavia has either held, or has at-tempted to hold, a census. The most recent efforts occurred in or around 2011, reflecting both the interest of harmonizing with the European Union’s (EU) own 2011 census round, as well as the need for accurate data in a region that has experienced significant population flux in the past generation. Macedonia’s 2011 census was cancelled during the enumeration period due to objections related to the counting procedure, but grounded in politics related to the Macedonian and Albanian populations, and representation provisions in the Ohrid Framework Agreement that ended the violent conflict in the country in 2001. Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) collected data for the first time since the war in 2013, but as of this writing (October 2015) the results have not been finalised.

Building State Failure in Kosovo?

  • Joseph Coelho
Two recent books on Kosovo offer some compelling insights and answers as to why international state-builders stumbled in Kosovo: Elton Skendaj’s, Creating Kosovo: International Oversight and the Making of Ethical Institutions and Andrea Lorenzo Capussela’s State-Building in Kosovo: Democracy, Corruption and the EU in the Balkans. Both books are welcome additions to the growing discourse on state-building and touch on some of the more important themes that have recently dominated the literature, including the principle of local ownership, the limitations of technocratic approaches to state-building, and the dilemmas of political corruption and state capture in postwar societies.

Unstructured Daily Encounters: Serbs in Kosovo after the 2008 Declaration of Independence

  • Orli Fridman
This text focuses on Serb-Albanian relations in Kosovo in the aftermath of the February 2008 declaration of independence. It examines encounters between Serbs and Albanians taking place in the capital Prishtina. My analysis centers on those encounters from the point of view of Serbs from Kosovo, mostly those living south of the Ibar River in the area of the municipality of Gračanica, who work in the capital, commute daily into the city, and thus partake in the public and social life there. Such interactions are scarce, as Serb communities in Kosovo are mostly segregated and disconnected from the newborn state. Yet, they do take place on a small scale. I analyze daily encounters by looking at the imaginary and existing boundaries people have to cross if they choose participation over isolation.

Rule of Law Through Judicial Reform: A Key to the EU Accession of the Western Balkans

  • Ardit Memeti
This paper focuses on the importance of judiciary reform as a key segment of rule of law enforcement for the EU accession of Western Balkan countries as a process mainly driven by EU assistance. The Western Balkan (WB) countries, namely Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia are considered 'potential candidates' for European Union (EU) membership. In the EU accession process of these countries, strengthening the rule of law is considered to be of vital importance. Although the concept of the rule of law is much broader, when it comes to the rule of law requirement, judiciary reform represents the most significant component for reform in the EU accession of Western Balkan countries. Judiciary reform is so crucial to the rule of law reform that it is at times interchangeably used as having the same meaning.

The April Agreement – A Step towards Normalization between Belgrade and Pristina?

  • Andreas Ernst
What does it take to win the Nobel Prize for Peace? Alfred Nobel was quite precise: You have to be "the person who shall have done the most or the best work for fraternity between nations“. To the surprise of many it was not only the representatives of the Albanian and Serbian lobbying groups in the US, but also the European Social Democrats which came to the conclusion that EU diplomacy chief Catherine Ashton, Serbian Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and his Kosovo counterpart Hashim Thaçi had met Alfred Nobel’s description. Their achievment: The Agreement they signed on April 19th in Brussels. The American lobbyists call it a „key and historic watershed“, the Social democrats more cautious „a window of opportunity“ to substantially advance peace.