With on-line journalism increasingly fostering a spirit of intolerance and unaccountability, more effective regulation – including the licensing of on-line journalists – needs to be considered as a potential remedy to hate speech on-line.
Archive for category: Western Balkans
Whilst nationalism continues to rear its head in the former Yugoslavia, so language will continue to act as a divisive, as opposed to unifying, force.
Though Turkey – which is seeking to re-build its once flourishing Ottoman-era ties with most Balkan states – is increasingly portrayed as a reliable business partner, rather then an aggressive and neo-imperialist player, further steps are required to ease anxiety towards its policies.
Faced with outstanding conflicts over sovereignty in the Western Balkans, the EU’s most efficacious strategy depends upon acknowledging and leveraging its own considerable limitations as an international actor.
What happened to writers whose once-established literary and linguistic culture faced a campaign of obliteration, such as that conducted during the post-communist transition by secessionist elites and populists in the former Yugoslavia?
Reeling European governments and the Brussels bureaucracy will become even less patient than before in dealing with a region where their serial failures to enforce their myth of civic identity and multi-ethnic integration have undermined the narrative of Europe as a united, just, effective and relevant international actor.
Constructing creative and useful approaches to both former Ottoman peripheries – the Balkans and the Middle East – requires shedding tattered notions of Western “leadership” and recognizing opportunities inherent in the acknowledgement of one’s own limits.
While the EU is closing the final chapters of the accession negotiations with Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro are keenly eyeing the prospect of becoming member candidates. However, can the EU integrate the whole region, including Kosovo and Bosnia?
Whilst business-related initiatives continue to drive regional and cross-border cooperation, politics and implementation capacity have failed to live-up to the standards expected by the plethora of international bodies engaged in strengthening this key area.
Settlements in Bosnia and Kosovo (the former is no more “settled” than the latter) are possible only if local contestants — who know each other so well — expel international mavens from their discussions and take each other on directly.
Rešenja u Bosni i na Kosovu (prvi slučaj nije ništa više “rešen” u odnosu na potonji) su moguća samo ukoliko lokalni suprostavljeni akteri – koji se uzajamno jako dobro poznaju – iz svojih diskusija izbace međunarodne stručnjake i direktno se upuste u diskusiju jedni sa drugima.
Though the prospect of EU candidate status spurred on some very real changes in the region in 2010 – particularly concerning regional co-operation and tackling corruption – several scandals, especially those in Kosovo, threaten to inhibit further progress.
For the Western Balkans, the global financial crisis has exposed a plethora shortcomings in its transition to free market economics and resolution of outstanding disputes.
Recent developments – particularly a proposal to recognize Macedonia as the ‘Republic of Vardar Macedonia’ – have demonstrated that, contrary to the fears of some, the debt crisis will not impede Greece’s capacity for resolving regional disputes.
The Sarajevo summit once again re-affirmed the impression that the EU is attempting to solve the region’s problems on an ad hoc basis, without a clear commitment and without offering anything that hasn’t already been on the agenda since 2000.
The economic crisis – which has eroded the EU’s solidarity and diluted its appetite for further enlargement – will serve to fuel populism and undermine the resolution of outstanding conflicts in the Balkans.
Grassroots involvement in conflict transformation is key to overcoming the prejudice and mistrust that lies at the centre of many of the current problems facing the southern Balkans.
Russia’s re-emergence in the Balkans – thanks, in part, to financial loans, energy investments and the provision of emergency relief – could leave Serbia in the middle of a conundrum as the region itself increasingly becomes a point of contestation between the West and Russia.
Three key decisions at the end of 2009 – visa liberalization, Serbia’s application for EU membership and the European Court of Human Rights’ ruling on Bosnia and Herzegovina’s constitution – provide significant momentum for the Western Balkans in 2010.
Whilst two recently published reports on reform and competitiveness demonstrate progress by several Western Balkan countries, further structural reforms are required to mitigate the impact of the global economic downturn.
Whilst the issue of devolution and decentralisation continues to cause controversy and conjecture throughout the Western Balkans, a new report concludes that regions with more powers and competencies are economically more successful.