Infra-Balkan Relations and External Influences on SEE Countries

Chair: Serena Giusti (Sant’Anna School of Advanced Studies, Pisa)
Infra-Balkan Relations and External Influences on SEE Countries

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Monday, April 23rd
3:00 PM

The Turkish Moonwalk-Who is responsible for the backsliding of Turkish accession into the EU?


McKenzie OTUS, James Madison University

3:00 PM - 3:30 PM

Recently, there has been much public debate on the deterioration of the EU-Turkish relationship in terms of accession prospects for Turkey, many often blaming the democratic backsliding within the country for the declining likelihood of accession. Enlargement literature generally treats Turkey as a sui generis case for reasons such as geographic location and religious background. This paper, however, considers Turkey a sui generis case for a different reason: it is the only candidate country so far to transition away from, rather than towards, democracy. The main aim of this paper is to address whether the deterioration of the prospects of Turkish accession to the EU has been more the result of Turkish or EU actions. By analyzing the development of Turkish accession through changes over time of indicators of democratic backsliding and economic interdependence between Turkey and the EU, the paper shows which actor has caused the pulling back of relations in a given time period. This study aims to fill a gap in enlargement theory by analyzing a factor traditionally overlooked, regime change. Preliminary empirical observations show that, as Turkey progressed from asymmetric to symmetric economic interdependence with the EU, accession conditions began to delay until the halt we witness today. The analysis demonstrates that, with Turkey sliding towards illiberal democracy and progressing independently as a growing economic power, the EU has lost the leverage it once had over Turkey. This outcome allows some predictions on the future of the EU-Turkish relationship and the possible paths it may continue upon.

3:30 PM

European Union Accession and Migrant Smuggling in Serbia


Robert STOKKA, James Madison University

3:30 PM - 4:00 PM

On February 6th, 2018, the European Commission adopted an EU Western Balkans Strategy for accession by 2025. Serbia was named the front runner for membership based on the accession conditions that are required to be completed. The strategy is controversial because the region is struggling with correct implementation to sustain the Union’s values of democracy, rule of law and human rights. With the recent migration crisis, routes through Greece, Former Yugoslavia Republic of Macedonia and Serbia are being frequently used to reach EU member states. The goal for migrants is not to settle in the Western Balkans but use the pathway to gain access to the European Union. From 2009 to 2017, this has opened up a highly profitable market for organized crime networks that already had problems in the region. When analyzing chapters 23 & 24 of the EU’s accession criteria, the country of Serbia as a front runner raises concerns with the problem of migrant smuggling. The smuggling networks are being used by migrants for their expert knowledge of the region and ways around migration policies. There are reports by the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees and several non-governmental organizations on human rights abuses during the smuggling process. The networks have created a fully functioning illegal business that brings in millions of dollars each year; this is not acceptable for the European Union. If Serbia is accepted into the EU, this will dangerously set a new standard for membership and possibly develop future problems for the Union.

4:30 PM

Accession Of Serbia And Montenegro To The EU-The Frontrunners Or Laggers In Public Sector Reforms?


Dora LAPAINE, University of Zagreb

4:30 PM - 5:00 PM

In the region of the Western Balkans, Serbia and Montenegro are candidate countries of the European Union and European Commission is predicting that they could become members of the European Union by 2025. The accession of member states to the European Union cannot be discussed without the explanation of the term of Europeanisation. In the paper it will be shown what Europeanisation is, and the way that countries must change on their national level. The process of Europeanisation is long and complicated, candidate countries must adopt and implement all the rules of the European Union. Important changes also need to be made in the public administration of candidate countries. An important role in the process of changing the public administrations and governance in the candidate countries have European Commission and SIGMA. SIGMA has developed set of principles of Public Administration for EU candidate countries and potential countries. Those principles are the foundation of the Public Administration Reform that has been going on in the countries of the Western Balkans. Progress reports of the European Commission and Monitoring and Assessment reports of SIGMA are showing how candidate countries are approaching the Public Administration Reform and what kind of progress they have made in Public Administration over the years. The aim of this research is to show some of the changes in Public Administration that have been made in Serbia and Montenegro through the process of accession to the European Union.

5:00 PM

Serbian and Russian Relations: The Future Implications for Serbia’s Accession to the European Union


Richard SHAPIRO, James Madison University

5:00 PM - 5:30 PM

Russian interference within Western Balkan affairs has successfully inhibited their accession to the European Union (EU). This paper explains how the relationship between Serbia and Russia developed since the end of the Cold War and what the foreign relations between the two countries, and other external actors, will look like in the future. Exploring this relationship will illustrate the importance of historical backgrounds within international relations and could give insight on what Serbia’s future accession to the EU will look like. The first part of this paper will present a brief background on EU relations with Serbia and the power of Serbian minorities in neighboring countries. Afterwards, a comparative event history analysis and quantitative data from the Statistical Office of the Republic of Serbia, the Government of the Republic of Serbia, the Serbian National Bank, Eurobarometer and the Observatory of Economic Complexity will be used together to present evidence of Russian interference throughout different institutional aspects of Serbia. Agreements, public opinion, direct and indirect actions will be used to assess the amount of Russian interference and its effect on Serbia and the Serbian minorities that exist in other countries within the Western Balkans. Additionally, an analysis of Serbian political parties and the recent elections bolsters the finding that the current two-track policy, which involves extensive cooperation with Russia and Serbia, will reach a breaking point and Serbia will have to choose one primary ally.

5:30 PM

Taking the Temperature of Public Opinion: U.S. Intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina


Ciara WATSON, James Madison University

5:30 PM - 6:00 PM

The United States and the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) initiated a military intervention in 1995 within Bosnia and Herzegovina, after years of indecisiveness regarding who was responsible for intervention and the American public’s opposition to U.S. involvement. The pattern of U.S. intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina was guided by the nature of U.S. domestic political attitudes. Prior to the breakout of conflict in 1992, the American public was not primarily concerned with the situation in the former Yugoslavia and particularly in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The administration of U.S. President George H.W. Bush was selectively engaged in the situation in Bosnia and preferred to defer from direct engagement in the initial months of the conflict. While under the leadership of President Clinton, the United States had a more engaged approach due to the “CNN Effect” and the drastic shifts in public opinion leading up to the 1996 presidential election. The paper will analyze the motivation behind the U.S. intervention in Bosnia and Herzegovina, then it will assess the geostrategic and moral considerations of the United States relative to American public opinion during that time. In order to analyze the case in Bosnia and Herzegovina, it will continue to discuss the historical events and how public opinion shifted as a result of these events. This paper concludes by discussing the public opinion trends and the political rationale for intervention that was ultimately driven by concerns over the upcoming presidential election.

6:00 PM

Kosovo’s external relations and their impact on peace and stability in the Balkans


Elmedina BAJGORA, University of Prishtina

6:00 PM - 6:30 PM

Before the conflict between Kosovo and Serbia, the Balkan region or the formally considered countries of South East Europe (SEE) were at different stages of political development. The reasons for this development varied from country to country, but ethnic conflict, political instability, and a timid approach to structural reform characterized several of them. Consequently, unlike the present, the Balkan region was immensely involved in political conflict and the notion of peace and stability was scarcely recognized. Hence, the aim of this paper is to briefly analyze the cause of the conflict in order to comprehend how the stability formed in the Balkans and the impact of Kosovo’s external relations in achieving this stability. The paper presents options and the relevance of the EU in maintaining this stability following the conclusion of agreements made in regard to Kosovo’s relations to other respective states. These options are set in the context of the overall experience of the EU enlargement process, the specifics of the Western Balkan integration process and the particular situation of Kosovo. In conclusion, the paper deals with the ways and process of building capacities to implement healthy relations with other states in order to promote stability and considers the main actors and structures that are necessary in achieving these relations.