|Tuesday, April 24th|
Lyra ÇELA, University of Prishtina
3:00 PM - 3:30 PM
The use of social media as a weapon in contemporary conflicts poses serious threats to global security and peace. The recent wars in the Middle East are the best illustration of how terrorist groups have led a global social media campaign to take their cause to every computer and mobile phone. Social media is being used as a tool to not only to radicalize, but also as a method to recruit foreign fighters. As such, social media is playing an important role in the battlefields of the world today. The number of followers of radical doctrines indicates how the expansion of radical Islam in the Western Balkans could pose a threat to the stability of the region. The case of Kosovo represents an illustrative example in this context. It is believed that around 300 Kosovar citizens have joined the terrorist organization ‘Islamic State’ in Syria and Iraq. This concerning number represents one of the largest per capita in Europe. Social media has played a central role by serving as a tool towards the radicalization and the recruitment of Kosovar citizens to foreign fights in the Middle East.
Kyle CONAHAN, James Madison University
3:30 PM - 4:00 PM
Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is very beneficial in assisting economic development in underdeveloped economies. The positive contributions can be seen in the spillover effects, employment creation, and increase in available capital. As a post conflict society, Kosovo is still rebuilding its society and institutions. Various sectors of the economy are underperforming or are not fully developed. Most noteworthy, the agricultural sector remains underproductive. The demographics and laws on the books provide positive conditions for possible investment. The average age in Kosovo is 35 and corporate taxes are very low at 10%. Industries have been privatized and several economic zones (EZs) have been established to further encourage inflows. Several industries lend themselves very well to foreign investment such as energy, agriculture, tourism and telecommunications. Yet foreign investment does not flow in at the rate that one would think. This is because of corruption and low public trust in institutions. The government of Kosovo remains a big question mark as it is unclear if contracts will be enforced and property protected. Aside from institutional problems, poor infrastructure and unreliable electricity further exacerbate the problem. Kosovo has the potential to be a productive economy, but major reforms are necessary.
Luka ABRLIC, University of Zagreb
4:30 PM - 5:00 PM
This paper examines the integration of refugees in the wake of one of the most pressing and destabilizing challenges that is facing Europe right now, and that will be the influx of refugees caused by the events in the Middle East. With the huge number of refugees flooding Europe the topic of integration has reemerged as an important issue once again and as such will be presented more concretely in this paper. The areas of employment, housing, education and health are broadly acknowledged by various authors to be key components in the integration of refugees into a new society. Therefore we will demonstrate the significance and also the main challenges Croatia is facing in those areas. Also this paper will seek to examine the profile of the Republic of Croatia in relation to the asylum seekers and analyse the regulation that has been brought both on national and local (Cities of Zagreb, Rijeka and Zadar) levels of government. The goal of this paper is to determine how successful is Croatia in its approach to the integration of refugees and more specifically how prepared are certain cities in Croatia when it comes to assisting in the integration of refugees.
Carl ANDERSON, James Madison University
5:00 PM - 5:30 PM
The Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (SFRY) existed as a peaceful country from its inception following World War II until its dissolution which began in the late 1980s. By 1992, the country ceased to exist, and wars had erupted throughout several former Yugoslav republics. In order to determine how these events unfolded, this paper first seeks to analyze ethnic relations in Yugoslavia following Tito’s death and secondly, how the deterioration among the country’s ethnic groups led to war in the early 1990s. Using path dependency theory, this paper analyzes the changes in political leadership with case studies of three Yugoslav republics and the Semi-Autonomous Region of Kosovo, and how these chains of events led to war. The shift from Titoist to nationalist leadership conveys how the environment in Yugoslav became predisposed to war. However, this paper concludes that path dependency theory cannot fully explain how war broke out, as it does not incorporate human emotions. Therefore, path dependency theory will be complemented by schismogenesis and armed mobilization theory to explain the shift from an environment predisposed to war to one engaged in civil war.
Nicholas D’AMBRA, James Madison University
5:30 PM - 6:00 PM
Croatia’s accession to the European Union in 2013 showed Western Balkan countries that EU accession is an attainable goal and a way to improve quality of life in the region. Further, the European Union is interested in accepting these countries as a way to stabilize its own neighborhood. However, one of the biggest issues for Balkan countries is eschewing histories of institutional corruption to illustrate that their institutions comply with EU standards. This paper uses lobbying regulatory typologies to understand how Balkan countries amend their lobbying laws to meet EU standards. Using the Slovenian case as a model, we compare lobbying regulations in Montenegro and Macedonia to those adopted in Slovenia. Ultimately this paper finds that lobbying regulations in Slovenia and Macedonia fit the “transparency-seeking” typology while the Montenegrin lobbying reforms match the “hard-regulatory” typology. Despite issues with implementation, Macedonian lobbying reform is closer to meeting EU standards than lobbying reform in Montenegro because the Macedonian reform closely resembles Slovenian reform that brought the nation from being considered the 17th most transparent government in Europe to the most transparent in just a few years. Ultimately, this paper concludes that lobbying reform is a tactic that western Balkan governments employ to bring their institutions in line with EU values, and that the more these reforms mirror the Slovenian case, the more likely they are to meet EU accession criteria.
Rachel YOUNG, James Madison University
6:00 PM - 6:30 PM
Security sector reform is a fairly new concept in the world of political development. Security sector reform often requires the development of various agencies and actors within the government, prompting high costs as these developments occur. However, in light of the recent economic crisis, there has been little economic growth in the Western Balkan countries. Despite this lack of growth, security sector reform has continued to occur. This paper seeks to answer to what extent each country’s economic development (or lack thereof) has impacted their security sector reform. Using the definition established by the OECD, this paper analyzes security sector reform in three countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, and Greece. The first two countries analyzed are current analyses, while the third is a historical analysis of Greece’s security sector reform including the initial security sector reform after democratization. The analysis is completed using the four sectors of security sector reform listed in the OECD’s definition – core security actors, security management and oversight bodies, justice and law enforcement institutions, and non-statutory security forces – to measure growth in the security sector. In each country analyzed, the growth in these sub-sectors of security reform will be compared to the growth or lack of growth in that country’s GDP to understand how security sector reform is financed, and if there are elements outside of a country’s GDP that impact how they fund reform of their security sectors.