Chair: Stelios Tsiaras

Discussants: Tamara Popic & Giacomo Tagiuri

Panel 1

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The Struggle to Share: Why National Governments in Europe Respond Differently to the Introduction of Sharing Economy Platforms into Traditional Service Sectors


Toni-Anne Barry, James Madison University

The rapid growth of sharing economy platforms such as Uber and Airbnb have garnered harsh criticism from national governments around the world. In the U.S. where these platforms originated, legal battles across the states are still on going, but robust public demand and support for these platforms ensure that lawmakers do not regulate them out of existence. In Europe, public engagement has yet to reach the point in which it will seriously affect the regulatory dispositions of lawmakers, as outlined in this paper. For this reason, it is apparent that European states are focusing more heavily on other factors outside of consumer demand. This paper examines the regulatory crackdowns in Italy on ridesharing and France on home-sharing to identify the predominant factors that are leading governments to impose tough restrictions on these companies. By identifying unremarkable levels of public opinion, current and past political landscapes that heavily favor traditional service providers, and differing environments for innovation, it is evident that the leading contributors to a more regulated Europe are largely caused by the political capital of interests groups as well as cultural and historical aspects such as long-standing protection of taxi unions and the affinity for centralized government control, both of which, are difficult to maintain in the presence of the sharing economy.

Environmental Laws in Kosovo: Implementation of the SAA


Hana Bekteshi, University of Prishtina

Kosovo is in its early stages of meeting the required standards of the European Union (EU) acquis, in order to meet the integration process. The constant and rapid need of environmental laws in Europe has made the integration process even more demanding and challenging for Kosovo. This paper presents an analysis of the implementation of environmental legislation in Kosovo, based on EU standards. Through a comparative approach of some of the EU Commission reports of the recent years, national reports on the implementation of environmental provisions, such as the National Implementation Program of the Stabilization and Association Agreement, as well as reports of the Kosovo Environmental Protection Agency, this paper analyzes the progress that has been made. However, this paper also sheds light on the absence of implementation of EU standards in Kosovo, in order to fulfill the requirements of the last few years. Overall, findings show that the adaption of the environmental provisions based on EU standards has gradually made significant improvements in Kosovo’s journey to EU association. Yet, the partial implementation of EU standards into national environmental legislation highlights the necessary issues which need to be addressed, in order to meet the requirements based on the acquis within the given timeframes. This indicates that a lot remains far from being completed in regard to the approximation of Kosovo’s legislation with the EU acquis and reaching its implementation.

Enlargement Policy Consensus Among the EU Member States: The Question of Kosovo’s Independence and its Effects on Serbia’s Accession


Hannah Fahringer, James Madison University

In a continuously evolving world system, it is more crucial than ever for the European Union (EU) to work as a cohesive and unified bloc. Yet this is hindered by the EU’s inability to fully integrate member states and futile enlargement objectives. The EU’s ambitions in the Western Balkans include a full implementation of European values within the region by making membership an incentive. This tactic is two-fold; it increases the EU’s influence in the Western Balkans by negating Russia’s power, and it unifies a larger portion of the continent. However, the current enlargement policy is not sufficient enough to withstand Kosovo’s disputed independence. This debate creates a dichotomy between member states that support Kosovo’s independence and those that do not. Thus, this paper aims to answer the question of how much is Serbia willing to compromise in order to become an EU member state, and how much is the EU willing to compromise to strengthen its influence in the Western Balkans. To do so, a case study comparing Serbia and Croatia’s accession processes will be presented. This paper will analyse the effect Kosovo’s status will have on the accession process in terms of member state consensus. Finally, this paper will advance recommendations for ways in which the EU can adjust the accession for the special case of Serbia in order to maintain influence in the Western Balkans.

The Minority Communities’ Rights in the Republic of Kosovo under the EU Law


Ilir Hajraj, University of Prishtina

This paper scrutinizes the legal rights of ethnic minorities in the Republic of Kosovo. Specifically, it addresses the constitutional regime and the principles regarding minorities therein, meaning the variety of mechanisms for the promotion and protection of minority rights in domestic order of the Republic of Kosovo on one hand, and in the European Union integration path on the other. The paper starts off with the introduction to the topic, explaining the concept of minorities and continuing to explain fundamentals of the constitutional system of Kosovo, confining to the key principles of minority rights’ protection framework. The paper proceeds to explain the institutional role and guaranteed rights for minorities in the public institutions, both central and local level. Then, it explains the relations between European Union and Kosovo determining the nature of the relations, and the obligations of Kosovo, confining to the aspect of the human rights in general, and minority rights in particular. Moreover, the paper shows the report regarding the implementation of minority rights on the ground in Kosovo, issued by the European Commission for the last years, highlighting the fields where the progress has been made, and where the improvements are required. The paper concludes that Kosovo’s legal framework broadly guarantees the protection of human and fundamental rights in line with European standards, but the implementation continues to remain challenging.