Democracy without institutions

By Dragan Koprivica | Podgorica

What are the accomplishments of the European integration process in Bosnia & Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia and Serbia? Despite being at different stages, the process has still not been able to sufficiently affirm the constitutional commitment of the tripartite division of powers in these states and bring about an equal balance between them. Respect for this commitment is of fundamental importance for the operation of both the political and the overall social system.

Time to learn from what has worked

By Kristof Bender | Vienna

The EU accession process can inspire reforms, increase prosperity, strengthen democracy and help transform the politics of the Western Balkans. In order to achieve this, it needs to be credible and fair. It needs to provide clear guidance to politicians, inspire civil servants and help them to focus, and signal to civil society where a country stands in any given area of reform. Currently the EU accession process does not achieve this.

Europe’s blind spot: the streets rising up against local autocrats

By Ana Maria Luca | Bucharest

In mid-February thousands of opposition supporters clashed with police in an anti-government rally against Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama’s cabinet, demanding its resignation and early elections. Although Albania is set to start its accession negotiations with the European Union, Rama’s rule has backtracked in terms of democracy and the fight against corruption and organised crime.

“A time of monsters once more”: The danger of losing the Western Balkans

By Jasmin Mujanović | North Carolina

“How does Slobodan Milošević’s will begin?” asks a Serbian joke from the 1990s. “In the unlikely event of my death…”

As the anti-regime protests in Serbia enter their third month, that sardonic quip captures much of the mood on the streets of Belgrade, Novi Sad, Kragujevac and dozens of other towns across the country. For weeks, thousands have been airing their grievances against the increasingly autocratic government of Aleksandar Vučić and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS), often by drawing direct parallels between the current president and the former strongman, under whose tenure the former served as Minister of Information.