A decade has passed since the extraordinary events that led to the collapse of the Leninist regimes of East and Central Europe. The decade has been filled by high expectations, noble dreams of justice and freedom, as well as by frustrations, neuroses, and painful disappointments. Throughout the last ten years of the twentieth century, some countries of East and Central Europe have initiated and consolidated viable democratic practices and institutions. Others have lagged behind and are still quasi-democracies with little prospects to be accepted into the much coveted and often idealized Western "club."
November 2002- On December 8, 2002, Serbs failed to elect a president for their republic for the third time since September. After rancorous campaigning, an October television debate, and a disturbingly strong showing by radical nationalist Vojislav Seselj in the election's first round in September, Serbs could not be bothered to come out in sufficient numbers to validate the December election between current Yugoslav President Vojislav Kostunica, nationalist firebrand Vojislav Seselj, and Borislav Pelevic. As expected, Kostunica won handily with 57.5 percent of the vote and Pelevic's performance at the polls was inconsequential. Seselj's take of 36.3 percent of the electorate, however, was both astonishing and distressing. Yet, in spite of the fact that three candidates competed for the presidency, the principal opponent of each was once again voter apathy and Serbia's threshold requirement that a minimum of 50 percent of voters vote in order to validate an election.
349. Capacity Building and Education for Stability and Integration in Kosovo and the Western Balkans
May 2008 - The Western Balkan region has three chronic problems. First, none of the states that comprise the region have the capacity to function at a reasonable level. Second, there is little co-operation between these state and no realistic long-term strategies of how to build cooperation. Finally, the entire region continues to suffer economically and is in desperate need of reforms that create a sustainable economic and social base in each country.
Nov./ Dec. 2000 - The costs of Slobodan Milosevic's rule have been enormous to American and European taxpayers. According to the U.S. General Accounting Office, direct U.S. costs for fiscal years 1992 through 2000-mainly for war-waging and peacekeeping actions-have amounted to $21.2 billion. That figure exceeds the annual gross domestic product of Yugoslavia (Serbia and Montenegro), Kosovo, and Bosnia combined. Not that the GDP is much; Milosevic transformed his economy from a mess into a basket case.
On December 4, Moldovan human rights activist Eleonora Cercavschi, a high school principal in the volatile Transnistria region, will deliver the fourth annual Ion Ratiu Democracy Lecture. She will discuss the right of children in Moldova to a quality education and to be educated in their native Romanian tongue.
In an article discussing ways to avoid Europe's energy dependency on Russia, Alexandros Petersen, advisor to the European Energy Security Initiative, argues that EU countries should "...bring non-Russian gas to European markets along a route that does not traverse territory over which Russia has influence."