Eastern Europe Publications

144. Bulgaria After The Elections: Reform Process Underway

Jul 07, 2011
October 1997 - Over the course of 1996, economic collapse and prolonged political malfeasance seriously shook the integrity of the Bulgarian body politic. As a result, the government of the "new democratic majority," elected in April 1997, has taken a number of extraordinary measures to recapture the confidence of the population and the international community. Top priorities for the new cabinet of Ivan Kostov have been to attempt to liquidate organized crime, to rebuild the macro-economic and the state institutional frameworks, and to aid the population, which has been battered by economic decay. Public perceptions have made these tasks all the more difficult. The government has had to push for reforms before a population that for years has been exposed to the schemes of many previous "reformers." more

261. Criminalized Conflict: The Clandestine Political Economy of War and Peace in the Balkans

Jul 07, 2011
October 2002- Contemporary war economies in places such as the Balkans, the Caucasus, Central Asia, and West Africa tend to be clandestine economies, utilizing criminal actors as combatants and smuggling networks and black marketeering for financing and supplies. The importance of clandestine flows and criminal actors becomes even more apparent in the context of evading international economic sanctions and arms embargoes. Consequently, the business of war and the business of crime closely intersect—producing a form of criminalized conflict. In the case of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, for example, understanding the role of criminal actors and clandestine flows is crucial in explaining the war's outbreak, persistence, termination, and aftermath. Calling this war a criminalized conflict does not take politics out and simply reduce all aspects of the conflict to criminality and economic motives. It does, however, stress the analytical insights that can be gained from a more sharply-focused exploration of the intersection between smuggling practices, criminal actors, and warfare. It also has important implications for understanding the challenges of post-conflict reconstruction. more

342. Greece, the Western Balkans and the European Union

Jul 07, 2011
November 2007 - The Wilson Center's East European Studies program, in cooperation with the American College of Thessaloniki, the University division of Anatolia College, held a workshop November 30-December 1, 2007, which aimed at trouble-shooting the complex process of European integration of the Western Balkans. This meeting was sponsored by the Stavros Niarchos Foundation. Discussions built upon the dual premise that EU accession holds the best hope for overcoming stagnation in the Western Balkans and that the traditional enlargement process is not working in the region. The US, the EU and neighboring countries, such as Greece, certainly have much to contribute in reinvigorating this process, and coordinating their policies seems to be of paramount importance. more

71. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How the US-EU Battle over Article 98 Played Out in Croatia and Macedonia

Jul 07, 2011
This paper outlines how two Yugoslav successor states, Macedonia and Croatia, faced the dilemma of having to choose between two vital allies. It traces how the issue played itself out in the domestic political arena in the late spring and early summer of 2003, and explains why in the end Croatia rejected US demands in favor of the EU while Macedonia chose to comply with the US. Both the US and the EU are monitoring the postcommunist and post-conflict transitions of the Balkan states closely. All this attention has meant that the Balkans became a particularly crucial battleground for the ICC issue. The decision-making process described in this paper tells a lot about how small post-communist states define their national interests (in terms of politics, economics, and security) and balance external pressures with internal realities in their bids to join Western institutions. Moreover, the outcomes are instructive about the dynamics of US-EU competition and its consequences for the ongoing transition in the region. more

211. Yugoslavia on the Brink of Elections: The Fate of the Federation

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - Yugoslavia is again at a crossroads. The elections on September 24 may determine whether a peaceful solution of the crisis will get a chance or whether the tensions will continue to build while the West braces itself for yet another conflict in that region. After a decade of violent destruction, there is no end of the disintegration process in sight. Even if the opposition wins the elections and the current regime in Serbia is toppled, the contentious nature of the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro - the two remaining republics forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - has yet to be resolved. The future of Kosovo similarly looms on the horizon with uncertainty. The reasons for the elusiveness of these political settlements are outlined below. more

245. New Borders and Old Neighbors in Europe

Jul 07, 2011
December 2001- The Central and East European (CEE) countries aspiring to accede to the European Union (EU) have been harmonizing their visa policies with Union standards. The EU has made obligatory the full adoption of the visa acquis (a set of regulations and practices) by the CEE countries without an option for derogation, even though such an option has been granted to some of the EU members - the UK, Ireland and Denmark. The CEE countries are under the obligation to comply with the EU visa regulations even if this requires the imposition of visas on nationals of states which have never before been under such a duty and where there are close historic, economic, and family links. At the same time, the EU has encouraged cross-border cooperation and has urged the CEE countries to establish and foster good bilateral relations with their neighbors. However, the adoption of the EU visa policy by the CEE countries has had the undesirable effect of creating obstacles to cross-border movement of people (and goods) in the region and has led to political, economic, and social tensions rather than to the desired good neighborly relations. Ironically, the implementation of the EU visa acquis has, in fact, jeopardized what Helen Wallace has called "a kind of central European acquis," which fostered constructive forms of multilateralism and bilateralism that have been vastly important in West European integration. more

325. Slovakia's New Government in Comparative Perspective

Jul 07, 2011
June 2006 - History never quite repeats itself, but some echoes sound too familiar to ignore. The government assembled by Robert Fico after Slovakia's June 2006 elections bears notable similarities to the governing coalition led by Vladimír Meciar between 1994 and 1998. Since that earlier government gave Slovakia a reputation as a pariah state—"a hole in the map of Europe"—it is understandable that any prospect of its return should produce consternation and prompt the question "Could it happen again?" Though the short answer to this question is probably "No," there is considerable value in asking "Why not?" and in exploring the factors that made Slovakia's mid-1990's government such an unfortunate precedent. more

214. European Integration: Who's In, Who's Out, Who Sits and Waits?

Jul 07, 2011
One of the most critical and complex issues in U.S. foreign policy is the expansion of NATO and the European Union into Central and Eastern Europe. Even the terms are controversial - for example, "Central" versus "Eastern" Europe and who and what are encompassed in these categories. The issues are important, not just to the countries involved but to the future of Europe, U.S.-European relations, to say nothing of U.S.-Russian relations. Based upon on-site observations, interviews and research materials gathered during a recent visit to the area, the author offers some predictions on the future course of European integration as it presently looks. more

54. Liberal Humanism Abandoned: The Paradox of the Post-Communist Czech Republic

Jul 07, 2011
In their literature, culture and early twentieth-century politics, the Czech people have a history of emphasizing moral virtue, tolerance, and respect for human dignity and freedom. Sadly, there is a growing chasm in Czech society between pre-revolution aspirations and post-revolution reality. The Czech Republic is infected with the destructive kind of nationalism found in other parts of East Central Europe, and now is characterized by a xenophobic citizenship law and violence against Roma. Will the Czechs ultimately honor their legacy of liberal humanism? The answer will speak volumes on the compatibility of nationalism and constitutional liberalism in the heart of the European continent. more

195. Quelling Unification Fears: Post-War Kosovo and Albania

Jul 07, 2011
February 2000 - The year 1999 was a very traumatic year for the six million Albanians in the Balkans. Thanks to NATO's intervention and after long years of bad luck, national tragedy, and economic misery, the future looks relatively bright. Despite daunting challenges, Albanians in Kosova are finally free of Serbian repression and can now begin building a new, more stable future. In Albania, there are some signs of recovery from the 1997 economically-induced government crash, although politically, it is still pervaded by a lack of cohesion and direction. more

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Dialogue

The Future of Higher Education

Mar 26, 2014Apr 02, 2014

Jeff Abernathy and Richard Morrill discuss how colleges and universities are dealing with rapidly rising costs and how the United States can still compete for students in a globalized environment.