Eastern Europe Publications
January 2008 - The integration of Macedonia into the European Union and NATO becomes a more complex issue every day. The reasons behind this complexity can be found both within Macedonia and outside its borders. However, at this moment the chief issue seems to be the fact that EU member states—vigilantly protecting their own interests first—tend to disagree on many issues related to Macedonia's readiness to accede to the EU. This has significantly slowed down the process of reaching an agreement on Macedonia's swift integration into the European Union.
These two papers provide some theoretical underpinnings for an alternative--evolutionary--approach to economic reform in Eastern Europe. Such an approach places little emphasis on reforming old organizations, but instead pins its hopes on the growth of a nascent private sector. An evolutionary policy, therefore, combines a policy of the gradual phasing out of the old institutional framework, an active program to promote new private sector activity and the institutions that this sector requires, and gradual privatization using market processes. The papers analyze both the evolution of centrally planned economies in the region as well as the impact of conservatism.
October 2003 - The European Union (EU) is widely recognized as the international actor with the most potential influence in promoting ethnic reconciliation, shoring up democracy and supporting the economic revitalization of the Balkans. The EU's influence is immediate—providing humanitarian aid, economic assistance, market access and political support. It is also long-term—shaping the tenor of domestic politics by offering the prospect of EU membership. The prospect of EU membership may be more diffuse, but it is ultimately more powerful. It provides substantial and consistent incentives for political moderation and reform on the part of elites in the Balkans and also in Turkey. The World Bank's 2001 report noted that its strategy for the region is "built upon the assumption that a credible commitment to integration with European and global structures, especially the European Union, is a critical ingredient of success, as it will serve as an external driver of reform and intra-regional integration."
April 2000- In the former Yugoslavia, language issues have long been both a reflection of inter-ethnic tensions and a catalyst for deepening inter-ethnic animosities. Since the collapse of the Yugoslav Federation in 1991, the insistence that the Serbo-Croatian language be broken up along ethnic lines has at times resulted in what some analysts have considered to be absurd and unnatural consequences. Indeed, given the ethnic polarization in the 1980s and 1990s, language has proven to be a highly emotional and politically sensitive topic. These two decades were characterized by increased competition among the Serbs, Croats, and Muslim Slavs for the populations of ethnically mixed regions. The official concern was for the language rights of ethnic kin residing outside the borders of their home republic. This concern was strongest within Serbian linguistic circles where dialectologists actively engaged in documenting the dialects of Serbs residing in Croatia and Bosnia-Herzegovina. In a similar fashion, Croat linguists became concerned about the dialects of ethnic Croats in the Herzegovina and Posavian regions of Bosnia-Herzegovina.
January 2000 - Bulgaria once existed as a totalitarian state and a faithful Soviet ally with a centralized socialist economy. Today, it is a functioning pluralist democracy which embraces the liberal views of the West and strives for integration into the prosperous global civilization of the 21st century. The transition has been long and painful, but one that should be examined and recognized for its accomplishments, particularly those within the past year.
October 2004 - The situation in the southern Balkans had generally been seen to be improving in 2003, with some institutional progress in Kosovo, the gradual implementation of the Ohrid Accords in Macedonia and activity on European Union (EU) accession in all countries. The international community was, though, excessively optimistic about the post-Milosevic climate in Serbia, which it believed would usher in a series of benevolent changes for the whole region and thus undermine nationalist sentiment in both Kosovo and Montenegro. In reality, little has changed in the Serbia-Kosovo relationship over the last three years. In this context, the Kosovo rioting and attacks on property and religious buildings in March 2004 were a shock to most of the international community. A number of random incidents led to the riots, which were also fueled by popular dissatisfaction with UNMIK's performance regarding unemployment and electric power generation. The riots did not halt the progress in transferring power and competencies to the new local institutions or the withdrawal of UNMIK from some spheres of Kosovo life. Nevertheless, they were a symbol of the deep underlying problems in Kosovo.
December 2000 Conference Report - The conference program was designed to encourage discussion about Ukraine and its neighbors outside of the standard categories for considering this important region. First, the presentations framed Ukraine almost exclusively in terms of its neighbors to its west; and second, the speakers explored Ukraine's relations with its neighbors at a number of different levels and not just as a problem of state-to-state relations. The conference participants attempted to engage a wider audience to think about Ukraine first and foremost within the context of Europe by adding texture and substance to discussions of cross-border relations. Second, the conference's discussion of Ukraine was predicated on the notion that Ukraine exists in numerous realities, only one of which is that of the state.
October 2001- The comparison between Nazism and Communism is justified on both moral and scholarly grounds. But scholars are not judges, and the confusion between these two roles can make some scholars oblivious to important distinctions. French historian Francois Furet, in his correspondence with German historian Ernst Nolte, insisted that there is something absolutely evil, both at 1) the level of original intention and 2) the implementation of the utopian goals in Nazi practice. Comparable as the two mass horrors of Nazism and Communism are, however, there is something singular about the Holocaust.
January 1998 - Critics of continued US involvement in Bosnia have described the Dayton peace process as a real-life "mission impossible" that is doomed to fail. More than one of these skeptics has likened plans for reconstructing Bosnia's prewar multiethnic society to putting "Humpty-Dumpty back together again." My own guarded optimism stems largely from a quarter century studying the former Habsburg monarchy, a state which provides numerous models for multiethnic coexistence when there is a reasonably democratic society based on the rule of law. It is also informed by four trips to post-Dayton Bosnia, during which I've seen that Bosnia has more than all the king's horses and all the king's men at work piecing together this shell of a country. Even the seemingly limitless resources of the industrial world may not be enough to make Bosnia whole, but there is little question that the cumulative efforts of the international community and more than 200 governmental and private organizations can accomplish a great deal.
337. Language Politics and Language Policies in the Contemporary Western Balkans: Infinitives, Turkisms and EUrolinguisticsJul 07, 2011
April 2007 - Although the Western Balkans today is generally construed as Albania and former Yugoslavia, from the point of view of Balkan linguistics, Greece is also in this region. Here I shall examine some recent policy and political developments through the prisms of linguistics and of language ideology, i.e., the ways people think about language. Because language is both act and artifact—it exists in documents and the minds of speakers but at the same time it is constituted by everyday practices—the intersections of linguistics and politics are complex. This is true in Western Europe no less than in the Western Balkans, as can be seen, for example, in official French persecution of regional languages from 1794 to 1951, the 1972 statement of Georges Pompidou, then President of France, that there was no place for regional languages in France, the exclusion of Breton schools from French public funding in 2002 (Mercator-Education: Breton, 2003), the recent contretemps over the use of Occitanian in examinations ("L'occitan interdit en Ile de France?" Communique: Federacion dels Ensenhaires de Lengua e Cutlura d'Oc, 31 October 2006), etc. It can even be argued that EU ideologies of inclusiveness are being reflected in certain types of linguistic research that peripheralize the Balkans. In order to provide the necessary context for the following discussion, I will give a brief outline of some basics of Balkan linguistics.