The good news for Macedonia is that the current government, led by Prime Minister Branko Crvenkovski (of the Social Democratic Union), has initiated a high-profile attack on corruption in the country. The Social Democrats (SDSM) and their Albanian coalition partners, Ali Ahmeti's Democratic Union for Integration (BDI), were elected in September 2002, on the heels of a damning report by the International Crisis Group (ICG). This document highlighted the serious levels of corruption in the country. Since taking the reins of power, the SDSM and BDI have launched a two-pronged strategy. One part involves clamping down on the activities of the Albanian mafia in western Macedonia. The other concerns prosecuting those who abused power in the previous government and setting forth new rules to increase the transparency and integrity of the government.
September 1998 - Grand narratives of Southeast European history can be objects of suspicion, especially when today's confrontations are traced into the past and dubbed as "ancient hatreds." The careful scholar who deconstructs such presentist approaches, however, faces another problem. Past national distinctiveness, when asserted by collective struggle, is a key asset in current political claims. By maintaining a neutral stance on a nation's history, a scholar may be branded as hostile to that nation.
March 2008 - Since the 1990s, an array of international organizations has devoted considerable time and energy to democracy promotion in the Western Balkans. A major strand of this work has comprised civil society assistance, increasingly targeted at the community level. Official evaluations of this work tend to emphasize quantitative indicators of increasing civic participation, reduced incidence of inter-ethnic violence and socio-economic progress. They tend not to portray the empirical realities of democratization, or the less tangible, longer-term impacts of such efforts. The ongoing research project described here aims to offer a longitudinal case-study in US civil society programming which combines academic and policy perspectives. Our goal is to examine closely and systematically the impacts and lessons from a single project, while factoring in the wider context.
November 2001- The events of September 11 and the subsequent military and diplomatic reactions have consumed the attention of the world's media and viewing public. While the horrible events have been condemned by the global community, that does not mean they have been immune from manipulation by the unscrupulous. Unfortunately, September 11 has provided the latest rhetorical backdrop for a number of personalities in the Balkans who seek to recharge a rationale of war. With its attention directed elsewhere, the mainstream media has failed to cover how policy-making entities in the Balkans have actively sought to associate so-called Islamic terrorism with the region's millions of Muslims. This is a rhetorical gesture that had been frequently used in the past to promote social tensions and create a sense of siege. The new wave instigated by Serbian Deputy Prime Minister Nebojsa Covic and counterparts in Skopje must be addressed if Western diplomats want to bring lasting peace to the region.
71. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How the US-EU Battle over Article 98 Played Out in Croatia and MacedoniaJul 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.
September 2003 - With Iraq, Israel-Palestine and North Korea so prominent in the headlines these days, it is little wonder that the Balkans have received scant attention. However, substantial risks remain, and policy makers do not help matters by prematurely ‘declaring victory.'
September 1999 - "The Balkans create more history then they can endure. Unfortunately," Ambassador Acevska asserts, "this is true." The region's long history of uprising and violence dates back to the 15th century and is rooted in a tradition of cultural, religious and territorial misunderstanding and mistrust. To date, the region's most immediate and ominous threat is that of border changes. Ambassador Acevska views this as a direct threat to the international security of the entire European continent.
April 2002- In February 2001, violent clashes between armed Albanian insurgents and Macedonian forces broke out in Macedonia's mountainous northwest. It was thought initially that the violence was a spillover from clashes in the Presevo valley on Serbia's southern border with Kosovo, where a splinter group from the former Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) was fighting Serb forces for control. However, over the ensuing months, it became apparent that a new group - the National Liberation Army (NLA) - had formed on Macedonian soil and, with the help of recruits from Kosovo and elsewhere, was mounting a rebellion against Macedonian authority. They claimed to fight because of discrimination against Albanians in Macedonian society, and because of the slow pace of reform. Macedonian authorities, however, believed the insurgents sought to carve out a piece of northwestern Macedonia, near the city of Tetovo, where ethnic Albanians predominate.
January 1997 - Two American economists resident in Croatia and Macedonia weighed the balance of pluses and minuses in the economies of these two former Yugoslav successor states in a joint presentation at an EES Noon Discussion. Evan Kraft and Michael Wyzan both found inflation well under control and industrial production rising in the respective economies, but they also emphasized a number of daunting structural problems, particularly the slow pace and politically manipulated nature of privatization.
January 2005 - In November 2004, the US government recognized the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia under its constitutional name, the Republic of Macedonia. State Department spokesperson Richard Boucher described this as underscoring US commitment to "a permanent, multiethnic and democratic Macedonia within its existing borders." The recognition, on the eve of a potentially divisive referendum in the country, can be seen as belated acknowledgment of the achievement of Macedonia's political leadership since the country's declaration of independence in 1991. Despite economic and political pressure from its southern neighbor Greece, persistent military threat from Milosevic's Serbia to the north and high-profile tensions over the collective rights of Albanians within the country, which precipitated an armed insurgency in 2001, Macedonia has emerged as a candidate for EU membership, with all major political forces committed to interethnic accommodation and market democracy.