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Even so, security, stability, and democratic development were deeply affected since the time the process of change was supposed to have initiated. This also explains why the direction of the reforms has been and still is often biased, unable to measure itself with the constellation of the variables that the institutional framework potentially offers in order to meet the multiple demands of society. As a result, conflicts can become frozen, but not settled.

International agreements cannot be implemented or, simply, are unable to break down the mistrust that has been built over time. Alternatively, they have been negotiated with irreducible parties, whose peaceful coexistence is guaranteed by the military force of external players, but does not have any result regarding the effectiveness of governance. Meanwhile, vexed questions of borders and loyalties have acquired new priorities, with implications that are still affecting a variety of aspects.

As mentioned above, the comparative analysis of the case-studies considered for this issue confirms, despite the difference of contexts, that new borders have been erected not only geographically, but also mentally. Partitions concern territories, as well as majority-minorities dynamics, local communities, habits, the access to fundamental rights, and the future of human relations — whether family, parental, or friendship correspondence. Partition is, in fact, a process of vertical and multilevel dividing, which is comprehensive and merciless because it forces individuals to make a choice which impacts their sense of belonging and their feelings.

However, and to a large extent unexpectedly, similar phenomena are contagiously affecting the European core states, despite their common mythological eu narrative of inclusion, which has been, however, restricted, after great uncertainties, as far as the Western Balkans only. By contrast, it almost seems that the peripheral areas have anticipated a local, but transnational reaction to the global what a paradox!

The binary comparison, which is the focus of the four contributions collected for this issue of the Southeastern Europe Journal, concerns systems and areas which share similarities in contexts that, however, preserve their peculiarities and differences, either at the domestic level or in their international position.

All that considered, however, the case-studies here scrutinized can give us special stimuli for understanding some of the dynamics that can be grasped also in the broader European environment.

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This is not surprising. Despite their peripheral condition, in fact, the areas under scrutiny are not isolated from the core states. In some cases, they have also established forms of military cooperation with Euro-Atlantic institutions or host military bases. Actually, and for a long time, the major comparative approach to post-Yugoslav and post-Soviet countries was connected with communist federalism and the dissolution of these federations during democratization attempts see e. However, with post-Soviet Eastern Europe sinking into the new era of internal and international conflicts, the comparative perspective has changed again: the experiences of war and conflict resolution in countries of the Western Balkans and Eastern Europe are of interest again.

Today, as is said, the two regions have a different situation and dynamics. The Yugoslav succession wars — have ended seventeen years ago, and afterwards, the post-Yugoslav political transformations have been directed by peaceful integration in the contexts of eu accession and regional cooperation. Thus, the regional political and security trends are different in the Balkans and Eastern Europe.

However, even though these regional trends are contradictory, there are commonalities that cannot be ignored and demand comparative analysis. We would point out several, but not all, of these:. Failed state effect. The nations, states, and economies in both regions were born as a result of state failure in two socialist federations, Yugoslavia and the ussr. Post-Soviet and post-Yugoslav political and economic systems have been launched as the consequences of the state failure. War as the context of state- and nation-building. The post-Yugoslav states started their collective lives in the conditions of decade-long war.

Post-Soviet countries in Eastern Europe were less impacted by war: Georgia and Moldavia and those territories that separated from them were going through difficult war periods in the beginning of their independent existence, while Belarus, Russia, and Ukraine avoided it in the early s. However, the Ukrainian crisis has deeply changed state- and nation-building dynamics in the Eastern European countries in the second decade of the 21 st century: wars and conflicts became the leading factors of political, economic, and social development here Nodia et al.

Considerable role of non-state-actors during war is another common feature for post-Yugoslav and post-Soviet conflict periods. In these periods the emerging Balkan states and post-Maidan Ukraine were barely able to respond to security challenges. And this phenomenon calls for proper comparative analysis.

An Introduction

Finally, the decisive role of external players in managing and containing the conflicts is also relevant for our comparative perspective. This timely and balanced study examines the diplomatic history of the dispute, the various abortive attempts at settlement and its intricate legal dimension.

The Aegean dispute is a complex conflict involving sovereignty, national security, oil, freedom of transit and access to islands and ports. The Greek-Turkish Conflict in the Aegean conclusively shows that these matters are not the main issues at stake, and moreover that the conflict may be resolvable. The crux of the problem is the mutual fear and suspicion deeply ingrained in historical memories.

Nationalism in the Troubled Triangle is the first systematic study of nationalism in Cyprus, Greece and Turkey from a comparative perspective. Bringing scholars from Greece, Turkey and both sides of Cyprus and beyond together, the book provides a critical account of nation-building processes and nationalist politics in all three countries. Search Go. Europeanization of the Western Balkans. Environmental Governance in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Serbia Adam Fagan; Indraneel Sircar, August Focusing on a particular policy domain — environmental governance — the book considers how new institutions are created and how they develop alongside existing structures on a national and EU level.

The Politics of Extreme Austerity. Europeanization and Civil Society.


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Drawing on fresh empirical evidence, we contend that the root of the problem lies not, in fact, in a sluggish reform pace and a higher degree of domestic resistance to the sweeping adjustments required throughout the EU accession process. View all notes Improved levels of formal compliance, however, do not translate into positive developments with regards to democratic performance, which is instead in decline at the regional level.

Figure 1 illustrates the effective decoupling of compliance and democracy levels in the Western Balkans that forms the central puzzle around which we articulate our theoretical argument. Decoupling of compliance and democracy levels in the Western Balkans. View all notes. Figure 1. We submit that the effective decoupling between the levels of formal compliance and liberal democracy in the region is due to widespread state capture, which has been recognised as a key challenge in the Western Balkans Keil Keil, S.

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Most recently, the EU has picked up on state capture as a major impediment to deep reforms in the Western Balkans European Commission a European Commission. View all notes So far however, we argue that EU conditionality has unintentionally contributed to consolidating, rather than disabling, patterns of state capture in the enlargement region. We develop this argument further in the following theoretical section, which addresses competing explanations and then outlines our own alternative model.

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The dominant external incentives models explains the underlying logic of political conditionality as one of top-down incentives, whereby candidate countries have to fulfil certain criteria and are rewarded for compliance Schimmelfennig and Sedelmeier Schimmelfennig, F. It singles out three key conditions for the effectiveness of conditionality: a credible membership perspective, the consistent application of conditionality, and an acceptable level of domestic costs incurred for compliance with accession requirements. Despite several studies demonstrating how EU conditionality might empower certain local actors differentially by providing them with legitimacy, resources and bargaining power Dimitrova and Buzogany Dimitrova, A.

Oxford : Oxford University Press. The external incentives model was initially formulated in the context of the CEE accession negotiations and its continued relevance in the Western Balkans region has been subject to debate Epstein and Sedelmeier Epstein, R. For one, its proponents have repeatedly acknowledged the lower effectiveness of democratic conditionality in comparison to more technical accession requirements Dimitrova and Pridham Dimitrova, A. These limitations have resulted in two extensions of the initial external incentives model. One highlights how the perceived legitimacy of membership requirements by the target country supersedes purely rationalist cost—benefit calculations where core issues of national identity and sovereignty are concerned, resulting in partial or imposed compliance for specific contested accession conditions Freyburg and Richter Freyburg, T.

However, neither the original external incentives model nor its extensions offer a convincing explanation for the observed generalised decoupling of compliance and democracy levels in the Western Balkans. Still, these studies remain largely empirically driven and fall short of providing a broader explanatory framework. Our proposed explanation for the adverse effects of EU conditionality places domestic politics at its core. Domestic actors — be they political parties, elites or interest groups — are part of a continuous struggle over political decision-making power and influence in the country, both in formal and informal institutions.

We contend that compliance with political conditionality depends not only on adaptation costs for the government or the level of appropriateness of criteria in specific policy issues, but rests crucially on patterns of informal power politics. It is here that linkages between EU conditionality and state capture come into play.

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Washington : The World Bank. Where informal ways of decision-making, previously important to ensure continuity and stability, fail to become smoothly integrated into formal, democratic processes, there is a high risk of state capture Grzymala-Busse Grzymala-Busse, A. Once the legislature, administration and judiciary are fully subordinated to private interests, the state is neither able to effectively fight corruption nor to act as the legitimate representative of the citizens Pech Pech, B.


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This results in the selective application of rules, resource allocation based on private rather than public interests, and biased decision-making processes. Eventually, such processes lead states into a state capture trap, a stagnating status quo during which governance structured are unable to reform and highly resilient to any change. In the Western Balkans, we submit that state capture emerged in a highly volatile context of simultaneous democratisation and market liberalisation coupled with post-conflict state-building, which offered multiple opportunities for illicit economic activity and the creation of informal networks.

Morlino and W.

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Sadurski eds. Following the early conflation of democratisation and Europeanisation processes, we argue that state capture became further entrenched and consolidated due to the workings of EU conditionality. We contend that the EU accession process further consolidated this process by unintentionally providing informal networks with opportunities for corruption and by boosting their authority and legitimacy.

We identify three distinct linkages between conditionality and state capture, which we label money , power , and glory. Although intertwined, these three mechanisms account for different dimensions in the state capture model, as illustrated by Figure 2. EU conditionality and the state capture model.

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Figure 2. The absence of well-developed regulatory frameworks enabled a small elite of economic actors to secure considerable private monetary gains, build up strong clientelist networks and systematically increase their influence on politics. By pushing for liberalisation and privatisation at an early stage of political transition and in a fragile post-conflict context, the EU — jointly with international financial institutions such as the International Monetary Fund — inadvertently facilitated the emergence of informal networks with political clout. EU membership tends to become an overriding priority for domestic policy-making in candidate countries and offers an important boost to domestic actors supporting a liberal-democratic agenda.

Yet, strong top-down EU conditionality also reduces the space for political competition and domestic deliberation and empowers executive actors to impose their preferences by referring to external constraints Grabbe Grabbe, H. By overloading the political agenda with strict deadlines and detailed criteria, EU conditionality enables dominant parties to justify the absence of internal mechanisms of accountability.

The resulting dominance of party over public interests undermines the effective functioning of democratic processes.