Balkans // Analysis
28 march 2016
On March 24, 2016, another leaf was formally turned in the story that unfolded in the Balkans in the 1990s: a sentence was passed on Radovan Karadžić, leader of Bosnian Serbs during the civil war in Bosnia and Herzegovina. The International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia rendered its decision, which had been in the works for eight years, ever since Karadžić was arrested in 2008. The man who had served as President of the Republika Srpska from 1992 to 1996 was sentenced to a prison term of 40 years for war crimes and crimes against humanity.
24 february 2016
On February 15, 2016, Bosnia and Herzegovina applied for EU membership. Statements made after the meeting between the Presidency of Bosnia and Herzegovina and leaders from the EU and other countries in Brussels suggest that the decision was roundly welcomed. There is a long road ahead, but those involved in the negotiations are not allowing any doubts to creep in. Which Bosnia intends to join the European Union? And what do the changes to this most difficult part of South-eastern Europe mean for the region as a whole?
13 january 2016
On July 1, 2015, the Office of the United nations High Commissioner for Refugees (UNHCR) reported an 83 percent increase in the number of refugees and migrants who had crossed the Mediterranean Sea to get to Europe in the first 6 months of 2015: 137,000 people compared to 75,000 in the same period last year. Plans to combat the migration crisis, adopted by the European Commission, have proved to be less than efficient. Pragmatization of relations with Russia may offer an opportunity for the EU to cope with the refugee problem. Failing this, the crisis-ridden South-East Europe risks becoming an exporter of instability and falling into a trap, in which it has already been before.
21 august 2015
The border dispute arbitration between Croatia and Slovenia over the Piran Bay was unexpectedly thrown into doubt following revelations that the Slovenian representative broke the impartiality rule. On 22 July, Croatian daily Vecernji List circulated the transcript of tapped phone conversations between Jernej Secolec, the Tribunal’s Slovenian judge, and Simona Drenik, a Ljubljana official, that took place in November 2014 and January 2015. The communication consisted of information sharing and action coordination. Notably, Secolec revealed that the arbitration ruling would be in Slovenia’s advantage with at least two thirds of the disputed waters granted to Ljubljana.
04 august 2015
Montenegro’s position on the matter displays a certain duality. Since March 2014, the Montenegrin leadership has expressed its support of the sanctions imposed by the European Union on the Russian government and on individuals and organizations. On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and European Integration in the Government of Montenegro has not submitted a single document confirming its participation in the sanctions. The bilateral commission for trade, economic, scientific and technical cooperation has continued its work. All in all, Russian–Montenegrin relations remain “good and friendly”.
16 july 2015
On July 11, 2015 the world remembered victims of the Srebrenica massacre, the most gruesome manslaughter of the 1992-1995 Bosnian war, which took place exactly twenty years ago. About 8,000 male Bosnian Muslims, also referred to as Bosniaks, of fighting age perished in Srebrenica forests as Bosnian Serbs murdered them just over a few days after the town’s fall. This mass killing became the most murderous single incident in Europe since the Second World War.
04 june 2015
The US visit by Serbian Prime Minister Aleksandar Vucic must be considered primarily in the context of the Individual Partnership Action Plan between the Republic of Serbia and NATO), signed in January 2015. This comprehensive document established a framework for the parties’ collaboration and step-by-step alignment in all areas: military technical cooperation; regional cooperation; economic, legal and law enforcement reform; ethnic issues and EU integration. The visit aims, therefore, to elaborate on the agreed plan.
08 may 2015
The attitude to Victory Day in the Balkans can at best be described as positive to neutral. This date certainly exists in the public and media space. Remembrance events are held, and speeches are made. Local news feeds feature reports of the “grand military parade in Moscow”, and yet in most cases it is shown as a kind of spectacle, in recognition of modern Russia’s geopolitical might.
16 january 2015
Presidential elections were held in Croatia from December 28, 2014 to January 11, 2015. Four candidates contested the election. Unsurprisingly, the initial favourites were the leaders of the main political powers, which have held power in turn for the past 15 years, namely Ivo Josipovic, leader of the ruling Social Democratic Party, and Kolinda Grabar-Kitarovic of the Croatian Democratic Union. In the run-off, Kolinda Grabar-Kitaroviс won by the slimmest of margins (1.46 per cent, or just32,000 votes). Here are some of the most interesting results of the poll.
10 october 2014
The issue of NATO expansion has once again been put on the agenda. There has been talk recently about possible membership for three states located on the Balkan Peninsula. In addition, it just came out that Russian President Vladimir Putin will pay a visit to Serbia on October 16, 2014. Does this event signify that the Balkans will return to the center of international attention? Alexander Pivovarenko, Research Associate of the RAS Institute of Slavonic Studies and RIAC expert, shares his insights on the situation.
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