The Working Group on the Western Balkans: Confronting Illegitimacy
The EU and the US agree that the long-term goal for the Western Balkans is European integration. For a variety of reasons, however, progress on this goal has stalled. This series aims at launching a discussion on the hurdles to enlargement in the Western Balkans, the tools available to various international actors in the region, and how these resources might best be applied to reach the goal of integration most efficiently. These meetings, therefore, address issues that are at the core of the making the Transatlantic relationship work.
Democracy and legitimacy are closely linked: democratic elections empower legitimate officials to run state institutions that operate within the rule of law. In the Western Balkans, however, there are multiple challenges to legitimate institutions including, parallel power structures, corruption, low confidence in the judiciary and contested elections, to name a few. The result is that it is difficult for civil society to pursue its goals through democratic institutions or elections, and individuals have a hard time seeking remedies through state courts.
The EU accession process is making a limited impact on improving legitimacy and democracy in the region. Working Group participants will discuss the sources of illegitimacy in the region and how the Transatlantic partners can work to improve the quality of democracy in the region.
10:00am Meeting begins; Welcome and Introduction by Nida Gelazis, Senior Associate, European Studies
Discussion questions: How is the EU accession agenda and other international policy goals (such as the ICTY) undermined by nationalist rhetoric in the Western Balkans? How has the market transition created opportunities for elected leaders or political parties to capture state institutions or profit directly from privatization?
Introduction to the topic:
Jelena Subotic, Assistant Professor of Political Science, Georgia State University
John Gould, Chair and Associate Professor of Political Science, Colorado College
1:00 How have internationally-driven policies to combat corruption and organized crime missed their mark? How can EU accession compete with internal incentives that support ‘business as usual’?
Introduction to the topic:
Timothy Donais, Associate Professor in the Department of Global Studies, Wilfrid Laurier University Stefan Popov, Executive Director, RiskMonitor Foundation
Whit Mason, Director of Political Risk Analysis, Pty, Ltd; Non-resident fellow of the Lowy Institute for International Policy and Visiting Fellow at the Australian National University
3:00 Meeting ends
Ambassador Robert Beecroft
Ambassador Wolfgang Petritsch