Western Balkans Events
November 17, 2009 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
While the economic crisis that began in 2008 has had a global reach, the pain of the crisis has been disproportionately felt in the postcommunist transition countries generally, and in the Western Balkans in particular. Former WWICS public policy scholar Franjo Stiblar offered the simple explanation that poor countries, with their higher income inequality and high unemployment, are fated to feel the effects of the economic crisis more strongly. In addition to being relatively poor, the countries of the Western Balkans were particularly vulnerable to the crisis due to extremely high external debt to GDP ratios and high foreign currency reserves. Their economic performance also contributed to the countries' vulnerability to the crisis, since as Stiblar indicated, the region performs elastically in reaction to the global market, such that a global downturn spurred an even deeper downturn in the Western Balkans.
Reaching Out at a Time of Economic Crisis: External Anchors and Internal Dynamics in the Western Balkans
October 21, 2009 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
The celebration of two anniversaries that are being held in Europe this—the fall of the Berlin Wall 20 years ago and the first EU enlargement to postcommunist Europe five years ago—is being tempered by a deep and widespread economic recession. This recession has been disproportionately felt in the Western Balkans, Jens Bastian argued, which has obscured the path these countries are working hard to follow into the EU.
October 02, 2009 // 10:00am — 11:00am
Recent surveys indicate that public support for the Serbian Progressive Party (SPP), which split from the Serb Radical Party last fall, has grown steadily, and is now at the heels of the Democratic Party, which leads the current government. SPP Party leader Aleksandar Vucic, explained the young party's foreign policy strategy at a Wilson Center noon discussion.
June 10, 2009 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
The highly publicized arrest of indicted Bosnian war criminal, Radovan Karadzic, last year in Serbia was seen by many as a triumph of soft power. It was seen as proof that linking Serbia's cooperation with the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia (ICTY) to progress toward EU accession was the only way in which Serbia's leaders would be compelled to participate in transitional justice initiatives. Yet, despite Karadzic's transfer to The Hague and recent evidence of the government's finding other indictees, Jelena Subotic argues that transitional justice initiatives taken in Serbia have been largely a sham and have been hijacked by politics.
May 27, 2009 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Ivan Vejvoda, Executive Director, Balkan Trust for Democracy
May 06, 2009 // 9:00am — 5:00pm
EU accession holds the best hope for overcoming stagnation on democracy-building, market reform and state consolidation in the Western Balkans. However, the traditional enlargement process is not well suited to the region and requires a coordinated strategy between the EU, the United States and other international actors if it is to succeed in the near future. This meeting will aim to discuss the EU enlargement process, the role of the US and other international actors to support this process, the unique obstacles to the success of the process in the Western Balkans and innovations that might be introduced for a new, coordinated policy toward the region.
April 29, 2009 // 12:00pm — 1:30pm
Lenard Cohen, Professor of Political Science, Simon Fraser University; John Lampe, Professor of History, University of Maryland-College Park
February 18, 2009 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
Mark Baskin, senior associate and research professor, Center for International Development, Rockefeller College, University of Albany; Paula Pickering, associate professor of government, College of William and Mary
January 14, 2009 // 11:00am — 12:00pm
After eight years of relative neglect, James Lyon expressed hope that the Western Balkan region would ascend in U.S. foreign policy priorities under the Obama administration, not only due to the Clinton administration's legacy there, but also because of the crisis that is currently brewing, especially in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH). Current policy, in which the U.S. has encouraged the EU to integrate the region into its institutional structures, has had variable success throughout the region. While Croatia is very close to being granted member status and Macedonia and Montenegro have made marked progress, the EU enlargement strategy has failed to gain traction in Bosnia or Serbia. Meanwhile, Kosovo creates special challenges, since there is strong opposition to its independence, not only by Serbia but also by certain EU member states.
June 18, 2008 // 12:00pm — 1:00pm
Jeffrey Simon, Senior Fellow at the Institute for National Strategic Studies, National Defense University