Eastern Europe Publications

317. The Decline of Domestic Politics and Other Taxing Problems in Eastern Europe

Jul 07, 2011
October 2005 - While all governments face the challenge of specifying fiscal arrangements that guarantee the state adequate resources to ward off physical or material threats to the citizenry, the new governments after the collapse of communism faced certain challenges specific to their capitalist transformation. They had to design tax systems within the context of creating an entirely new economic system. Fundamental public sector reforms eliminated the previous system's main source of taxation. As a result of privatization, East European states could no longer rely on appropriating profits from state-owned enterprises. In the past, the state would finance expenditures primarily by transferring revenue from state firms to the federal budget. With a large portion of these enterprises undergoing privatization, the state had to develop a tax policy to collect revenue from private sector production and private individuals. Thus, a wide range of taxes had to be put into place or be significantly reformed, including private property taxes, personal income taxes, inheritance taxes, consumption taxes, real estate taxes, capital gains taxes and excise duties. In allocating the tax burden across these different tax forms, leaders had to reconcile several competing considerations: which kinds of taxes would reliably raise budgetary revenue, which tax forms were hardest to evade, which forms would seem distributionally just to a population raised in a paternalistic state and lacking personal experience in honoring tax responsibilities and which would advance the country's foreign policy goals and international interests. more

71. Between a Rock and a Hard Place: How the US-EU Battle over Article 98 Played Out in Croatia and Macedonia

Jul 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. more

211. Yugoslavia on the Brink of Elections: The Fate of the Federation

Jul 07, 2011
September 2000 - Yugoslavia is again at a crossroads. The elections on September 24 may determine whether a peaceful solution of the crisis will get a chance or whether the tensions will continue to build while the West braces itself for yet another conflict in that region. After a decade of violent destruction, there is no end of the disintegration process in sight. Even if the opposition wins the elections and the current regime in Serbia is toppled, the contentious nature of the relationship between Serbia and Montenegro - the two remaining republics forming the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia - has yet to be resolved. The future of Kosovo similarly looms on the horizon with uncertainty. The reasons for the elusiveness of these political settlements are outlined below. more

302. Think before We Act: New Questions about Decentralization in Kosovo

Jul 07, 2011
October 2004 - Nuk ndërtohet shtëpia prej kulmit — You cannot build a house by starting with the roof For generations in Kosovo, the idiom above has served to reflect a collective mistrust of the many hasty and ill-conceived attempts to contain Kosovo's dynamic society. Unfortunately, much of its introspective irony has slipped the attention of foreign rulers. As one occupying regime left in 1999 and was replaced by an equally hostile community of foreign administrators, the intractable realities of Kosovo's house have once again faded into the background. more

291. Building Local Democracy under Conditions of Uncertainty in Kosovo

Jul 07, 2011
January 2004 - Over the past decade, international organizations and development NGOs have broadened their efforts to nurture democratic governance from the centers of power in capital cities to local government. Local government is the first tier of public authority that people confront in their everyday lives. Good local governance provides services to diverse populations, facilitates the development of political institutions and cross cutting social networks and fosters economic development. At the same time, effective local government has the capacity to resolve conflicts at an early stage, preventing them from escalating into violence. In this light, the circumstances enhancing the sustainability of post-conflict local democracy command great interest. more

43. The Economics of State-Building in the Former Yugoslavia

Jul 07, 2011
This working paper examines the economic aspect of state-building in the former Yugoslavia. It hypothesizes that during the process of division and in the first four years of economic independence each of the five successor states chose economic policy options which are leading to divergent patterns of economic growth. As a result, after four years, five distinct economies have emerged, each pursuing increasingly diverging growth paths. This divergence is even more striking when we remember that each of the successor states began with the same institutional framework, a common transition path, and a comparable level of macroeconomic instability. more

183. Post-Kosovo War Reconstruction of Southeastern Europe: The View From Macedonia

Jul 07, 2011
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. more

275. East Central Europe between Paris and Washington

Jul 07, 2011
For some, Poland's emergence as a leading partner in the US-led campaign to rebuild Iraq came as a surprise. After all, so much effort has been spent on reforms, concessions and negotiations in preparation for EU accession, that it seemed to many that Poland, the Baltic States, Romania, Bulgaria and the Czech Republic were antagonizing precisely those countries they had been courting for years by supporting the US-led coalition. In response to the confusion, I would like to offer a historical-cultural explanation for those puzzled by this new world order. more

357. Romanian Parliamentary Elections: New Alliances and Challenges

Jul 07, 2011
December 2008 - In December 2008, a friend in Bucharest sent me a message quoting a recent statement by an influential political commentator from the Romanian media. This columnist reminds me of the former spokesman for the Polish military junta in the 1980s, who has since become a very successful capitalist: Jerzy Urban. Urban is the editor of the weekly magazine Nie, which irreverently makes fun of everybody. In my mind, Urban is no hero, but is a former Communist Party lackey who turned into the transition's profiteering buffoon. So, I am referring here to somebody who is the equivalent of Urban in Romania, and his name is Ion Cristoiu. more

26. Anglo-American Diplomacy and the Montenegrin Question, 1914-21

Jul 07, 2011
This paper is a small part of a more detailed study-in-progress of British and American foreign policy vis-a-vis Montenegro. The author's inquiry into British and American foreign policy is, in turn, part of a book-length study provisionally entitled "The Strange Death of the Kingdom of Montenegro," which examines the demise of that independent Serb, but not Serbian, kingdom between 1914 and 1924. more

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