Negotiations on Kosovo's 'future status' are widely predicted to result in a transition to independence under international supervision. Meanwhile, Montenegro's government is preparing a referendum on independence in late spring. Many ask why the EU should tolerate further fragmentation that seems at odds with recent encouraging signs that the region is now ready to move forward to EU integration.
Quand on aime, on ne compte pas, dit la sagesse populaire. A contrario donc, les batailles sévères entre Etats membres sur l’avenir du budget européen en disent long sur la double crise de confiance et de solidarité que traverse l’Union depuis plus de six mois. Au point que l’on peut se demander si ce sont bien les « non » français et néerlandais au référendum sur la Constitution qui ont déclenché la crise, ou s’ils n’ont été finalement que les déclencheurs ou les révélateurs d’une rupture plus profonde depuis longtemps présente dans la dynamique européenne.
Five years after the fall of Slobodan Milosevic, it is still not clear where Serbia is heading. Indeed, it is not yet clear what, or even where Serbia is. Serbia’s borders and statehood remain open questions: the future status of Kosovo is unresolved and the survival of the State Union with Montenegro in doubt. As long as Serbia does not know what and where it is, its progress towards EU integration will be impeded.
Depuis le voyage de Georges Bush en Europe, et notamment sa visite historique dans les locaux du Conseil européen, un vent nouveau souffle sur les relations transatlantiques, et ce vent nouveau vient d’Europe : chacun des thèmes désormais repris en chœur par les responsables américains – les vertus du dialogue et de la négociation, le rôle de l’Union européenne dans le monde, l’importance des moyens d’action non militaires, etc. – semble en effet issu de la rhétorique diplomatique la plus européenne qui soit, telle que l’exprimait dès 2003 la Stratégie européenne de sécurité.
The European Security Strategy identifies ‘state failure’ as one of the ‘key threats’ confronting Europe. This is one point of convergence with the 2002 US National Security Strategy. However, implicitly distancing itself from the US, the European Security Strategy recognises that ‘none of the new threats is purely military; nor can [they] be tackled by purely military means.’
The countries of the Western Balkans are moving on: from postwar reconstruction and stabilisation to consolidating democratic states, implementing economic reform, and preparing for EU accession. The EU has confirmed that ‘The future of the Balkans is within the European Union’, and all the states of the region now share that vision. Much can be learned from the Central and East European experiences of transition and integration, and the EU itself is better prepared than it was in the early 1990s.
Parliamentary elections in Croatia and Serbia in late 2003 brought the question of nationalism in the Balkans back onto the agenda. In Croatia, former President Franjo Tudjman's party, the HDZ, returned to power, while in Serbia, the Radical Party led by war crimes indictee Vojislav Seselj won the largest share of the vote.
One year after the war in Iraq, the EU is still confronted with two major challenges. The first is in Iraq itself, where the US strategy of stabilisation and democratisation is encountering dramatic setbacks. The second challenge arises from the growing terrorist threat to Western interests and citizens, as seen in the terrible attacks in Madrid on 11 March.
Twelve meetings/interviews lasting 1-1 ½ hours were conducted over four days with independent political analysts, expert advisers to the Serbian government, and a Deputy Prime Minister. The research visit took place immediately before Serbia's third unsuccessful attempt to elect a President on 16 November.
The idea of `returning to Europe' was the leitmotif of the revolutions of 1989. Now that eight of the ten Central and East European candidates are about to realise this ambition, the question becomes what sort of Europe it will be.