Symβiosis aims to provide resources, commentaries and analysis, on political, social and cultural ideas and developments affecting change and policy, original and creative, based on arguments, able to propose and debate solutions to critical issues, maintaining a broad intellectual scope and global reach that readers need to understand the choices shaping lives, and reflecting on Greece, the Balkans, Europe and the world.

 

Balkans

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Western Balkans Policy Review 2010

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Date added: 12/06/2010
Date modified: 12/06/2010
Filesize: 1.46 MB
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A Report of the CSIS Lavrentis Lavrentiadis Chair in Southeast European Studies

The Western Balkans Policy Review is planned as an annual publication to monitor and assess developments in the eastern part of Europe and provide recommendations for policy initiatives by Western governments and multinational institutions. The talented authors recruited for this initial volume have differing perspectives and prescriptions for the region; their opinions are as diverse as Balkan achievements and problems. Of note, the views they express are entirely their own and not necessarily those of any employer, organization, or group with which they may be affiliated.

Washington, D.C.
August 2010

Political Significance of Knowledge in Southeast Europe

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Date added: 02/16/2013
Date modified: 02/16/2013
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Ivo Šlaus

Croatian Academy of Sciences and Arts; Croatian Parliament, Zagreb, Croatia

The processes of globalization and transition are inevitable, full of dangers and threats, but offer enormous opportunities.
Surveys of public opinion show that citizens are not aware of the fact that their countries are governed by the will of the people and a large majority considers that their country and the world are not going in the right direction. Presently, knowledge is becoming a dominant political power. This article outlines a strategy for building a knowledge-based society to minimize dangers, avoid threats, and take advantage of most of the opportunities, bringing a concrete action plan for Croatia, applicable to countries with similar history and socioeconomic structure.

Local reform in Kosovo

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Date added: 06/07/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 548.18 kB
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György Hajnal - Gábor Péteri
February, 2010

Executive summary

 

The fundamental question this report seeks to answer is how Serbian local communities in Kosovo may be induced to be part of the Prishtina centered decentralization scheme. Cooperation of the Belgrade led (“parallel”) municipalities with the Kosovo state would ultimately contribute to the emergence of a well-functioning and peaceful Kosovo society.

Justification of this core question depends on accepting a number of presumptions, like that:

-          any sort of co-existence between Kosovo Serbs and Albanians have to encompass some extent of power sharing;

-          this power sharing should have some spatial dimension – that is, it has to involve a certain element of a system of autonomous local governments and

-          such as choice of Kosovo Serbian communities should be voluntary and well-informed.

A necessary, albeit not sufficient, condition of inducing Kosovo Serbs into Prishtina’s decentralization scheme is to make it better performing than the parallel one. The initial question, then, distills down to how the Kosovo system of local government can be improved so as to outperform the parallel system.

The quality of local governance depends on a great number of factors, many of which are more or less outside Kosovo policy makers’ “action radius”. Most of our attention, therefore, focused on the institutional framework of local governance as this factor is under the effective and immediate control of Prishtina. From such an institutional perspective two key features of decentralization are put under scrutiny. Namely,

  1. the mechanisms and arrangements ensuring the political accountability of elected municipal politicians to their electorate; and
  2. the freedom municipal policy makers enjoy in choosing whichever policy course they deem beneficial for their municipality.

In addition to the above some limitations of the scope of the approach had to be applied, too.. We dealt mostly with the K-Serbian enclaves South of the Ibar river. Kosovo’s North does not fit into the analytical framework of this study. Moreover, our approach was influenced by the potential users of our findings. The targeted audiences are the policy makers and other major players – such as NGOs – of Kosovo’s decentralization arena.

The report rests on field research conducted in a number of municipalities, both Kosovo Serbian and Kosovo Albanian ones, as well. A study on tracking the flow of funds from Serbia to Kosovo was commissioned within the framework of our project. The project started in December 2008; our interim findings were discussed at a workshop in Prishtina in October, 2009.

EU Energy Policy and Regional Co-operation in South-East Europe

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Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
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Diana Bozhilova

For decades after founding the ECSC (1951) the member states have relegated the issue of joint supranational energy policy development. The situation changed decisively in the early 1990s, with the dramatic shift in the geo-politics of the resource-rich Eurasia, following such developments as the collapse of the USSR and the Gulf War. In light of these developments, European states gradually consolidated their position in favour of supranational energy policy development. This paper presents an analysis of developments in EU energy policy given the ongoing realignment of strategic interest. It outlines the process of Europeanization, identifying caveats in the security of energy supply. It then proposes a solution to the main problematic of diversification of hydrocarbons supply through the fostering of regional co-operation amongst the states of South-East Europe (mainly Greece, Bulgaria and Turkey). The paper argues that this is the only viable and lasting solution to EU energy dependency away from Russia, at once showing the fundamental importance of pipeline ‘mapping’ in the area.

Balkans 2010

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Date added: 12/06/2010
Date modified: 12/06/2010
Filesize: 2.88 MB
Downloads: 988

Report of an Independent Task Force

Sponsored by the Council on Foreign Relations
Center for Preventive Action

Edward C. Meyer, Chair
William L. Nash, Project Director

The end of the Cold War enabled long-suppressed ethnic and religious conflicts to reemerge.Nowhere was the virus of militant ethnic nationalism more deadly than in the Balkans. Though too late to prevent the outbreak of violence in the former Yugoslavia, America and its allies ultimately played an indispensable role stopping atrocities, mediating agreements, and creating conditions for sustainable peace. After more than a decade of extensive involvement, the international community is looking to wind down its commitment in the Balkans.