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.




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Business In Bulgaria: An Overview for Investors and Managers in 2010

Date added: 08/12/2010
Date modified: 08/12/2010
Filesize: 858.46 kB
Downloads: 780
William Sullivan
Jun 3, 2010

Commentary on the business environment in Bulgaria must begin with a discussion of corruption. For the bulk of Bulgaria's short post-communist history since 1989, corruption has been an important defining context of doing business in the country. Compared to other post-communist states, such as the Baltics, which summarily dismissed and banned their erstwhile communist leadership after the fall of the Soviet Union, as well as Romania, which scuttled its communist strongman Nicolae Ceausescu with particularly violent resolution, Bulgaria's transition from communism to true democracy has been slower. Bulgaria's communist nomenclature continued to officially hold the reins of power in Bulgaria for years after the official expulsion of Bulgaria's communist strongman, Todor Zhivkov.

During these final few years in power, members of the communist political elite, including personnel from the security services, were able to consolidate gains, taking favored positions in the privatization of state assets and shoring up relationships that would serve them lucratively going forward. By maintaining control over various aspects of politics, law enforcement, customs agencies and other state apparatuses, a continuum of personal straddling both legitimate and illicit institutions arose in an unpredictable new order, assuming positions of power in the wreckage and confusion that followed the collapse of communism. This continuity of personnel would play a major role in the slowed development of the country in the years since, as Bulgaria continues to struggle with a culture of corruption, inconsistent economic growth and the consistent threat of political isolation within Europe. An analysis of corruption is therefore appropriate for any prognosis of the future of business climate in Bulgaria. This section of the report seeks to paint a useful picture of corruption as well as a discussion of progress to date in the fight against corruption in Bulgaria.

Decentralization in Kosovo I: Municipal elections and the Serb participation

Date added: 09/15/2010
Date modified: 09/15/2010
Filesize: 177.24 kB
Downloads: 603

Prepared by: Ilir Deda


Kosovo completed one of the most challenging phases of Ahtisaari’s Comprehensive Status Proposal (CSP) of creation of new municipalities and the process of decentralization by holding the municipal elections on 15 November, 2009. These elections were crucial in two aspects – they were the first ones organized after the declaration of independence, while the Serb participation was fundamental to legitimize the creation of new municipalities. Kosovo succeeded in both – showed the capability to organize autonomously elections, while the Serb participation was a blow to Belgrade and the idea of partition of Kosovo. The Serbs won in four municipalities, boycotted in three in northern Kosovo, lost in one, while the elections for the new municipality of Mitrovica North and Partesh/Parteš in eastern Kosovo should be held in May 2010. The overall Serb turnout was ten times higher in the elections in independent Kosovo than in November 2007, while Kosovo was still administered by UNMIK.

Decentralization in Kosovo II: Challenges of Serb majority municipalities

Date added: 09/15/2010
Date modified: 09/15/2010
Filesize: 234.9 kB
Downloads: 537

Prepared by: Ilir Deda and Krenar Gashi


Following the successful local elections of November 15, 2009, the dynamic of decentralization and funcitonalization of new Serb majority municipalities will increase. Graçanicë/Gra?anica, Kllokot/Vrbovac and Ranilug, are three new created and legitimized municipalities. These municipalities have their legal and legitimate leaderships which match or surpass the parallel ones. Further, for the first time in two decades interethnic issues and problems between Kosovo Serbs and Kosovo Albanians are passing into a genuine platform of institutional divergence.

The Fragile Triangle

Date added: 09/15/2010
Date modified: 09/15/2010
Filesize: 270.54 kB
Downloads: 668

Police, judges and prosecutors coordination during criminal proceedings response in Kosovo

Prepared by: Krenar Gashi
Contributions: Betim Musliu and Ariana Qosaj Mustafa

Rule of law remains the weakest area of governance in Kosovo and one of the biggest challenges for the full consolidation of country’s statehood. The UN mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) did not succeed on establishing an efficient justice system, which would be able to fight crime and to ensure a safe and secure environment. UNMIK’s Department of Justice (DOJ) that administered the justice system until Kosovo’s declaration of independence in February 2008 has been the most criticised pillar of the UN mission, by media, civil society and also international organisations. UNMIK prosecutors and judges were part of a political and administrative mission, further lacking clear division between legislative, executive and judicial powers. In terms of efficiency, an UNMIK judge has resolved averagely 1.5 cases a year.

Seizing momentum in Bosnia

Date added: 09/23/2010
Date modified: 09/23/2010
Filesize: 153.81 kB
Downloads: 541

10/09/2010 By Sofia Sebastián

 AFP/Getty Images Following the collapse of the so-called Butmir process, an initiative led by the US and the EU to change the Dayton constitution in the fall of 2009, the EU’s policy in Bosnia has stagnated. While many view EU integration as the solution to stabilisation in the Balkans, few now believe the EU capable of delivering tangible results. It has become evident that prevailing sticks and carrots are largely ineffective, leading many protagonists to express increasing frustration.
Ahead of the upcoming general elections in October, EU policy-makers must consider the key challenges, evaluate potential risks and opportunities, and develop a new strategic plan jointly with the US and other international actors.

In this Policy Brief, Sofia Sebastian examines possible scenarios for a revised international presence that could help promote the EU reform agenda in Bosnia.

Photo: AFP/Getty Images