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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Local Sustainable Development and Spatial Cohesion in the Post-transition Balkans

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 235.81 kB
Downloads: 653

Vassilis Monastiriotis and George Petrakos

The transition process that started in the Balkans some twenty years ago, and the European association process to which it has been inexorably connected, has led to a radical transformation of the Balkan economic space across local, regional, national and trans-national levels. Amongst the other effects that this have had, was the emergence of new and acute socio-economic dichotomies (polarisation) and problems of persistent underdevelopment, peripherality-rurality and economic dependence. In this paper we review the policies that have been applied to address these issues and examine the relevance of contemporary concepts of local economic development for the mobilisation of cohesive and sustainable development in the Balkans. We examine how the main elements of the new regionalist developmental strategy relate to the basic dimensions of socio-spatial infrastructure in the Balkans and identify the key weaknesses of the latter. We conclude by proposing a wider regional strategy that will be able to resolve the existing deficiencies by means of a regional cooperation approach that will seek to maximise intra-regional synergies and develop local and regional comparative advantages and the provision of similar public goods.

Between Enlargement-led Europeanisation and Balkan Exceptionalism

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 243.66 kB
Downloads: 630

Dimitris Papadimitriou# and Eli Gateva

The accession of Bulgaria and Romania into the European Union (EU) in 2007 offers significant theoretical and empirical insights into the way in which the EU has deployed and realised its enlargement strategy/strategies over the past 15 years. Borrowing from the literature on enlargement-led Europeanisation and EU conditionality, this article discusses how the EU has sought to influence domestic reform in the two countries through a mix of threats and rewards. What emerges from Bulgaria’s and Romania’s trajectory towards EU membership is the evolutionary and contested nature of EU conditionality as well as the considerable EU discretion in the manner of its implementation. In that sense Bulgaria and Romania, as ‘outliers’ of the 2004-7 EU enlargement, offer us critical tests of the enlargement-led Europeanisation thesis. Thus, their study provides useful conceptual insights into the transformative power of the EU in Eastern Europe and highlights important policy legacies affecting the current EU enlargement strategy in the Western Balkans and Turkey.

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

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 277.59 kB
Downloads: 1057

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.

The Politics of Differentiated Integration: the case of the Balkans

Date added: 10/12/2010
Date modified: 10/12/2010
Filesize: 219.37 kB
Downloads: 608

Spyros pyros Economides

Most studies of differentiated integration are confined within the framework of the European Union (EU). The EU-Balkan relationship provides an opportunity to apply differentiated integration to links between the EU and a cluster of external states. Differentiated integration is at play in the relationship between the EU and the Balkans, especially in terms of time and space. Different states, at different times, have entered into binding contractual agreements with the EU, intended to enhance their ‘European perspective’. Objectives are seemingly common, there is a sequencing of commitments, and territorially we seek to prepare states so we can redraw our boundaries and include them within. Functionally differentiated integration as a concept faces a greater challenge as the Balkans are not part of the EU. Variable geometry and á la carte choices are not readily available to the Balkan states and as such their fate is decided by the existing membership and not by their own choices.

How to stop Balkans enlargement from turning sour

Date added: 11/06/2010
Date modified: 11/06/2010
Filesize: 239.18 kB
Downloads: 671
Europe's World asks a cross-section of decisionmakers and opinion-formers for their ideas on how to get the accession process firmly back on track.
  •  "People in the Balkans need to feel the tangible benefits of EU accession"
    by Audronius Azubalis, Lithuania's Minister of Foreign Affairs
    "EU enlargement on its own is not a credible foreign policy"
    by Kurt Bassuener, Senior Associate of the Democratisation Policy Council
  • "Balkan countries may have to accede to the EU en bloc to avert growing bi-lateral tensions"
    by Erhard Busek, Co-ordinator of the South-Eastern Co-operative Initiative (SECI) and former Special Co-ordinator of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe
  • "The rationale for further EU enlargement must not become the focus of dispute"
    by Vladimir Drobnjak, Croatia's chief negotiator for accession negotiations with the EU
  • "The test of leadership will be in how it seeks to create viable multi-ethnic societies"
    by Pieter Feith, EU Special Representative to Kosovo
  • "The EU must provide guidance and encouragement through tangible initiatives"
    by Franco Frattini, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Italy
  • "The four C-words: credibility, consistency, commitment, courage"
    by Štefan Füle, EU Commissioner for enlargement and neighbourhood policy
  • "Balkan countries need to engage with the EU in more predictable and effective partnerships"
    by Venera Hajrullahu, Executive Director of the Kosovar Civil Society Foundation
  • "The greatest obstacles to enlargement are unresolved bi-lateral disputes"
    by Werner Hoyer, Minister of State at the German Foreign Office
  • "EU accession is simply an opportunity that can't be missed"
    by Skender Hyseni, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Kosovo
    "Coherent public messages must to explain to Europeans why Balkan integration is so important"
    by Valentin Inzko, EU High Representative for Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • "The EU should enter into a long-term and neutral engagement over Kosovo"
    by Oliver Ivanovic, Serbia's State Secretary for Kosovo and Metohija
  • "EU enlargement has been the only viable policy for the western Balkans"
    by Gordan Jandrokovic, Croatia's Minister of Foreign Affairs and European Integration
  • "The key to the enlargement is maintaining the right political temperature"
    by Eduard Kukan, Former Foreign Affairs Minister of Slovakia
  • "Better management of domestic demand is key to next stage of economic growth"
    by Philippe Maystadt, President of the European Investment Bank
  • "Even Iceland's candidacy is expected to create positive momentum for the Balkans"
    by Antonio Milošoski, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia
  • "There is a need to allay the fears of EU citizens over enlargement"
    by Milan Ro?en, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Montenegro
  • "Social cohesion is a necessary ingredient for progress in difficult economic times"
    by Imre Tarafás, Vice-Governor of the Council of Europe Development Bank
  • "Both the EU and the Balkans need to ask themselves hard questions"
    by Romana Vlahutin, Adviser on SouthEast Europe to the President of Croatia
  • "Focus should move away from political issues and return to the technical"
    by Alida Vracic, Director and founder of the Sarajevo think-tank Populari
  • "Enlargement fatigue is not an option"
    by Ivan Vejvoda, Executive director of the Balkan Trust for Democracy, German Marshall Fund of the United States
  • "The questions over Kosovo's sovereignty still loom large over the integration process"
    by Lamberto Zannier, UN Special Representative for Kosovo
  • "New EU measures should certainly include visa liberalisation"
    by Samuel Žbogar, Slovenia's Minister of Foreign Affairs