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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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: 618

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.

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: 805
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.

Srebrenica: Reconstruction, background, consequences and analyses of the fall of a ‘safe’ area

Date added: 07/20/2010
Date modified: 07/20/2010
Filesize: 25.63 MB
Downloads: 531
In November 1996, the Netherlands Institute for War Documentation (NIOD) was instructed by the Dutch Government to carry out a study of 'the events prior to, during and after the fall of Srebrenica'. For the purposes of this independent historical analytical research, the Government undertook to do everything in its power to grant the NIOD researchers access to the source material at its disposal. On 10 April 2002, this report was made public with the presentation of the first copy to the Minister of Education, Culture and Science, L.M.L.H.A. Hermans M.A., as representative of the Government.

Untying the Knot: The Political Economy of Corruption and Accountability in Kosovo

Date added: 06/30/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 2.45 MB
Downloads: 642

Untying the Knot: The Political Economy of Corruption and Accountability in Kosovo

Kosovar Stability Initiative (IKS), June 29, 2010

Corruption is a key yardstick by which the international community evaluates the challenges of peace and stability in Kosovo. In its last Progress Report, the European Commission concluded that ‘corruption remains widespread in many areas in Kosovo and it remains an issue of serious concern.’1 The U.S. Department of State in its 2009 Human Rights Report for Kosovo, emphasized that the ‘lack of effective oversight and general weakness in the rule of law contributed to corruption in the government.’2 The topic of corruption has also become an important part of Kosovo’s internal political discourse, with political parties accusing each other of corruption to gain support and discredit their opponents. However, despite regular invocations of corruption by Kosovars and internationals alike, details about its scope and structure remain sketchy, limiting the understanding of its consequences for political and economic development.

EULEX Programme Report 2010

Date added: 06/16/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 639.77 kB
Downloads: 622
The latest EULEX Programme report. Its publication marks another important milestone – giving opportunity to people to track monitoring, mentoring, and advising (MMA) progress in assisting Kosovo’s rule of law. This work has sought to build upon the work culminated in the release of the EULEX Programme Report in July 2009 by preparing detailed plans to address areas of weakness in Kosovo’s police, judiciary and customs. Planning the necessary changes has been a joint effort of EULEX staff and their counterparts throughout the Rule of Law components. EULEX staff provides assistance in and actively monitored the process of implementation, which has been the sole responsibility of professionals in Kosovo’s police, judiciary and customs.