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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Democracy Monitoring Report: Albania

Date added: 05/28/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 741.65 kB
Downloads: 700
This report provides a ground-level synopsis of democratic conditions in Albania. It draws on FRIDE’s series of country reports that provide independent analysis of different aspects of democracy development. The report is based on more than 40 ‘semi-structured’ interviews and a substantial number of consultations with international officials, journalists, civil activists, political analysts, members of the judicial system, party representatives, parliamentarians and government
officials, conducted in early 2010.2 It also uses various governance indexes and benchmarks as a point of reference in assessing the state of democracy in Albania.

Serbia – tying the EU in knots

Date added: 05/28/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 147.52 kB
Downloads: 634
Judy Batt
The Spanish presidency of the EU opened 2010 on a rather high note for the Western Balkans and for Serbia in particular: the December European Council decided to unfreeze the implementation of the Interim Trade Agreement with Serbia and to lift the EU’s long-resented visa regime for citizens of Serbia (along with those of Macedonia and Montenegro). Encouraged by these  developments, the Serbian government swiftly submitted its formal application for EU membership, hoping to sustain the momentum and catch up with its neighbours in the Western Balkans. Public opinion polls duly recorded a surge of pro-EU sentiment and new optimism that EU membership could be within reach in just a few years’ time.

Interview with Bogdan Bogdanovic?

Date added: 05/28/2010
Date modified: 10/14/2011
Filesize: 155.96 kB
Downloads: 759
“Urbanity is one of the highest abstractions of the human spirit. To me, to be an urban man means to be neither a Serb nor a Croat, and instead to behave as though these distinctions no longer matter, as if they stopped at the gates of the city”

State of Constriction - Governance and Free Expression in Kosovo

Date added: 05/24/2010
Date modified: 07/06/2010
Filesize: 538.84 kB
Downloads: 636
Youth Initiative for Human Rights
Kosovo society is intimidated, though now more resigned than fearful. Instead of providing an arena for an active and uninhibited citizenry to foster the common good, guiding and participating in the decisions of government, the public sphere is made to seem a forbidding place. There is a lack of a vibrant culture of association. A sense of citizenship, of having and exercising rights, and of ownership is meagrely developed. International oversight presences partially substitute for Kosovo society’s minimal ability to hold its own institutions to account.

ICG Report The Rule of Law in Independent Kosovo

Date added: 05/19/2010
Date modified: 05/20/2010
Filesize: 1.02 MB
Downloads: 1068





Europe Report N°204 – 19 May 2010

The latest International Crisis Group report, reviews the state of the police and courts in the young Balkan state and recommends that the government, the European Union rule of law mission (EULEX) and the wider international community work to fight corruption, adopt needed legal reforms, recruit more judges and prosecutors and improve training. Key players should also address the particular weaknesses of law enforcement in Serb-held northern Kosovo by facilitating the appointment of Albanian and Serb judges and engaging local police.

“The government has made some postitive changes but hasn’t shown the political will to create a strong and independent judiciary”, says Marko Prelec, Crisis Group’s Balkans Project Director in Pristina. “Kosovo cannot afford cosmetic improvements – without the rule of law it will remain poor and isolated.”

When Serb authorities fled the territory in 1999, they took its court records and equipment with them, leaving behind a justice system tainted by a history of discrimination and ties to Slobodan Miloševi?. Improvements were made under the UN Mission in Kosovo, but the transition to self-government has not been smooth. The UN failed to cultivate the senior civil servants needed to ensure effective police and judiciary, and the result of delays in handing over important internal security responsibilities was that some institutions suffered from the impression among Kosovars they were dominated by foreign influence.

Weak legal institutions have allowed organised crime and corruption to grow. Poor record-keeping hamper attempts to tackle impunity, top police officials are beholden to politicians and slow to adopt modern methods, and the courts have such a heavy backlog that many are denied justice. Improved staffing, training, and a willingness to break with the abuses of the past are needed to protect citizens, establish accountability and attract foreign investment.

The Serb-controlled north’s disputed status has left it without a functioning criminal justice system. To combat this, EULEX should propose a compromise to seat Serb and Albanian judges, while its police should act against the region’s worst offenders.

“Virtually no one we speak to on the ground feels the current Kosovo government supports the rule of law, and some think its unwillingness to tackle corruption shows its hostility to foreign investment”, says Sabine Freizer, Crisis Group’s Europe Program Director, “Even if this is only a perception, Kosovo cannot wait any longer to secure the rule of law if it is to have a successful economic and political future”.