Summary: This article surveys the state of diversity in Southeastern Europe by examining the nature of interethnic relations and diversity, minority rights protection and political participation of minorities. During the past decade, state repression and hostility towards minorities have largely made way to including minorities in government and introducing comprehensive minority rights protection laws. These improvements at the level of policy are often not matched in terms of general interethnic relations. Majority-minority relations remain burdened by the 1990s and Southeastern Europe is considerably more homogenous than it was in 1989. As a consequence, legal and policy changes are often the consequence of international and in particular EU pressure rather than domestic processes.
The agreements between Serbia and Kosovo—mediated by the eu since 2011—constitute a major step toward the normalization of relations between the two countries following Kosovo’s declaration of independence in 2008. They are also a test case for eu mediation and its ability to utilize the prospect of accession to address protracted conflicts. This article argues that the eu used creative ambiguity, as well direct pressure, in facilitating a number of agreements between Serbia and Kosovo. While this approach has yielded concrete results, it also bears risks, as the process was top-down and, also, left considerable room for divergent and conflicting interpretations of key provisions. This article will trace the negotiations and identify the particular features of the process.
The development of democracy in the successor states of Yugoslavia illustrates the whole range of differences among these states: from Slovenia which is considered most advanced and consolidated, over Croatia which is on its way to become a consolidated democratic state, to Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia which are seen as still very fragile zones for democracy to take roots in. While scholars refer to these latter cases as to failed or unconsolidated democracies, this article argues against the common theoretical framework and calls for the use of different theoretical and methodological tools to measure the (un)success of these states. For this purpose this article discusses the main (internal) features and weaknesses of these democracies and points at a number of external factors and internal objective circumstances, which (unintentionally) hinder the process of democratization.
In this article, the authors discuss the use of power-sharing instruments in the Western Balkans. While the comparison will focus on the use of power-sharing in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Macedonia, there will be occasional references to Kosovo, the third country in the region that displays elements of power-sharing. We argue that the region has been a laboratory of power-sharing instruments, with rather mixed results. While in all three cases, power-sharing was part of a larger strategy of peacebuilding, and was, therefore, successful in ending violent conflict and supporting peaceful conflict resolution, the introduction of power-sharing has also had some negative side effects. We will discuss, in particular, the consequences of complicated political systems, veto rights, as well as far-reaching ethno-territorial autonomy. Furthermore, the article will asses the risk of blockages arising from complex political arrangements and resulting international mediation. A particular focus of the article will be to distinguish between federalism in Bosnia and Herzegovina and alternative forms of autonomy (both territorial and non-territorial) in Macedonia and Kosovo. Rather than suggesting that power-sharing as such has failed in the region, we submit that the experience in the region suggests that: (a) there are no viable alternatives to power-sharing in the selected countries; (b) that different types of power-sharing need to be considered; and (c) that potential membership in the European Union continues to be the only incentive for the efficient implementation and application of power-sharing in the cases discussed.