Promoting Democracy in the Western Balkans After the Global Economic Crisis
Adam Fagan & Indraneel Sircar
Donor assistance for the Western Balkans, which began two decades ago in response to violent conflict and complex transitions during the collapse of Yugoslavia, has engendered harsh criticism from academics, commentators and domestic elites and publics. Although much of the aid has been targeted towards civil society development, international donors have become heavily involved in attempts to consolidate as well as induce change, and to also spread western values and facilitate the integration of the region within European and global structures. In so doing they have had to navigate a far more difficult set of hurdles than in post-communist Central and Eastern Europe, in political climates often hostile or ambivalent to external intervention. With donor activities now increasingly directed to other parts of the world (in particular, the Middle East and North Africa), and the global financial crisis triggering the most profound rationalization of donor funding and priorities, democracy promotion and the development of civil society in the Western Balkans is under immense pressure. At this critical time, as never before, "it is important: to take stock of the past and current strategies; to review the practices and priorities of international donors; to identify what has worked and what has failed; and to offer recommendations for effective leadership and deployment in the (long) period leading up to EU enlargement. Donors, investors, local civil society activists as well as the academic community each require strategies for improving the current situation in order to foster long-term sustainability of the civil society sector in the Western Balkans.
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The Variable Impact of the Global Economic Crisis in South East Europe
Will Bartlett & Ivana Prica
This paper studies the variable impact of the global economic crisis on the post-communist countries of South East Europe and Turkey. The central question is whether the institutional reforms introduced in the former group of countries during the transition period have improved their ability to cope with external shocks. The transmission mechanisms of the crisis to the region are identified as contractions of credit, foreign direct investment, remittances, and exports, and their variable impact across countries is assessed. The analysis shows that institutional progress (EU integration, transition, governance) had a negative relationship to economic growth in SEE during the crisis period. It concludes that the variable impact of the global crisis on the countries of the region can be explained mainly by their different degrees of integration into the EU and global economy. Institutional reforms that were introduced during the boom period only made countries more internationally integrated and therefore more vulnerable to the impact of the global economic crisis and the more recent crisis of the euro zone. Thus, institutional reforms and improvements in competitiveness appear to be insufficient on their own to insulate such small open economies from negative influences emanating from the external environment.
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The Privatisation of Public Utilities in Croatia:
An Assessment of the Major Gains and Pains
Nevenka Čučković, Krešimir Jurlin, Valentina Vučković
The aim of the research on which this paper is based was to investigate, and where possible measure, the effects of policies of marketisation and privatisation of the telecommunication and the oil and gas industries in Croatia with respect to their business efficiency, management, employment levels, investment, service quality, diversity and prices. The paper questions whether the expected improvements in business performance actually occurred in the post-privatisation period and whether they improved consumer welfare.
Both specialists and the wider public have opposing views about the changes which took place, and the paper therefore attempts to set out a considered analysis of the actual effects of the privatisation of these two public utilities in Croatia.
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Change, Continuity and Consolidation Assessing Five Years
of Montenegro's Independence
The first publication in the LSEE Papers series, Tim Judah's stimulating paper on the emergence of increased cooperation and links across the former Yugoslavia, initiated a lively debate in the region itself and also further abroad.
Keen to maintain this momentum with the second issue we are delighted to present Kenneth Morrison's in-depth analysis of Montenegro in the five years since its independence. Kenneth Morrison is the author of Montenegro: A Modern History and is an unrivalled expert on the country and the wider region in which it is situated. His Paper offers an insight into Montenegro's path to independence in 2006 as well as the adjustments of the political landscape that followed.
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Yugoslavia is Dead: Long Live the Yugosphere Good news
from the Western Balkans
This paper by Tim Judah, a journalist and writer who has covered the former Yugoslavia and the Balkans for many years and whose knowledge of the region is second to none, is the first in the LSEE Papers series. The paper takes a fresh look at a region known mainly as a source of 'bad news'.
Tim Judah worked on this paper and the concept of a 'Yugosphere' while with LSEE as a Senior Visiting Fellow in 2009.
The existence or emergence of a Yugosphere in the Western Balkans has already become a contentious issue and has made headlines across the region.
Click here to view or download Issue 1.