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List of Abbreviations


Erhard Busek- Bjorn Kidme: NOTE fROM nlE EDITOR ... _


Olli Rehn, European Commissioner for Enlargement: FOREWORD



1.1 Gregor Ur. Koessler: Adapting to a Changing Environrnenr in South Eastern

Europe - the dllferent phases and functions of the Stability Pact 17

1.2 Alessandro Rona . Mike Mozur: Regional Co-operation in rhe context of European and Euro-Arlanrlc Integration, , , , . , , , , , . , ..



2.1 Florian Biber: The challenges of Democratisation and Human Rights- 1998 to 2008 . . . . . . . . . . . . . , . . . . . . . . . . . . , . , , .


2.2 Srdjan Cuijic: A bottom-up approach to democratisation: the role of the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe in strengthening local democracies

and enhancing cross-border co-operation in the Balkans .


2.3 Yasha Lange: Media development in South Eastern Europe


2.4 Sonja Lokar: The shift in international actors' approach to the situation of women in conflict and posr-conflicr regions 1999-2008:

The case of the Balkan ............"",...,.....


2.5 Petra Bliiss· Talia Boati: Parliamentary Co-operation in the framework of

(he Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe ..... __ ..... _


Florian Bieber

2.11he challenges of democratisation and human rights in the Balkans

In [he late 19905, the Western Balkans appeared [rapped between semi-authoritarian governments and weak States. Croatia was governed by the nationalist Tudjman regime, which prevented the return of Serb refugees, while seeking to rnarginalise the opposition in the capital Zagreb and penalise independent media with a 'pornography rax.' Albania had experienced a total collapse of the state. while Bosnia and Herzegovina was barely holding wgerher as only a. few thousand minority returns had taken place and war Criminals remained free. The conflict in Kosovo escalated with thousands of victims and helped Mllosevic in Serbia to rein in the opposition. European integration and democratic consolidation appeared implausible in the region, and continued instability and human rightS violations seemed the norm,

The crises of the late 19905 also highlighted the failure of the European Union and other international organisations to elfecrively deal with the disintegration of Yugoslavia and the weak stares which emerged in the Balkans. The Dayton Peace Accords signed in November 1995 and the related Erdur Agreement for Croatia were mere 'band-aids' to end the immediate conflict without addressing any of rhe underlying problems, These were peace agreements with those who began the wars and thrived on crises and conflict. War and conflict were not the reflection of any popular will. but tools which allowed predatory elites to maintain political and economic control. I

Only full democratisation offered the opportunity for the region co emerge from the period of the violence and narionalisr tensions. A genuine end to this semi-authoritarian nationalist environment prone to renewed conflict was imperative, 2000 was the annus mirabilis in the Western Balkans, as it was in other parts of Eastern Europe 11 years earlier. With the fall of the Tudjman and Mllosevic regimes in Croatia and Serbia respectively and the victory of moderate parties in Bosnia and Herzegovina. the 19905 appeared to have slipped definitively into the past. The victory of the various opposition movements was significant for two reasons. First, it confirmed that citizens worried more about corruption and low living standards chan about some real or perceived threat against [he nation. The nationalist voting machinery failed to work in 2000. Second. it broke the communicating vessels of nationalism. where nationalist parties and rhetoric in Croatia

VP. Cagnon, TI" Myl}, o[Elhni< \~r.' Serbi« and Craatia in the 19.905. Ith"a: Cornell University Press. 2004,


Florian Bieber

Nationalist legacies

The difficulties of the democratic rransition, however, cannot he pur down only to some spoiler groups. One needs to consider the broader 11ntionalist legncy which continues [0 shape social and political discourse. The wars during the J 9905, isolation, lack of opportunity, nationalist educational systems and limited experience of peaceful interethnic coexistence have meant that the generation which grew up during this period is often more, rather than less, nationalist and authoritarian than their parents, A 2004 UNDP study on diversity in Serbia found For example that 20-23-year-olds had a higher degree or ethnocentrism than any other age group.'

Ir would be insufficient to attribute continued nationalist sentiment ro the 1990s alone. Instead, nationalist and ethnocentric perspectives continue to be widely held and arc perpetuated in rhe media and educational system in the region. While there has been a moderation in the official nationalist discourse, many of the underpinning values and self-perceptions often remain unchallenged. The self-perception as victim during the wars and earlier conflicts and the lack of confrontation with war crimes perpetrated by members of the same ethnic background remain prevalent. There is thus both a nationalist counter discourse, which challenges the SGJ.[uS quo (i.e. the Ohrid Framework Agreement in Macedonia, the Dayton Peace Accords in Bosnia and Herz.egovina or the independence of Montenegro) and a dominant 'official' nationalist discourse of the states in the region, such as the way in which national histories continue to be taught in schools across the region.5

Status issues

1l1C political salience of nationalist discourses and spoilers is enhanced by open territorial questions. While there has been no war Of conflict in the Western Balkans since 2001, territorial questions have ofrcn overshadowed debates about democratisation and economic rcform.6 The relationship between Serbia and Montenegro shaped debates in Montenegro unril the referendum on independence in 2006, while the Slams of Kosovo dominated political debates in Kosovo and has similarly asserted itself on the agenda in Serbia since 2004. In Bosnia and Heraegovina, the relationship between the Serb Republic and the state has sidelined most other topics, at least since the failed constitutional reform package in 2006. Finally, in Macedonia, [he balance of power between the twO largest corn-

4 UNDl~ Human Dnl<lDpmml Report 2005, The Stm'g,J, ofDiuwity. Belgrade 2005. p. 4I.

Sec Christina Koulouri (ed.), Clio ill the Balkans. 1,,, Polina of History Education, Thessalonlkl: Centre for DClTlOC'-'CY and Recnnclliarion in Southeastern Europe, 2002.

G Sec lnrernaticnal Commission on the Balkans, 17" Rallraru in Europe! Full/re, 2005, p. 18.

The challenges of dernocrarisaricu and human rights in [he: Balkans

rnunities and disputes over the implementation of me Framework Agreement have often delayed other reforms.

In me Western Balkans, only Croatia and Albania. have been able to avoid such debates since 2000. Of course, the nature and borders of a stare arc crucial for defining democracy. Democracy is reliant on knowing who [he people are and for whom me state is providing services. However, the persistence of these debates has ofren extended beyond the necessary definition of the basic parameters of statehood and democratic governance. They have become a self-serving [001 of parts of the political elite in a number of countries, to distract fj·OI11 other .111.0rc complicated reforms.

Weak states

The weakness ojJt£lteslJlas rendered the consolidation of democracy more difficult. This weakness refers to a stare's reach, as well as its autonomy and legitimacy. From weak state traditions in Albania to strong ethno-regional challengers in Bosnia and Herzegovina, the reach of many states in the Western Balkans is weak as they struggle to provide services on a territory where their role is contested. This weakness is often all the more visible as expectations from stare irutiruricns are unusually high due to the countries' socialist past (and pre-sociallst srarisr traditions). The situation creates a political culture in which the scope of state activity is expected to be broad and comprehensive. The control exerted by political parties over the state, in particular the civil service and the economy, also weakens the autonomy of the srace." The predominance of parties over die state, best symbolised in Montenegro, where the government rents its building from the dominant Democratic Party of Socialists," can undermine the continuity and neutrality of the state. Non-professional criteria for recruitment and advancement in many public administrations are another problem. Furthermore, a number of states are weakened by a Jegitimacy deficit because many citizens idemify with other sub-state units or other state projects. This legitimacy deficit undermined the PRY and its successor, the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro, and continues [0 complicate matters in Kosovo and in Bosnia and Herzegovina.


During the 1990s states were me main vlolarors of human rights. From falsifying elections to murdering [heir own cirizens and intimidating the media, states have severely curtailed

7 Vesna Pclit, "Stare Capture and Widcsprcod Corruprion in Serbi ... C£PS I%rking Documm. No. 2621M a rch 2007. 8 Ma_rijilna Trivunovic, Vera Devine, Harald Marhlse«, Corruption in ,Mollun~gro 2007: Overoiru. OIJ(T Main Problem; a,,,i Status of R,jomu, CHR Michelson Institute, Oslo, 2007, p. 16

Florian Bieber

thrived on their Serbian counter-pans, and vice versa. Finally, by 2000 the wars ofYugoslav success appeared to have ended.

This change promised a rapid transformation of the Western Balkans and a 'catching up' with the remainder of CEE. The conflict in Macedonia" only a ye;:ar later was a stark reminder that srabiliry is not easily achieved and that democratisation and the protection of human rights are not esrablished by the fall of authoritarianism, but grow over a long period of rime.


There is no automatic rule that democratisation either brings stability or protects human rights. In fact, it was the flawed democratisation in 1990 in large swathes of the Western Balkans which gave rise and legitimacy to nationalist governments which claimed to be reflecting popular will. Broader scholarly debates also point [0 the link between ethnic conflict and democratisation.P The transition from one system of goverrunem to another, the re-shaping of the state through a new constlrution, can trigger fears and opportunities for elites or coumer-elites to mobilise on a nationalist platform. 111(: second democratic transitions in Serbia and Croatia (after 2000), and arguably also in Albania and Montenegro (after 1997), were likewise vulnerable.

There have been four challenges to democracy since 2000, which have dictated the different speeds and degrees of success of countries of the Wesrern Balkans in consolidaring their democratic system:

nationalist spoilers;

the nationalist legacy and discourse; open territorial quesrions; and weak states.


Authoritarian and nationalist spoilers remained strong in most countries in the Wesrern Balkans. Spoilers are the opponents of peace agreements, as they quite literally 'spoil'

2 While the country is officially referred to by the EU as the formcrYugos.lav Republic of Mecedonia, as pan of this article the author will use Its consutudonal name.

3 A number of authors have argued forcefully that the process of democratization and the opening up of pre· viously authoritarian regimes are particularly vulnerable periods of violence and ethnic moblllzauon. Jack Snyder and Knell Ballentine, "Nationalism and the Marketplace of Ideas," Intemstion»! Secllrity. 1996. Vol. 21 (2). pp. 5-40.

The challenges of democrat isation and !.UOI:ltI rights in the Balknus


them.l would argue rhat there are also 'democracy spoilers'. In the narrow sense, they arc often called ami-system parties, i.e. political parties which do not accepr the democratic system of government and challenge it either from within (through elections) or from without (through protests or violence). As in many countries, such groups can be broader man parries, so the term spoiler might be more appropriate. 111Cy can include 'uncivil' society, such as war veterans, organised crime, and rebel groups, as well as political parties. Rarely do such groups reject the democratic system outright. It is more common for them to undermine it by placing greater weight on other issues, such as different collectives, the ldcnrification of traitors or the importance of status questions (territory, borders and lines of separation). Spoilers exist in every democracy; they might be banned or they can be allowed to act lcgally, depending on the actor and the country's legal tradition. There is for instance a substantially different approach towards freedom of speech in the USA and Germany. The challenge arises from rhe ability or at least the risk of spoilers undermining rhc.democratlc system in SEE countries.

There are four ways spoilers can achieve their goal. 111e first and obvious rourc is for them to take over the country through violence or elections. While this has been a pending threat in some cases, such as from the Serb Radical Parry in Serbia, no such back-sliding has occurred - so far - since 2000. When previously semi-authoritarian parties or politicians rerum cd to power, such as in Croatia in 2003 or in Bosnia and Herzegovina in 2002, they were no longer systemically opposed to the changes which had taken place in the meantime, and had in fact been largely co-opted. The second way in which spoilers can negatively impact democratisation is by setting the political agenda and undermining reforms. The strong opposition of war veteran associations and the HDZ in Croatia against cooperation with me ICTY in 2001-2., and similar resistance in Serbia against rhe extradition of Slobodan Milosevic by the Djindjic government in 2001, seriously undermined the governments and led to their eventual fall. Spoilers can establish or re-affirm nationalist taboos which reformist or democratic forces are reluctant to break, out of fear (founded or not) of accusations of treachery and loss of electoral support. In this way, some aspects of democratic transition, such as dealing with the past, become particularly difficult [0 address.

The third way is to create a dynamic of outbidding, where democratic panics or groups do not want to be challenged by spoilers and adopt their policies or even seck to outbid them. 111e last way is for spoilers to challenge the system not only from within a respective group, but by exerting pressure on parties and groups from another ethnic group. The insurgency of the Liberation Army of Prcsevo, Medvcda and Bujanovac in Southern Serbia in 2001, for example, imposed pressure onthe newly elected democratic government in Serbia to clamp down on the group, and could have derailed democratisation in Serbia.

Florian Bieber

the human rights of their own and neighbouring countries' citizens. As the region moved away from semi-authoritarian regimes to governments which are (imperfect) democracies, the scale and deliberateness of human rights violations has greatly subsided. The concep~ rual shift underpinning the changes could be described as moving from prevendng state violation of human rights to state prorccrion and promotion of human rights.

A senior scholar of a counrry of the Western Balkans and editor of a publication on human fights joked a few years ago that human rights are today what used to be self-managemcnt during the socialist period in Yugoslavia. Human rights aIC often perceived as an ideology .. resulting in llule more than rhetorical phrases invoked in the now prevalent discourse of political correctness. Human rights remain however an essential part of [he complex process of European integration of the region. The general lack of appreciation for human rights stems from the public's unclear understanding of their implications for individuals and the gap between lofty ideals in international convention and the concrete improvement in peoples' lives.


The formal human rights infrastructure which has emerged in the Wesrern Balkans over the past decade is often exemplary, at least at first glance. Constitutions and laws often routinely and liberally draw from, and in some cases plagiarise, international human fights documents. Much of this framework is the result of external conditionality, rather than domestic commitmcnr to the protection of these rights. As a consequence, this promising base frequently lacks follow up legislation to spell out the details and provide enforcement mechanisms for human rights. The discrepancy between ambitious laws and inadequate implementation has been particularly visible in the field of minority rights, where nationalist resistance often further reduces incentives for implemcntation.9

As international organisations often lack the ability to monitor the implementation of human rights protection, there is little or no sysrcrnatic pressure to move beyond declarations. This is not to suggest that a declaratory cummitmcnr to human rights is meaningless. It creates standards which minorities and other vulnerable groups have used to argue for their rights and it has in some cases significantly shifted the role of (he state. In Croatia, for example, the high level of minority rights protection has been increasingly matched by substantial state funding for minorltles.l? At the same time, a human fights framework which is not adapted ro a country's situation, in particular if the state lacks the

9 See Gwen S"",., "Minoriry RighIS and EU Enlargement: Normative Overstretch Or Ellcctive Condition.I":Y", Gabriel Van Toggenburg (ed), Nfinority Protection and: the EU; Th« Wl'l] Forward (Budapest' LG [ 2004), pp, 6]~84.

10 European Commtssion, Croatid 2007; Pr0KrmR~port, Brussels, 6.11.2007, p. 12.

The chRlIc:ng~s of democratisation and human rJgbrs In [he Balkans


means or the institutional structure [0 support it, ofccn leads to legal commitments that cannot be translated into reality.

Shift from state to socie ty

Much of the attention to human rights, both domestically and internationally, has focused on restralning the state and preventing it from committing human rights violations against its own citizens. This focus is understandable considering the events in the region duringthe 1990s. But this has been accompanied by a shift towards many violations of human rights perpetrated by citizens against other citizens, The mass violence against Serbs in Kosovo in March 2004, the attacks against participants in the gay pride parade in Belgrade .. in 2001 and more sporadic attacks against vulnerable groups often emanated from extremist groups or radicalised individuals rather than rhe state. I I This shift requires states to rake a role very dltferenr from sclf-rescrainr, This is not to argue that the state is merely a bystander. Much of the violence which has occurred against 'others' has been possible because of the passive and often even permissive arrirudc of state structures. Often certain types of violence or discrimination remain socially acceptable. While they might be illegal, the \tate does not treat them on the same footing as other crimes. 11lUs, the shift in attention from the state to society as perpetrator of human rights violations sheds light on the neutrality of UH: state in enforcing certain standards and on its will to shift and shape popular attitudes towards xenophobia and other forms of discrirnination.


Democratisation and the protection of human rights are processes, rather than a dichotomy in which democracy exists and human tights are protected or not, Over this last decade, the Western Balkans have consistently and without exception moved towards JJ1.0tC democracy and greater human rights prorection. The fundamental question for [he region is whether the degree of change has been sufficient to allay concerns about backsliding. Has the point of no return been reached! Here, one cannot draw a uniform picture for the region.

Some countries have achieved a degree of democratic stability that makes conflict, state collapse and massive human rights violations seem very unlikely. Democratic stability and the protection of human rights remain vulnerable in other countries, where U1C main party challenges certain basic values of the democratic system, such as the Radical Parry in

II I h;ayc developed this argument in Floria-n Bieber, "Minority Ril~lH's in Practice in South Eastern Europe," Discussion Paper for the King Baudoin Puundaucn, 2004.


Florian Bieber

Serbia, or where the state remains contested, as in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo. These risks are reflected in the concerns of many citizens over renewed conflict or other forms of reversal in the region. A return to all-out war appears extremely unlikely as the region lacks elites in power who promote conflict as a strategy to retain power, as Milolevic did in Serbia, and as no government possesses the means for a sustained conflict.

Still, the potential for backsliding or at least stagnation remains very real. The reasons for the lack of consolidation are of course largely domestic, as outlined above. At the same time, the pulling power (or lack thereof) of Euro-atlantic integration is essential to understanding the dynamics of democratisation and reform in the Western Balkans. The transformative framework for 2000 was the uneqUivocal promise of ED integration. The promise of inclusion has been able to stimulate and underpin reforms across the region which would have been difficult otherwise. The ability to change the domestic agenda has been particularly visible in Croatia, where a political consensus on ED integration and the contingent reforms is broad and no longer challenged .. Croatia also highlights the difficulties associated with the approach taken bytbe ED and other regional institutions. Instrurnents that rely on conditionality to induce and support reform tend ro work slowly. Even nine years after the beginning of the second democratic rransition in Croatia, the country still remains at least a few years away from full membership. This drawn-out process for the most prosperous and stable country of the Western Balkans shows how long the time scales can be for ED integration. Furthermore, the ability of individual ED member states to delay (or even block) the accession process has been undermining the credibility of the promise of ED membership underpinning democratic reforms in the region and the grand 'bargain' of conditionality and Europeanisation-reforms are rewarded by eventual ED membership. Drawing on the mechanisms developed during the enlargement towards CEE, the ED has not been able to clevd!op an ED member-state building agenda which would increase the incentive and prevent the interference of status issues in the consolidation of democracy and human rights in tl~.e \'V'estern Balkans. Herein lies the challenge for the next decade, locking in me transformation of rhe past ten years and making sure [hat social and political changes bring about open states which consolidate democratic institutions and secure the protection of human rights.

Srdjan Cvijic'

2.2 A bottom-up approach to democratisation: the role of the Stability Pact in strengthening local democracies and enhancing cross-border co-operation in the Balkans


Work in the field of local democracy and cross-border co-operation was launched against the background of conflicts, the creation of new nation states on the ruins of the former Yugoslavia and a parallel process of increased centralisation of power in these countries. Fostering sustainable peace and stability in the region was judged to depend heavily on the promotion of democracy at the local level, the overall work on the promotion of human and minority rights, as well as the rehahllitation ofmultiethn!c and multicultural. societies.

Already al'\j:he first meeting of the Regional Table of the Stability Pact, held in Brussels on 16 September 1999,. a Work Plan was endorsed which envisaged among the main activities of the Working Table I on Democratisation and Human Rights .. [dJ eveloprnent of local democratic government and encouragement of co-operation between local authorities of the region and of other Stability Pact countries: [pjromoticn of ' best practices' in

Dr. Srdjan Cvijic bas been working as an Expert for democrar! sa tion and hum ... , rlghrs in charge ofthe Local Democracy and Cross Border Cooperarion Task Force, Building Human Cil:pitj)1 Core Oojecrivc and Media. since 2005. The author would like to drank his predecessors and other stakeholders participating in the work of the Core Group on Local Democracy and Cross Border Cooperation. Steering Cornrnirree for Local Democracy and Cross Border Coopemrkm and the Locnl Democracy and Cross Border Cooperation Task [loree,

who made valuable contribution, to this article: M" Alfonso Zardi Head of cl,e Deparrrnem of Local Government and Trans Frunrier-Cooperat inn, Dir General] -legiJJ A1f~irs, Council of Europe, Ms. Vera Bud.,. Way, Executive Secretary On Local democracy and Cross Border Cooperation, SP Business Advisory COlt neil Coordinator, Cabiner of the St.bility Pact for SEE, from 2002-2004, involved ill the SEC] since 1996. currently working as the Prograrnrnc Manager for Corporate Culture and l.eadc:rship Development wlth [he Erst~ Bank Group (Ce,kl spofirelna) in Prague: M, 'Iarjana Plrc, Minister Councillor, Ministry of Foreign AJFOI" Republic of Sloven i a, working in Working Table 1 of the Stability Pact for SEE from 2000-2003; Mr. Haralamhos Kontonis expert on dcrnocrarlsation and human rights. Working Table [ of the Stabiliry Pact for SEE, in charge of Local Democracy and Cross Border Cooperation Task Porce and other issues from 2003 to 2005. presently working in the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Greece.

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