Why Was Zapad-2017 So Important?

russian tank belarus zapad

The strategic joint military exercise Zapad-2017 took place from September 14-20 at several training grounds in Russia and Belarus. According to official statements, the total number of troops participating in this military drill was 13,000. However, the real figures could well have been significantly higher. The official scenario of Zapad-2017 was very close to that of previous Belarusian-Russian military exercises, which took place in 2011 and 2013. Belarusian and Russian troops were preparing to repel aggressive actions by their western neighbours, aimed at destabilising the situation in Western Belarus.

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Euroscepticism in Serbia: An Image Problem?

It would likely make sense to search for the causes of the euroscepticism of the citizens of the Republic of Serbia and other similar states in the region in the specific features, length and effects of a social transition which has been going on for more than twenty years. Disappointment, unfulfilled expectations under conditions of radical social change, and confusion in the understanding and promotion of EU integration could be considered general causes. Radical changes of the economic, political, legal and any other system have been going on for too long.

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Regional Relations in the Western Balkans: Moving Beyond Folklore

Bosnia and Herzegovina flag with Serbia flag, 3D rendering

A long-awaited visit by Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić to Sarajevo finally took place in September, the first visit to the Bosnian capital by a Serbian president. Open disagreements between Mr Vučić’s predecessor, Tomislav Nikolić, and the Bosniak representative of the Bosnian presidency, Bakir Izetbegovic, had made any such visit impossible in the past. Indeed, personal conflicts between the two leaders had led to total alienation between the two countries at the state level, all the while deepening Serbia’s relationship with the Republika Srpska and its leadership. Continue reading Regional Relations in the Western Balkans: Moving Beyond Folklore

Political Tensions Rise As Croatia Allegedly Breaks the Dublin III Refugee Regulation

croatia migrants

In late July 2017, the European Court of Justice (ECJ) ruled that Croatia had broken the Dublin III Regulation during mass-arrivals of refugees and forced migrants in 2015/2016. The rule was supposedly broken by allowing the refugees to cross over Croatian territory. This lead to the refugees ‘irregularly’ travelling further to Slovenia and Austria without imposing legal mechanisms of interception and eventual examinations of the possible claims for international protection (asylum). Continue reading Political Tensions Rise As Croatia Allegedly Breaks the Dublin III Refugee Regulation

Defending EU Values in Poland and Hungary

Eu hungary poland

After years of heating up, the EU’s values crisis is close to boiling point. Defiance of core EU principles by the governments in Warsaw and Budapest is turning into a political crisis. The European Commission has taken legal action against both governments for violating specific EU laws and is threatening to go further on Poland. The European Parliament supports this course and is preparing further action against Hungary. But the Hungarian and Polish governments will feel the heat only if political leaders of the EU’s other member states get actively involved. Continue reading Defending EU Values in Poland and Hungary

Emphasising the Incongruence Between the V4 Countries

Macron emerging europe

French President Emmanuel Macron’s recent Central and Eastern European (CEE) visit was notable for what he discussed (stimulating the French economy), and perhaps even more notable for where he visited… and where he did not. While the tour may have accomplished his quest for regulating posted workers (he claimed current numbers harm the French economy), his policy objectives may have been overshadowed by the growing rift in the European Union (EU), and especially amongst the Visegrad countries of Central Europe.  Continue reading Emphasising the Incongruence Between the V4 Countries

Why Hungary’s New NGO Law Is Harmful for Business

Budapest, Hungary. Aerial view of the old city Budapest, Hungary with river and Parliament Building with cloudy blue sky

The new non-governmental organisations’ (NGO) law in Hungary made international headlines; however, the crackdown on independent NGOs, trying to hold the government accountable, is not a new phenomenon in Hungary. The newly adopted law is about the transparency of foreign funded organisations. Despite its title, the law does not further transparency, but rather serves as a tool to stigmatise independent voices. Continue reading Why Hungary’s New NGO Law Is Harmful for Business

Partnership is the Key to CEE-Indian Business

India’s progress in the last two decades has been unique. Traditionally, the manufacturing sector is viewed as the key engine of economic growth. Western countries, China and South East Asia grew largely due to growth in manufacturing sector, but India’s economic growth is largely driven by the services sector. For example, in 2015-16, the services sector contributed around 66.1 per cent of the country’s gross value added growth. Continue reading Partnership is the Key to CEE-Indian Business