What’s in a Name? The Republic of Macedonia at the Crossroads

Forming of the new Government on 31st of May 2017 marked the beginning of the end of one of the most serious political crisis that Republic of Macedonia has lived through from its independence. The country was faced with challenges both on the domestic front – the dissolution of the democratic institutions and backsliding to authoritarianism, and on the international front as well – worsening of the relations with its neighbors. One of the first steps taken by the new government was to renew the ties with its Southern neighbor – Greece and to continue the talks over the name issue. After a period of three years, the representatives from both countries started negotiating again in order to resolve the name dispute and the security implications of this prolonged dispute on the Balkan region. But by all means the renewal of the negotiations is only just a beginning of the lengthy path of rebuilding the trust and solving the issue that has been a huge burden especially to the R. Macedonia’s integration in EU and NATO.

Continue Reading →

“2004 EU Accession” as a Founding Moment? Of lost opportunities, alienating constitutionalism and vigilant courts

Much as the liberal elites in Poland are appalled by the ruthlessness of the attack on the Constitutional Court and the Polish rule of law, they are the ones to be blamed for the civic passivity that continues to define post-transition societies in general. The truly reformative potential of 1989, and then 2004, was lost when elites neglected the importance of connecting with the “real” people beyond the magic of the big-bang moments of 1989 and 2004. This “alienating constitutionalism” is one of the dark sides of 2004 Founding Moment, one that nobody really saw coming at the time of the EU Accession. Should the citizenry start embracing and defending the Court as “my own”, the truly powerful legacy of the 2004 Founding Moment would be discovered.

Continue Reading →