First taste of the EU A sample for the region?
Recent events in our region have brought to mind Winston Churchill’s remark that ‘the trouble with the Balkans is that they create more history than they can consume’. Kosovo’s declaration of independence and Serbia’s response to that, brought this corner of Europe into the spotlight. Historians debate on whether the root causes of current events proceed from strong leaders or from social, economic, and cultural streams of development But are things so disappointing as the global media present? Yes and no. There are now three European Union member states in our neighborhood. The accession of Bulgaria and Romania on January 1, 2007 has set new rules for regional unity, security and collaboration for development. The EU enlargement process stimulated regional cooperation among South Eastern European countries and thus, boosted their economies, revealed investment opportunities and created an impact on the level of society. And the course will not stop here. It is like the domino effect of regional cooperation. The Western Balkans, despite all shortcomings that nobody can miss while watching the news, will follow the European path and all those countries will adapt to European norms and that – effective, indeed- mentality of cooperation. So, the desideratum for the next years in our wider neighborhood is not just having good-neighborly relations, but to have the widest possible collaboration on the part of all parties involved in order to shape a future in which peace and security, economic and social development, as well as the citizens' welfare will be ensured. And this collaboration has to be under the aegis of European integration. But eventually, leaving people and society intact seems unavoidable. Non-governmental and grass-root organizations adopt a more pro-active strategy and the increase of the level of participation on the part of civil society follows an irreversible course. Community programs have increased the mobility of people, which brought different cultures closer, encouraged sincere dialogue and lead to the eventual deconstruction of stereotypes. 2008 is the launching year of the campaign for Intercultural Dialogue, and civil society organisations with different cultural backgrounds will have the opportunity to meet each other and act together, with the large contribution of the Anna Lindh Foundation and the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership. People exchanges have direct repercussions on how we see things, how we judge diversities and how we conceive ourselves. This process can contradict to the claims for the “clash of civilizations” and may create a large area of commonalities, which will contribute to the establishment of a secure environment in our neighborhood. And that brings us to the most recent example. Here at The bridge we are proud to announce our cooperation with Turkish Daily News. This is the first (to our knowledge at least) joint effort of a Greek originated review and a very prominent Turkish newspaper. It is not much, but we think it is a constructive step.
dialogue Lisbon Treaty: The end of the European Constitution? A bimonthly review on European integration SE Europe & the SE Mediterranean
What remains of the European Constitution? 56-57 by Dusan Sidjanski Gergana Grancharova EU's 111,000 sq km growth
The bridge. is a bimonthly publication of the “Agora Ideon” forum
Illusion of EU reform 58-59 by Franck Biancheri
Project Manager: BusinessOnMedia
Criticism facing the Lisbon Accords 62-63 by Dimitris N. Chryssochoou
Contact: 118 Kremou Street, Kallithea, 17675 Athens, Greece tel: +30-210.953.3362 fax: +30-210.953.3096 www.bridge-mag.com e-mail: email@example.com Publisher: Stavroula Sourila Publishing and Business Development Director: Kostas Tsaoussis Executive Consultant: Alexia Konachou Project Director: Victor Dhimas Editor in Chief: Dimitris Maziotis Editorial Consultants: Andreas Hardaloupas Kostis Kapopoulos Stavros Kourtalis Editorial Team: Eleni Fotiou Constantinos Angelopoulos Ali Osman Egilmez Alexandra Fiada Antonis Kamaras Maria Katechi Natassa Mastorakou Dimitris Pappas Simos Ververidis Columnist: Gazmend Kapllani Internet Edition Manager Vasilis Loukanidis Proof-reading: Elizabeth Gardiner
If it waddles and quacks, ...the unducklike qualities of state-like Europe 64-65 by Geoffrey Edwards EU's external relations: new architecture, same structure 66-67 by Othon Anastasakis
New arrivals in the eurozone family
cover story 32-33
Maria Katehi Civil society in action: The case of Prespa Park
Euro- challenges for Cypriot businesses 76-77 by Andreas Eliades Euro brings changes and expectations to Malta 78-79 by Richard Vella Laurenti New currency, new thinking 80-81 by Andreas Theophanous A new chapter in Euro history 82 by Klimentini Diakomanoli-Papadaki
Isin Turgut Only About Peace… Asia Minor Over Again
culture 108 - 109
Artwork team: Dimitris Stergiou Dimitris Papadimitriou Vangelis Nikas Advertising Executive Manager: Christy Sotiriou Montage-Printing: Kathimerini SA ISSN 1791-2237
The bridge. bimonthly review is distributed along with the International Herald Tribune (IHT) and Kathimerini English Edition newspapers in Greece, Cyprus and Albania free of charge (12 March 2008). After the initial day of publication it can be purchased at news-stands. The content of the magazine does not involve the reporting or the editorial departments of the IHT.
© The bridge.. All rights reserved. Neither this publication nor any part of it may be reproduced, stored in a retrieval system, or transmitted in any form or by any means, electronic, mechanical, photocopying, recording or otherwise, without the prior permission of The bridge.. Where opinion is expressed it is that of the authors and does not necessarily coincide with the editorial views of the publisher of The bridge.. All information in this magazine is verified to the best of the authors’ and the publisher’s ability. However, The bridge. does not accept responsibility for any loss arising from reliance on it.
cover story Bulgaria & Romaniaâ€™s first taste of the EU
David Judson The building of the bridge to The bridge
More room for development? 36-37 by Evgeni Kirilov Still the bridesmaid, stories untold 38 by Adina Ioana Valean Still more to be done 40 by Vasileios Siokorelis The Security aspect of accession 42-44 by Sorin Frunzaverde
Successful first step 46-47 by Manuela Marinescu Gazmend Kapllani A Heretical Tale from Pristina
Replacing the old iron curtain 48-49 by Ierotheos Papadopoulos 1 year down and the way ahead 50-51 by Antoinette Primatarova New voices for the region 52-53 by George Ciamba
impressions 96 - 97
dialogue Assesing interculturalism Ivan Gabor Treaty or Constitution?
The Ideology of European Interculturalism? 86-87 by Fabrizio Lobasso Part of Europe's genetic code 88-89 by Margaritis Schinas
Theodore Skylakakis Migration and Climate Change
Education, a tool of cultural awareness 90-91 by Daniel Faas Intercultural Dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership 92-93 by Stefanos Vallianatos Who are we? 94-95 by Yannis Piliouris
Working Group on SMEs The Organization of the Black Sea Economic Cooperation (BSEC) was initiated in 1992 as an informal intergovernmental meeting on Black Sea Economic Cooperation and was converted into an international economic organization on May 1, 1999, with its Charter coming into force when it was signed in June 1998 in Yalta. The BSEC has its headquarters in Istanbul and is composed of twelve member states (Albania, Armenia, Azerbaijan, Bulgaria, Georgia, Greece, Moldavia, Romania, the Russian Federation, Serbia, Turkey and Ukraine). The activity of the BSEC is coordinated and administered by the Permanent International Secretariat (PERMIS) seated in Istanbul. On May 1, 2006, Greek Ambassador Mr. Leonidas Chrysanthopoulos assumed the post of Secretary General of the BSEC PERMIS upon the decision of the 14th Council of Ministers of Foreign Affairs of the BSEC Member States . BSEC Working Group on SMEs The basic goal of the BSEC Working Group on SMEs is the exchange of information and knowledge necessary for the promotion of entrepreneurship among the BSEC Member States. To reach this goal the Working Group aims at: — promoting entrepreneurship and SMEs, — helping to provide an enabling and sustainable business environment and development by giving the message to the Governments, — promoting innovation and technology transfer, — fighting against poverty through the creation of entrepreneurship, — promoting young and women entrepreneurship and — contributing to the economic growth in the region covered by the BSEC.
he Hellenic Organization of Small and Medium Sized Enterprises and Handicraft (EOMMEX S.A) is a non-profit public Organization operating under the auspices of the Ministry of Development. EOMMEX S.A. was founded in 1977, operating for more than 30 years for the promotion and development of small and medium enterprises. EOMMEX’s mission is to provide a favorable and sustainable business environment for the information, support and development of small and medium enterprises (SMEs) while improving their access to different markets. Additionally, it supports the profitability of SMEs’ products and services, and creates supporting mechanisms that facilitate initiating a business and making its operation viable while promoting entrepreneurship and competitiveness. The strategic role of EOMMEX includes implementing means, policies and actions which simplify and facilitate the business environment so as to enable SMEs to meet the requirements of the constantly changing conditions within the European Union that have
been accelerated by the fervent progress of globalization. The Organization monitors recent trends in the SMEs market and submits policy papers to the government introducing legislation measures. It also promotes competitiveness through technology upgrade, employing all possible means of knowledge society, digital economy, enterprise cooperation, model application and quality systems. EOMMEX creates the structures to support entrepreneurial activities which will narrow the information gap and contribute to the upgrading of the business culture. It also strengthens the development of the production process supporting clustering among industries and smaller businesses. Furthermore, it provides technical assistance to the SMEs and improves the production process, while encouraging entrepreneurship and upgrading the financing environment. The Hellenic Republic through EOMMEX is the Country-Coordinator for the Organization
enterprises for 30 years 3. to encourage the BSEC Member States to introduce relevant measures in order to improve legislation and simplify the procedures related to the formation of enterprises and development of SMEs, as well as simplification of tax regulations, accountancy and reporting of SMEs; 4. to promote entrepreneurship and SMEs; 5. to organize exchange of information and experience related to the development of SMEs in the BSEC Region; 6. to provide a platform for discussions on entrepreneurship; 7. to collect, process and disseminate statistical and other information related to enterprise development and to establish the BSEC Data Bank on SMEs; 8. to cooperate with other Working Groups within the BSEC and with other international and private/public sector organizations; 9. to monitor the nature, level and impact of actions and activities in the light of the Declaration on Small and Medium-Sized Enter-
prises at the Dawn of the 21st Century, adopted on September 27, 2001 in Istanbul by the Ministers responsible for SMEs. In its effort to achieve a successful Greek presidency of the working group, and conscious of the crucial role of SMEs in the economies of the BSEC Member States, EOMMEX will seek the support and cooperation of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Ministry of Development and the BSEC Permanent International Secretariat. Moreover, EOMMEX has emphasised its wish to collaborate with its respective Organizations responsible for the Support of SMEs in the Member States of the BSEC, calling on them to work together to encourage further cooperation among the SMEs in the region.
MINISTRY OF DEVELOPMENT
GENERAL SECRETARIAT OF INDUSTRY
of the Black Sea Economic Cooperaton (BSEC) Working Group on SMEs for the term November 2007- October 2009. Through this, many highly beneficial activities may be realized, such as collaborations and projects for the SMEs of the BSEC region. The Working Group on SMEs is composed by the representatives of (i) the government officials from the BSEC Member States in charge of elaboration of national SME policies and supportive programmes,(ii) the national supportive organizations and institutions,(iii) the chambers of commerce and industries and (iv) the NGOs/associations representing interest of SMEs and is assigned with the following mission and tasks: 1. to contribute to the improvement of efficiency of the SME support policies and instruments of the BSEC Member States; 2. to attract the attention of their respective national authorities to the necessity of promoting wider cooperation among SMEs in the region;
The building of the bridge
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Civil society in action: The case of Prespa Park
The Prespa region is situated in the Balkan Peninsula, in South Eastern Europe at the borders between Albania, Greece, and FYROM. The area is considered an ecological entity of global significance, as it hosts a variety of biotopes – lakes, mountains and forests – with unique characteristics. Lakes Micro and Macro Prespa are among the oldest ones in Europe and therefore host a large number of endemic species. In addition, forming an important wetland site, the area not only constitutes a significant reservoir of biodiversity and natural productivity, but also plays important roles in vital natural functions, such as water storage and cleansing, groundwater recharge and the stabilization of shorelines. In the light of these facts, the preservation of Prespa’s natural beauty and biodiversity is of utmost importance. The pressing need to find viable solutions towards this end is growing, especially since the area is facing environmental and sustainability problems that need to be addressed. Environmental problems, including drought, rising temperatures and receding water levels, as well as socio-economic challenges, such as rising immigration, the lack of job opportunities and social infrastructures endanger the area’s natural heritage and sustainability. Having realised that the region’s protection presupposes a trilateral co-operation, Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs) took the initiative to suggest that their governments support the creation of the first transboundary protected area in South Eastern Europe that includes the Micro and Macro Prespa Lakes and the surrounding mountains. The idea has been accepted and the Transboundary Prespa Park was established with the joint Declaration of the Prime Ministers of Albania, Greece and FYROM on February 2, 2000, in Aghios Germanos, Greece. Since then, many important initiatives have been taken with the active co-operation of NGOs, local communities and governments. Three particular NGOs which we would like to mention in this respect are: the Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), based in Aghios Germanos, Greece, the Protection and Preservation of the Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), based in Tirana, Albania, and the Society for the Investigation and Conservation of Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development of Natural Ecosystems (BIOECO), based in Skopje, FYROM. They are closely involved in the project and their representatives talk to Maria Katehi on behalf of The bridge about their main achievements, the benefits of the trilateral co-operation, the role of NGOs and their future goals and aspirations.
Main Achievements and the Challenge Ahead What are your main achievements so far and what are the future goals and objectives, as well as the challenges that lie ahead? Ms. Vivi Roumeliotou, SPP: The main practical achievements of the Prespa Park initiative so far are the adoption of a Strategic Action Plan for the Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park, laying down a common vision for the area across borders, and the ongoing implementation of an ambitious 5-year project on ‘integrated ecosystem management’ in the Prespa Park basin with substantial international and national co-funding. A less visible but probably more significant achievement is the broad inclusiveness of
stakeholders in the transboundary collaboration process, involving state representatives, local and regional authorities, local national and international NGOs and the academic communities from the three countries, as well as many international participants such as GEF and UNDP, bilateral state aid agencies, and the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. All these entities have worked together in the past eight years to create a common culture of peaceful collaboration in Prespa and have provided support, guidance and funds. The challenge ahead is to keep this momentum and turn it into concrete joint decisions and measures for environmental protection and sustainable development.
The Benefits What are the benefits of establishing the transboundary Prespa Park for the environment, local economy, and culture? Ms. Vivi Roumeliotou, SPP: The potential benefits of transboundary co-operation in Prespa are obvious. The biodiversity, the lakes, wetlands and forests are shared assets and resources that cannot be effectively protected and managed by any one side alone. The cultural heritage of the area is also common and can be best preserved and promoted in co-ordination. The local economy is totally dependent on these resources and its future sustainable development inevitably passes
through coordinated planning and mutual support from a basic level.
To what extent has the project increased public awareness on the environmental problems of the Prespa region and how do you plan to achieve further information dissemination and increase stakeholder involvement? Dr. Spase Shumka, PPNEA: The Strategic Action Plan (SAP) for Sustainable Development of the Prespa Park is a study being undertaken by the collaborating NGOs in the Prespa Park process. It is clear that ‘none of the three countries alone can raise the living standard of the Prespa inhabitants beyond a certain point, unless it comes to an agreement with the other two states on a harmonised utilisation of natural resources under common terms’. This is reflected through the local initiatives for co-operation in the fields of protected areas, fire protection, culture, local governace and local NGOs. We hope to achieve further results through wider participation, co-operation and involvement in decision-making of the local stakeholders in the three countries. The SAP is now being used as reference by various stakeholders at all levels (central government, local authorities, municipalities, consultancy firms). Furthermore, the Prespa Park Co-ordination Committee has decided to use the SAP as the overriding document that will guide the activities of Prespa GEF UNDP Project that is currently under implementation.
To what extent have the environmental protection and sustainable development of the Prespa Lakes and surrounding area contributed to the reinvigoration of sustainable tourism in the area?
Furthermore, increased positive publicity has generated inquiries from foreign investors for the creation of new resorts.
Dr. Svetozar Petkovski, BIOECO: At present, the workers’ involvement with the Park project has boosted tourism by staying in local hotels and homes. However, the greatest improvement in sustainable tourism will be realised in the future. Villages such as Brajchino have already achieved a reputation for pure air and a clean environment, which has led to an increase in international tourism. Improved waste collection systems are also helping the general appearance of the area. Additionally, people are coming to experience the traditional local food and the eco-trails on Mount Pelister.
Dr Svetozar Petkovski, BIOECO: Most of BIOECO’s direct participation involved a study on the endangered Pelister Trout. For this project, a local environmental NGO from Brajchino helped with much of the fieldwork. We also interviewed local residents concerning the history of the trout and their opinions on ways to improve the current situation. As a result, the citizens of Brajchino supported the expansion of Pelister National Park to the Greek border in order to protect the trout’s habitat. Now, these residents have invested more in protecting this important resource.
In what ways have you involved local communities and stakeholders?
Trilateral Co-operation The bridge: What are the main obstacles that you have faced so far and the lessons learnt from this trilateral co-operation? Ms. Vivi Roumeliotou, SPP: The main obstacle so far was the initial absence of a common code of understanding that extended from local authorities to scientists, and, most notably, the weak commitment of the central governments to the Prespa Park initiative after its launch, which has not allowed for the formalization of trilateral institutions and the more active engagement of public authorities. The main lessons learnt is that transboundary co-operation of this type inevitably takes time to be built and that significant results can be achieved even in the face of a lukewarm stance by the central states.
To what extent have the collaboration between the local societies and NGOs strengthened the relations between the three countries? Dr. Spase Shumka, PPNEA: From the very initial stage, working in a typical boundary area we, as an NGO, have regarded the borders as both a threat and an opportunity. A threat due to controls, restrictions, and limits. An opportunity due to exchange, crossing roads and trade. Living just at the heart of the Balkans, due to historical reasons, this mismatch was more reflected in reality. However, the border people have utilized both limitations and opportunities and as a result the transboundary protected area acts as more than just a reserve nowadays. The Prespa is a good example of an area where nature meets humanity. Non Governmental Organisations (NGOs), in the case of Prespa, focused on strengthening
the capacity of nature conservation, strategic planning towards conservation and sustainable development, attracting donations, catalysing the common efforts of the three bordering countries and finding the right time to initiate the transboundary mechanism.
Is it possible that similar trilateral co-operation will be gradually extended to other fields, where there is scope to advance common interests and achieve mutual benefits? Dr. Spase Shumka, PPNEA: The development and evolution of institutions for transboundary management in the Prespa Park area is a response to the belief that many of the environmental problems in the region are intensified because the quickly evolving processes of the ecosystem are not followed by the necessary strengthening of trilateral co-operation at government level. From our point of view, trilateral co-operation has to be gradually oriented towards: — Promoting international co-operation at different levels and in different fora; — Enhancing environmental protection across ecosystems; — Facilitating more effective research in the field of biodiversity values, nature conservation and economic prosperity; — Bringing economic benefits to local economy, strengthening incomes generation; and — Ensuring better cross-border control of problems such as fire, water management, poaching, water pollution and sustainable agriculture development.
The role of NGOs How important is it that the initiative for the creation of the transboundary Prespa Park was taken by NGOs? Do you consider that we are going to experience further strengthening and deepening of civil society participation in years to come? Dr. Svetozar Petkovski, BIOECO: Within the last decades, the Prespa area has experienced many disturbances, both in the water and on land. Because NGOs deal with educating the public, they directly influence public attitudes and the process of political decision making for environmental protection and sustainable development. The non-governmental sector is an essential part of the democratic process, facilitating government and civil society working together for the benefit and prosperity of the local community. The problems of the environment are not simply localised issues, but are questions for all of humanity. Thus, the NGOs from the three affected countries are in a very good position to work together to help achieve better protection of the region.
Ms. Vivi Roumeliotou works for the NGO Society for the Protection of Prespa (SPP), based in Aghios Germanos, Greece, and is Member of the Secretariat of the Prespa Park Co-ordination Committee. Dr. Spase Shumka works for the NGO Protection and Preservation of the Natural Environment in Albania (PPNEA), based in Tirana, Albania, and is Member of the Secretariat of the Prespa Park Co-ordination Committee. Dr. Svetozar Petkovski is the President of the NGO Society for the Investigation and Conservation of Biodiversity and the Sustainable Development of Natural Ecosystems (BIOECO), Skopje, FYROM.
Fostering Synergies Regional cooperation around the Black Sea is gradually gaining prominence on the agenda of relations of the enlarged European Union with its Eastern neighbors1. The Union develops initiatives designed to be complementary to its policies towards different groups of countries from the region. The agenda of relations of the enlarged European Union with its Eastern neighbors gradually focuses on regional cooperation in the Black Sea area. In comparison with the rest of the world economy, the Black Sea Region was the third fastest growing region in the 2000-2006 period. The external trade volume of the BSEC countries was estimated in 2006 at USD 997.21 billion. However, especially the Black Sea countries of the former Soviet Union are still not active participants in the evolving international division of labor. Turkey, Greece, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Armenia, Georgia, Albania are WTO members. Azerbaijan, Serbia, Ukraine and Russia are in various stages of the WTO accession process. The intra-regional trade in the Black Sea region remains relatively low. In 2006, it represented 17.04% of the total external trade of the Black Sea countries, amounting at 170 billion USD. Two distinct trade blocks emerged in the Black Sea region: one is Euro-centric, comprising the EU member countries, Turkey and the Southeastern European 1
The article is based on a study requested by the European Parliament's Committee on Foreign Affairs.
By Krassimir Nikolov and Burcu G端ltekin-Punsmann
countries and the other is Russia-centric, comprising the countries of the CIS. The EU is the major economic partner of the Black Sea countries and carries the potential to boost trade liberalisation and regional integration in the region. In 2005, the EU-25 accounted for 48% of the total exports of BSEC countries and the EU-15 for 37% of the manufactured exports. Economic integration with the EU is not in contradiction with regional economic integration as shown by the Turkish case. Turkey's foreign trade and investments with and in the Black Sea countries have been developing steadily since the conclusion of the Turkey-EC Customs union. On the contrary, economic integration with the EU, that implies trade liberalization, is a sine qua non for regional integration. BSEC, having contributed to the development of the intra-regional trade with the lowering of structural barriers to trade, couldn't achieve the liberalisation of trade on a regional preferential basis. Free trade and preferential trade agreements are a major element in EU foreign policy and are at the forefront of EU policy towards developing countries and neighboring countries in Europe. A key element of the EU's free trade and preferential trade agreements is the extent to which they deliver improved market access and so contribute to the EUs foreign policy objectives towards developing countries and neighboring countries in Europe. Free trade partners are often economically very small relative to the EU. For the Union, free trade agreements are a means of increasing economic integration through improved access to the EU market, which is seen as important in achieving other
political, foreign policy and security objectives. The EU-Ukraine Action Plan aims to build a foundation for further economic integration, including a deep and comprehensive free trade area between the EU and Ukraine. Work to grant additional Autonomous Trade Preferences to Moldova is proceeding; and a feasibility study on possible FTAs with Armenia and Georgia has been launched. The Union is already Russia's main trading partner and Russia itself provides a significant part of the Union's energy supplies. European undertakings have also made major investments in Russia. In this context, a strong support has to be given to Russia's efforts in meeting the requirements of WTO membership. It will also examine how to create the necessary conditions, in addition to WTO accession, for the future establishment of an EU-Russia free trade area. The regional dimension of trade liberalization (concerning Southern Russia) will have a major impact on the Black Sea region. Previous preferential trade schemes have been ineffective in delivering improved access to the EU market and have had a negative effect on intra-regional integration dynamics. The main reason for this is probably the very restrictive rules of origin that the EU imposes, coupled with the costs of proving consistency with these rules. Con-
in the Black Sea
sideration will have to be given to the conditions for the subsequent participation of ENP partners of the Black Sea in diagonal cumulation of origin. Any preferential free trade agreement needs rules of origin defining which products will benefit from the preferences. Cumulation allows products that have obtained originating status in one partner country to be further processed or added to products originating in another country as if they originated in that latter country. For a system of diagonal cumulation to work, it requires that all partners have Free Trade Agreements with the same rules of origin amongst each other. This is a key instrument in the aim to enhance intraregional integration and avoid complex system of 'hub and spokes' trade agreements. Economic integration calls for the improvement of the transport links and trade facilitation
measures. Indeed, the Black Sea region offers big opportunities for the transport sector since it bridges sub-regions of Europe, Caucasus, Central Asia and the Middle East. However in trade-related transport, much of the Caucasus and most of the CIS countries face poor quality of service and high costs. For the Caucasus war-damaged infrastructure and inoperable links from the transport network inherited from the Soviet period are especially problematic. BSEC has been working for the facilitation of road transport and the development of combined transportation by focusing mainly on trade facilitation measures. EU's Black Sea Strategy can provide a useful framework to
enhance the efficiency of these regional transportation initiatives by linking them with EU's infrastructure development projects. The development of cross-border cooperation can tremendously contribute to trade facilitation and thereby to economic integration. The formation of a Black Sea Euro-region will be an important step ahead. Local and regional authorities can contribute not only to economic co-operation, but also to multilateral initiatives in the environmental, social and cultural sectors. Bearing in mind that all Black Sea riparian States are members of the Council of Europe, the Council of Europe might facilitate a strengthened co-operation among local and regional authorities in the Black Sea area and thus substantially contribute
to the common objective of building a Europe without dividing lines. EU has made a positive step towards introducing a regional cooperation component to its policy in the Eastern neighborhood. The 'Black Sea Synergy' is an initiative for enhancing regional cooperation in an effort to complement existing EU policies in the area (pre-accession, the ENP, the strategic partnership with Russia). In search for the appropriate institutional and political format of cooperation, the EU has passed through a double evolution: The 'political umbrella' format has been tested in Romania's initiative to create a Black Sea Forum for Dialogue and Partnership and, after its cold reception, has been abandoned. The option of inter-institutional relations between the EU and the Black Sea Economic Cooperation Organisation (BSEC) is chosen as an option for cooperation. BSEC has evolved to become the EU's primary - although not exclusive! - interlocutor in the region. The EU's general approach to regional cooperation around the Black Sea has shifted from political towards a more technocratic, projectoriented sector-focused approach based on inclusiveness and envisaging the possibility for political level meetings only 'in the light of tangible results'.
BSEC has started to work towards meeting the challenge of becoming a central format for regional cooperation, but has not completed its reform. Its relatively unimpressive record until now necessitates further efforts to enhance the efficiency of BSEC decision making and the effectiveness of its policies and their implementation. Apart from BSEC, other home-grown regional organizations functioning in the Black Sea area, such as GUAM, could be useful in certain policy fields such as democracy promotion and human rights protection - but their potential is yet to be tested. Further development of the format of Black Sea regional cooperation could profit, to a degree, from the experience of the Northern Dimension. The general approach of creating synergies without establishing a new policy could be useful, as well as the partially compatible agendas in both regions (environmental, transformational, developmental aspects of their agendas). However, the structural symmetries between the two regions should not conceal substantive differences, such as the degree of homogeneity in the North versus political, economic, social and cultural disparities around the Black Sea, the number of conflicting
points in each region (resp. Kaliningrad in the North and several 'frozen conflicts' around the Black Sea). Experience, models and approaches should, therefore, be examined with prudence. Initiatives aiming at more intensive Baltic Sea - Black Sea cooperation should be encouraged, as they are of high relevance for the transformational agenda and are potentially useful in the narrower, more focused and more motivated format 3+3 (Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania plus Georgia, Armenia, Azerbaijan). This format for cooperation should be continued by a 'merger' of the two axes of cooperation across the Black Sea with the Baltic states (North-South) and with Bulgaria and Romania (West-East), in the effort to secure support from a higher number of EU member states. The positive experience of the 'New club of Friends of Georgia' should be developed further towards a higher degree of effectiveness and towards its possible extension to embrace other countries in the region. Krassimir Nikolov is Secretary General of the Bulgarian European Community Studies Association (BECSA). Dr. Burcu G端ltekinPunsmann is Research Fellow at the Center for European Studies, Middle East Technical University Ankara.
And the winners are!! A cornerstone of the ancient Olympic Games was the sacred tradition of ‘Ekecheiria’ or Truce. Throughout the duration of the Olympic Truce, from the seventh day prior to the opening of the Games to the seventh day following the closing, all conflicts ceased, allowing athletes, artists and spectators to travel to Olympia, participate in the Games and return to their homelands in safety. The respect of the Olympic Truce for 12 centuries made it the longest-standing peace accord in history.
The International Olympic Truce Centre and The bridge recently held a writing contest under the title The Olympic Truce and the principles and ideals promoted through it asking for participants to write a children’s short story/novelette inspired by the Olympic Truce ideals. We are now pleased to announce the winners. 1st Prize: A friendly encounter, by Kenneth Kurmi, Malta 2nd Prize: 2000 clown's red noses, by Kostas Haralas, Greece 3rd Prize: Lysander's tale by Eleni Katsama, Greece The winners will receive their prizes at a special ceremony in Athens (details of which will soon be announced on The Bridge magazineãs website, www.bridge-mag.com). Winning stories will be published in an illustrated volume, with the aim to be distributed to the students of Greek schools. This volume will also be presented at the Greek House in Beijing during the 2008 Olympic Games as one of the projects of the International Olympic Truce Centre. At the dawn of the 21st century, the Olympic Truce once again calls upon humanity to lay down its weapons and to work towards building the foundations of peace, mutual respect, understanding and reconciliation. To that end in July 2000, the International Olympic Committee, in close cooperation with Greece, established the International Olympic Truce Foundation, and its operational arm, the International Olympic Truce Centre, with the goal of reviving the ancient tradition of the Olympic Truce.
The mission of the International Olympic Truce Foundation and the Centre is to promote the Olympic Ideals, to serve peace, friendship and international understanding. In particular, to uphold the observance of the Olympic Truce, calling for all hostilities to cease during the Olympic Games and beyond, and mobilizing the youth of the world in the cause of peace.
SI.nergy for Europe By Vladimir Kolmanic
‘SI.nergy for Europe’ is the slogan of the Slovenian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the fact that two of the words in it are of Greek origin has a special significance both in this local environment and in the region as a whole. Slovenia believes that the year 2007 was a year of success for the EU, with the completion of the fifth enlargement cycle, first enlargement of the Euro area and of the Schengen zone as well as the signing of the Lisbon Treaty. The Slovenian Presidency will be the first Presidency of a new member state from the last EU enlargement, which was the biggest in the EU history, with 10 new member states, and was completed during the Greece’s 2003 EU Presidency by signing the Accession Treaties in the Stoa of Attalus under the Acropolis in April 2003; later it was also correspondingly supplemented by the adoption of the Thessaloniki Agenda for the countries of the Western Balkans. At the same time the Slovenian Presidency will conclude the first Trio Presidency (Germany, Portugal, Slovenia) and the 18-month Presidency Programme. It is very encouraging that in January two new members have joined the euro
zone – Cyprus and Malta, and so far five of the member states have already ratified the Lisbon Treaty. Our priorities The future of the Union and the timely implementation of the Lisbon Treaty So far 5 member states have ratified the treaty (Hungary, Slovenia, Romania, Malta and France). The goal is that all other member states will possibly have done so by the end of 2008. Launching of the new Lisbon Strategy cycle 2008-2010 We believe that the Lisbon Strategy is starting to deliver and does not need radical changes to priorities or processes. It is important to maintain momentum and step up reform efforts. The key focus remains on four pillars: research and innovation, development of competitive business environment, adapting labor markets as well as energy and climate issues. Slovenian Presidency emphasis is on: development of European Research Area, education, internal market, better regulation, SMEs, implementation of common principles of flexicurity and demographic issues. A step forward in addressing climateenergy issues On January 23, 2008 the EC’s legislative package was presented (effort sharing for
renewable energies and greenhouse gas emissions). Further complex negotiations and decisive actions are required from all EU member states. Early adoption of the package (early 2009 at the latest) would put the EU in a strong position with international partners (negotiations on postKyoto). An important aspect is EU energy policy – internal energy market, new energy technologies. Strengthening of the European perspective of the Western Balkans Stability of the Western Balkans is of extreme importance for the stability of the EU. The EU perspective proved to be the right incentive to encourage the reform processes in these countries. The goals of the Presidency are: finishing the network of Stabilization and Association Agreements; strengthening cooperation of the EU with the Western Balkans countries in the regional context in different areas (visa regime, transport, police cooperation etc.); the Kosovo issue (status resolution, deployment of ESDP/ICO mission) and others. In general, the main objective of Slovenia's foreign policy in the region is to give the Western Balkans countries a 'clear European perspective', which is also in accordance with the spirit of the Thessa-
loniki Agenda. Slovenia is very well familiar with the complex history and present of this culturally and civilizationally very rich but also very diverse and often unstable region, which still represents a major challenge to the EU's foreign and security policy. Therefore Slovenia is strongly convinced that the only way to overcome the often very difficult past and present is the real(istic) possibility of the countries of the region to become members of the EuroAtlantic organizations and integrations. We are, of course, also well aware that it will take a demanding and lengthy process before full membership is achieved, but this goal is worth all the efforts. Promotion of intercultural dialogue 2008 is the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue, which should continue beyond 2008 as a long-term activity. In this
framework the Slovenian EU Presidency would like to contribute to the intercultural dialogue within the EU by presenting the value of intercultural dialogue and multilingualism among EU citizens and the European public at large and organizing several events. Actually, the opening event of the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue was at the same time the first event of the Slovenian Presidency, which took place on January 7 in Ljubljana and culminated in a festive event on the
evening of January 8, at which the speakers were the Prime Minister of the Republic of Slovenia and the current President of the European Council, Mr. Janez Jansa, the President of the European Parliament, Mr. Poettering, the President of the Republic of Slovenia, Dr. Tuerk, and others. Slovenia wants to promote intercultural dialogue with the Western Balkans and Mediterranean countries with its own special contribution â€“ the initiative for establishing the Euro-Mediterranean University in the Slovenia coastal town of Piran.
Vladimir Kolmanic is the ambassador of Slovenia in Greece.
Migration and Climate change constitutes one of the greatest and most complex challenges the International Community has to deal with today and in the years to come. Climate change induced droughts, floods, wildfires, extreme weather, soil erosion, desertification, deforestation and natural disasters are likely to further intensify pre-existing stresses in vulnerable regions. Problems like food insecurity, scarcity of water, reduced agricultural production, population pressures, unequal access to resources, poverty, breakout of epidemics and spreading of diseases, are likely to increase, especially in certain geographical regions such as the Small Island Developing States and the Sub Saharan Africa and affect the every day life of the most vulnerable among the vulnerable. These obvious threats to human security are very likely to generate forced migratory movements or intensify existing ones from the climate change affected regions. These sorts of challenges may gradually lead to further degradation of infrastructures, weakening of institutions and even threaten peace and security multiplying the propensity for violent conflict. We are already witnessing population movements directly or indirectly connected
By Theodore Skylakakis
to climate change. A phenomenon that is likely to intensify in the coming years. The predictions on the number of the people affected vary tremendously. Between 25 million to 1 billion in the next 40 years, while the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) has suggested that an estimated 150 million people will have moved by 2050 due to climate change. So the stakes are high both on the research needed for more accurate predictions and on the mitigation and adaptation efforts needed to minimize this nightmarish prospect. Of course, climate change alone is not the only -or even the most important- ‘push factor’ for migration. It may have, however, significant influence on migratory patterns and the fact that we cannot securely predict where and when a climate change disaster will strike next, as well as the difficulty of pinpointing the moves of affected populations, calls for collective preparedness. The migration of large numbers of people (in some cases, with even larger numbers of livestock), can have significant social and environmental repercussions not only for the areas of origin, but also at the destinations and the travel routes in between. The stresses created – especially when we
are talking about unprepared and unassisted migration – can ignite conflicts that magnify the negative effects of the migration itself. We have already seen that happening in sub-Saharan Africa with devastating human, social, economic and environmental costs. So it is essential that we have thorough early research on the predicted patterns of climate change induced migration and early policy planning for: organized movement, diverse migration strategies (including circular, temporary or even permanent migration), and pre-departure preparation and assistance upon arrival. The issue of climate change and its interconnection with migratory flows is high on the agenda of many countries as well as international fora, including the United Nations, the International Organization for Migration of course, and the European Union. There is among others a very interesting research project funded by the European Commission, on the Environmental change and forced migration scenarios. It is important, however, to further pursue the relevant de-
Climate Change bate in the appropriate international fora, such as the Global Forum on Migration and Development and the IPCC. We must include climate change and the environmental dimension in the ongoing international debates on migration and vice versa. We should also address the growing need for the development of appropriate policies which can meet this challenge. One very important tool in this respect can be the implementation of development policies which promote adaptation to climate change. It is essential to integrate sustainable development and climate change concerns into development cooperation policy and programs, as well as into partner countriesâ€™ national policies and development strategies. We believe that the immigrants themselves should also be involved in this development effort. The Greek development cooperation policy is currently planning, in cooperation with the office of the International Organization for Migration in Athens, to support and finance programs in order to facilitate the contribution of immigrants in Greece â€“ in cooperation with the state â€“ to the development of their home countries. Combating the negative effects of (among others) climate change in their countries of origin, reducing forced migration by di-
minishing the need for migration and, at the same time, strengthening the ties of the immigrants with the host country, by making them stakeholders in a common project that intends to improve life in their home countries. Greece has also earmarked funds, in order to finance adaptation projects in the LDCs (Least Developed Countries) and the SIDS (Small Island Developing States) in Africa, the Pacific and the Caribbean, in cooperation with and through relevant regional and namely the African Union, Caricom and the AOSIS. Where climate change and forced migration can create a potentially vicious circle of destructive effects, adaptation and development can be combined to construct a virtuous circle of sustainable development with a view to enhancing stability and accomplishing the Millennium Development Goals.
The article is based on an Address by Mr. Theodore Skylakakis, Secretary-General for International Economic Relations and Development Co-operation and Special Representative of the Greek MFA on climate change, at a conference organized by the Greek Chairmanship of Human Security Network in cooperation with the International Organization for Migration in Vienna www.mfa.gr
Climate change is one of the most critical global challenges of our time. Recent events have emphatically demonstrated our growing vulnerability to it. Human activities are very likely to be responsible for this and global warming will continue for centuries even if greenhouse gas emissions are immediately stabilized. In Turkey, the negative effects of climate change are rather evident. Over the past few months, Turkey has experienced one of its driest and hottest winter seasons. During last winter, the country suffered severe floods, the worst in the past 100 years. The situation is rather problematic and its projection in the near future is not optimistic. Turkey's high rate of energy-related carbon emissions growth is expected to accelerate, with emissions rising to almost 400 million tons in 2020 according to estimations. The fast economic development of the country is surely presenting an explanation for the high CO2 emissions (Table 1), as eco-
By Athanasios Kotsiaros
nomic growth outweighed environmental regulations: Energy-intensive, inefficient industries remain under government control with soft budget constraints, contributing to undisciplined energy use. In the industrialised and high populated areas, the CO2 emissions are much higher than in other parts of the country: Moreover, carbon intensity in Turkey1 is higher than in the western developed countries average. Turkey as an Annex I country in the Convention on Climate Change had a ratio of 3.3 ton CO2 emissions per capita in 2003.1 The country is listed in the bottom of the OECD countries, EU-15 countries and also below the world levels (see Table 3): 1. See: First National Communication on Climate Change, Ministry of Environment and Forestry, Republic of Turkey, January 2007 and United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change. (http://unfccc.int).
The role of Central Government In spite of the efforts and a number of success stories since the early â€™80s to address pollution and degradation of environmental resources, environmental management in Turkey has long been suffering from a number of deficiencies. These include over-reliance on regulatory mechanisms, limited public participation and awareness, lack of environmental information, deficiency of budgetary resources allocated to environmental protection and rehabilitation, and lack of capacity of institutional structures at local level. Despite the fact that planning, policymaking and implementation practices often fail to incorporate environmental rules, Turkey is currently trying to respond to the threat of climate change. The country had an important decision at the 7th Conference of Parties (COP7) in Marrakech in 2001. This places Turkey in a different situation from that of the other Parties included in the Annex I of the Convention. The United Nations Framework Convention on Climate Change (UNFCC) came in-
to force on May 2004, with Turkey becoming the 189th Party of the Convention and thus obliged to implement the addressed commitments. Currently, the overall objectives of energy-related environmental policies in Turkey are to ensure sufficient, reliable and economic energy supplies to support sustainable economical and social development while protecting and improving the environment. The country's environmental policy considers that energy policy should take into account environmental problems and that a balance should be found between increases in energy demand that are required for economic development and environmental concerns. Institutionally, in charge of the environmental policies and responsible for raising public awareness on the issue is the Ministry of Environment and Forestry. The Ministry undertakes important actions towards the dissemination of the pressing issue of climate change, as well as in educating and raising the awareness of society regarding future adverse impacts of global warming.
The Turkish Grand National Assembly (TGNA) recently adopted a decision to set up a Research Commission on the causes and effects of global warming in the country. The new Commission –consisting of 14 members of Parliament – will provide input as the country attempts to adapt to climate change. Turkey has not yet adopted the Kyoto protocol, as it was not part of the UNFCCC when the Protocol was adopted in 1997. Thus, Turkey does not have a quantified emission limit or reduction target in the first commitment period of the protocol running from 2008 through 2012. The new Research Commission, established by the TGNA, is expected to produce a study that might introduce a new dimension in Turkey’s approach with regard to the first and consecutive commitment periods of the Kyoto Protocol. Right now, public awareness of the danger of climate
change is building across the country. Without doubt, the prospect of Turkey’s accession to the EU requires the harmonising of the Turkish legislation with the Acquis Communautaire. Environmentally friendly policies will be a precondition for accession and environmental issues will be addressed within the framework of the 27th negotiation Chapter.
Athanasios Kotsiaros is Phd candidate, University of Athens and research fellow at the Institute of European Integration and Policy in the University of Athens. Institute of European Integration and Policy Website: http://eeep.pspa.uoa.gr
Assessing ‘The Day After’
After declaring its independence, Kosovo now constitutes Europe’s newest state. Intense global media scrutiny has accompanied this development because it is widely considered as potentially having significant regional and international implications. First, though, it should be clarified that the almost obsessive concerns about the creation of an international legal precedent are somewhat misguided. Although each country would certainly like to have strong legal arguments on her side (which are nevertheless often contested), the fact remains that power realities are far more significant in determining political outcomes than international law. Unfortunately, precedent is often simply what states allow it to be. Hence we will primary focus on the principal actors involved in Kosovo’s endgame. Serbian society was united in peacefully declaring its principled opposition to Kosovo’s independence. While eschewing all violent and military reactions to this issue (with the exception of the recent Belgrade demonstrations), Serbia failed to secure a resolution on the basis of the ‘more than autonomy, less than independence’ proposition. Steadfastly backed by Russia, Belgrade did manage to prolong diplomatic negotiations often offering well-researched and sophisticated proposals, and also gained enhanced entitlements for the Serbian Kosovar ethnic community.
By Aristotle Tziampiris
Whether these Serbs will enjoy adequate physical security and not abandon the new state remains to be seen. The Kosovo issue created domestic political tensions contributing to the rise of nationalistic feelings that may potentially complicate the country’s path toward EuroAtlantic institutions. Polls suggesting that three quarters of Serbia’s population would eschew European Union membership if it meant recognition of Kosovo are perhaps indicative of certain trends, as might be the widespread support that Nicolic’s (ultimately unsuccessful) presidential bid enjoyed. In the past, former US diplomat Richard Holbrooke had controversially asserted that Serbia’s real choice was between Kosovo and the European Union. It remains to be seen whether Russia could provide a third option. In effect, what is now at stake is whether Serbia will turn inward, eastward or continue her route towards eventually joining the European Union. Crucially, it is impossible to envision stability in the Western Balkans without a stable and prosperous Serbia. Serbia is simply too big, historic and important a state to be ignored or bypassed in considerations of the region’s future. A truly unfortunate development would entail Serbs permanently turning against the EU as a result of Kosovo. It is thus imperative that a ‘wounded’ nation not feel further humiliated but assert its European identity and future. Alas, as is usually
the case, most of the burden will probably fall on Serbia’s political forces and society. Kosovo’s Albanians have justifiably been celebrating their independence. However, the real problems for Kosovo are only now beginning. A society facing immense economic challenges, it has to prove that it can protect all its ethnic communities and move towards European integration and standards. Although assisted by NATO troops, an EU police and justice mission and substantial monetary aid, these goals will have to be achieved without United Nations membership and recognition by most states. Is Kosovo’s independence a precursor to the creation of a Greater Albania? Despite popular assertions to the contrary, this does not seem to be the case. Such a project exists primarily in the minds of a few intellectuals and a rather small minority of Albanians. There are several reasons why this is the case that include ethnic and religious divisions among Albanian populations. Instead of a Greater Albania, expect a greater Albanian factor in the Western Balkans. As regards the EU, the failure to agree upon a common position on Kosovo’s recognition revealed deep internal divisions and the inability to present a united stance. Furthermore, the fundamental complications relating to formally recog-
nizing prospective members are now multiplying (Cyprus and Turkey, Greece and FYROM, many EU states and Kosovo, Serbia and Kosovo, etc). This situation might prompt the institutional creation of a ‘Privileged Partnership’ model which various states may have to join, thus falling short of full Union membership. At any rate, the Union will play a central role in Kosovo for the near future, the EU mission essentially taking over many of the UN’s tasks and responsibilities. If the EU fails to manage Kosovo and does not succeed in dealing with what is first and foremost a European problem located in her own backyard, then it will be much harder for the Union to credibly pursue a more prominent global role on various international issues such as Iraq or Iran. Russia can possibly claim an impressive foreign policy performance by outgoing President Vladimir Putin. Despite the still relatively small size of her economy, Russia took full advantage of the institutional advantage of wielding a UN veto. Moscow once again publicly reversed the pattern of giving-in to all Western demands that was prevalent during the Yeltsin years, and also ensured that she is not simply ignored – as was the case with the diplomacy prior to the Iraq invasion. Humiliated by NATO’s intervention in 1999 (unanimously opposed by Russian society), Moscow is staging a noteworthy regional comeback. Focusing on energy
(being the crucial supplier for the region – witness also the important deals recently signed with Greece, Bulgaria and Serbia), Russia has earned Belgrade’s gratitude thus forging close political ties. At the same time, other Balkan states fearing Kosovo-like minority problems within their borders might perhaps turn in the future to Moscow for decisive help at the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). On the other hand, Russia failed to stop Kosovo’s independence from materializing, with the concomitant recognition of what will probably be some 40 states (for now), including the US, France, Germany and the UK. Furthermore, Moscow’s ability to divide the EU has the potential of creating a more suspicious climate towards Russian actions that may be viewed in some European capitals as mischievous and not constructive, perhaps eliciting a certain diplomatic backlash. It may perhaps even prove the case that Russia overplayed her diplomatic hand, given the fact that it can never rival the EU in what she can offer institutionally, economically and politically to the Balkan states. The United States failed to get the Ahtisaari Plan (Washington D.C’s preferred policy outcome) approved by the UNSC, despite employing almost exclusively multilateral and institutionalized diplomatic frameworks in pursuing this aim. At the end of the day, though, Kosovo did become independent, received international
recognition and is set to be administered by a set of provisions and understandings that derive directly and are essentially identical to recommendations by the Ahtisaari Plan. The US gained the gratitude of Kosovo’s Albanians, and more generally of the Albanian factor in the Western Balkans – a development that may prove helpful to American regional goals in the future. America can also claim some closure after NATO’s 1999 intervention, turn her attention to other more pressing issues and also highlight her active support for a predominantly Muslim nation – something that may be noted by Islamic populations in the Greater Middle East. Despite the recent diplomatic imbroglio, the international community’s priorities remain rather straightforward: Maintain regional stability, condemn all violent actions, deter any efforts that would partition Kosovo or other Balkan states, ensure the protection of all ethnic communities in the new republic, assist its modernization but also strongly support Serbia in her European path. It is just possible that herein can be found common interests (and hence actions) by the European Union, the United States and Russia. Dr Aristotle Tziampiris is Assistant Professor of International Relations at the University of Piraeus and Research Associate at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP). The views expressed here are personal.
The half full glass In the aftermath of Kosovo’s independence the discourse on the future of the Balkan peninsula has triggered academics, politicians, diplomats and of course, conspiracy-theorists to philosophize on strategies capable of guaranteeing peace and stability in the region. International relations theories on regionalism and economic interdependence or the states’ pursuit of national interest and clash of civilizations do not seem adequate to explain the course of events or to give an answer as to the future of the Balkans. Some years ago, we were members of a youth organization and we participated in the 1st Balkan Seminar, which was held in Athens. For four days, we sat around a table discussing, fighting, and arguing on the issues that divide us. The Serbs and the Croats had unresolved questions after the war, the Bosnians were trying to explain the political system in their country, Turks and Greeks provoked hot discussions regarding the Aegean dispute and so on. On the last day of the seminar, we were all around the same table laughing at the stereotypes we deconstructed after meeting each other. And the thing is, we had all started out with stereotype images of each other from our schoolbooks and the movies from days gone by that projected our nation as heroic and the others as uncivilized barbarians. So, we decided
By Eleni Fotiou
to stick to what unites us. That at that precise moment, we were all there, around a table, talking about us, the Balkans. Heirs of the history of the Empires that flourished in the Balkan region, the Balkan states had never been homogenous. They had always been multicultural, due to the fact that in the aftermath of the fall of the Ottoman Empire, mixed cultural, linguistic and religious communities were trapped in the boundaries of nation-states. That lead to forced migrations, transboundary crises, prolonged ethnic and religious conflicts and wars. But together with this damned course of events, multiculturalism in the Balkans is what can bring people closer. Music, dance, manners and customs, proverbs and anecdotes are components of the Balkan temperament. It seems rather superficial to believe that ethnic and religious conflicts in the Balkans will disappear, because of this ‘Balkan temperament’. However, the unfortunate earthquakes in Turkey and in Greece during 1999 have proven that when people come closer, stereotypes are deconstructed and that can be the first step towards rapprochement. However, this is the point where states should institutionalize bilateral or multilateral relations. In the Balkan region, most of the initiatives for cooperation derived from external pressure, defined by the European Union or the United States. The only indigenous initiative was the South East
European Cooperation Process (SEECP) and this is indicative of the boundaries of politics. Nevertheless, setting criteria and obligations, the European Union served as an effective tool for the promotion of cooperation in the region. The mobility enabled through exchange programs of various social and economic groups, students, entrepreneurs and academics, lead to the creation of communities bound with common interests and a sense of interdependence, and to the subsequent emergence of an extremely active civil society, which has rendered the likelihood of crises escalating to wars, an increasingly remote possibility. Thus, we should let states do their job and follow their norms and formalities. When stereotypes collapse and a civil society of young people is formed, the course cannot easily be reversed. A very promising society of youngsters has recently emerged, which does not want to forget the past – as it is often claimed – but to build a new future based on the common denominators, which are democracy and active citizenship. Cooperation – all there, around a table, talking about us, the Balkans – is what unites us. And more than national identity, it is the creation of an active regional citizenship, a Balkan citizenship, the essence of our future.
Eleni Fotiou is research fellow at the Hellenic Centre for European Studies (EKEM). The views expressed in this article are personal.
Defying all odds, Bulgaria and Romania, once considered outsiders by certain political analysts, made history vis-Ă -vis accession into the EU. This can be regarded as a good stepping stone for the two countries, as they set a good example for other nations within the peninsula to follow. Eradicating corruption, promoting stability, and enhancing transparency within government have made for tremendous improvements within the member states. In fact, these drastic alterations have induced or attracted Foreign Direct Investment from various external actors, as the effort has broadened its appeal to other EU member states. In this cover story of The bridge, polticians, academics and diplomats evaluate the two countriesâ€™ kickstart in the extended EU family
EU's m k q s 0 0 0 , 111 growth By Gergana Grancharova
In 2007, by welcoming Bulgaria as a member, the European Union added 111,000 square kilometers to its territory, the border of yet another sea and a few million convinced Europeans. Why not say the Bulgarian accession brought luck to the EU, as our debut coincided with the debut of the Lisbon Treaty for reforms? Europe chose the Treaty for its development in the 21st century. The advantages of Bulgaria's membership in the EU are unquestionable. And they are not to be measured by the net financial transfer from the community alone â€“ more than 10 billion euros for 7 years. The membership restored our national self-confidence. For us the European accession had the meaning of a break-away from the vicious circle of poverty, poor management, human depersonalization. We have our emblematic achievements for 2007. Assisted by the joint efforts of the EU and the USA, we managed to take the Bulgarian medics home from Libya. With the correct arguments we convinced the member states, and in the Lisbon Treaty was adopted the clause the single European currency to be spelt 'evro' in the Cyrillic alphabet. The signature of Bulgaria is under the newest constitutive treaty of the EU. The Bulgarian membership is a fact in the very challenging time of reforming the European
project itself. A period during which it will be searching and finding itself much more to be something owned by the citizens, not the elites. Much more as a community of people, not markets. The national states rule a growing portfolio of policies â€“ traditional internal and multiplying communities. Even during the pre-accession years, Bulgaria modernized. The economy is getting better, in the last years the credit rating of the country has risen 8 times. We have macroeconomic stability, a good GDP profile, an unemployment rate surprisingly low even for Europe, a reduction in the state debt and strict fiscal policy. Recently Bulgaria has been among the pioneering countries in direct foreign investment influx. There are 7 operation programs through which the country will receive 11 billion euros in the next 6 years, the priorities being competi-
tiveness, development of human resources, administrative capacity, regional development, transport, construction, environment, research. We developed mechanisms, procedures and structures for managing the EU resources in accordance with the rules for successful financial management and protection of the community's financial interests. We enhanced discipline in the area of state funding. We have a Pact for economic and social development until 2009 with our social partners. With respect to harmonizing Bulgarian legislation with that of the EU, in just one year, Bulgaria has moved from 22nd place to 11th place among the member states. Despite the difficulties typical for the first year of membership, we could talk about the emergence of a middle class in Bulgaria. The beneficiaries under the operation programs will be municipalities, businesses, students in higher education, NGOs, municipal and branch associations. This model is focused on making the market a source of social security and different policies integrating into more and more non-state subjects in the development of the social welfare. In this way, we are evolving from a policy
where the revenues are distributed to a policy where the power is being distributed from the privileged to larger civil communities. We have the good fortune to rely on the partnership of the non-governmental sector, as it was built completely in Bulgaria during the years of democratic transition, under the influence and with the assistance of European funds and associations. By the way, one of the benchmarks of EU membership is the growing activity of civil associations in our country – they had that obvious correcting influence over the development of Nature 2000 policy, the construction of the Black Sea sites, as well as civil observers in the area of
judicial reform, preparing for the Shengen membership, and so on. When in the summer of 2007 the consensus on the Lisbon Treaty was reached, President Baroso described it in this way – it is not the best poetry, but it is quite good prose. I can borrow this phrase to assess Bulgaria's first year in the EU. The projections of the membership are different, there is a difference – whether you are a student, building roads or growing grain. Some Bulgarians must have had higher expectations of joining the EU. Some of the youth are too impatient to wait for the reforms to happen
in the professional sector they have chosen to follow and they are heading abroad. These are just normal processes; this is one of the bonuses of membership – free movement of people, capital and services. In the national survey I initiated at the end of 2007, it was this effect in particular that a large number of those interviewed pointed out in response to the question on their evaluation of our first European year.
Gergana Grancharova is Minister of European Affairs of the Republic of Bulgaria
Organized by the Hellenic Ministry of Culture
The Hellenic Ministry of Culture, together with the Embassy of Greece in Beijing, has taken on the organization of a series of cultural events that compose the Cultural Year of Greece in China. These events, which have commenced in September 2007, will last until September 2008 and will be presented in Beijing, Shanghai and other Chinese cities. The Cultural Year program includes a broad spectrum of cultural events such as Theatre, Opera, Dance, traditional, modern and classical music concerts, book, photography, jewelry and Greek cuisine exhibitions, conferences and workshops. In the framework of the Cultural Year, the Hellenic House, a cultural centre situated close to Beijingâ€™s Forbidden City, is already operating. Apart from the information centre for the Cultural Year events, the Hellenic House will host some of the above-mentioned events together with some commercial activities in cooperation with the Hellenic Foreign Trade Board (HEPO), the Hellenic Olympic Committee and the General Secretariat of Information.
For updated information please consult our website www.greece-china.com
More room 36
for development? By Evgeni Kirilov
One of the greatest challenges for all politicians in the eve of any EU accession has always been how to ensure that the postaccession reality matches the expectations of the ordinary people. This is particularly valid for countries like Bulgaria where EU accession was portrayed as the ultimate cure for all problems of the society, all insufficiencies of the economy, and all misfortunes of the everyday lives of the people. Therefore, when the expectations are so high, we always risk bringing about a disappointment. This is what partially happened in Bulgaria. The first blow came with the gradual increase in prices and the fact that one year EU membership positively affects the macroeconomic indicators, but not so much the economic and social situation of the people. Hence the short term benefits people expected did not materialize for one year. We can add to that the fact that one year is not enough to see more obvious positive results from the EU accession through one of its most successful EU policies â€“ the EU regional policy. This is the policy that brings cohesion and prosperity throughout the Union, owing to which countries like
Ireland and Spain witnessed a miraculous social economic transformation in the course of only a few years. I am sure Bulgaria will not be an exception to this rule. We just need to be more patient and look forward to seeing the first large infrastructural projects completed with EU funds. On the other hand, the positive effects of the EU on Bulgaria should not be measured only from the point of view of a one year membership. Bulgaria has been a member of the European Union since January 2007, but its relations and cooperation with the EU date from the beginning of the 90s. The process of association and development of the economic relations between Bulgaria and the European communities started when the country began its democratization and transformation to market economy. Like the other candidate countries from Central and East Europe Bulgaria received assistance under the pre-accession instruments PHARE, ISPA and SAPARD. The support was not only financial, but it was presented as a shared experience in institutional building and approximation of legislation. Among these are important infrastructural projects like the new Sofia Airport and projects related to reconstruction of existing or construction of new roads, waste management plants and others. There are also successfully realized projects in, for example, social and agriculture areas, justice and
home affairs spheres, small and medium enterprises. As a result, administrative capacity has been built and established and positive economic and sustainable results have been achieved. Speaking about development in its various dimensions, it is important to mention the trans-border cooperation encouraged by the EU. Several projects can be pointed out, but I will give only one example â€“ the project for the IIlinden border checkpoint â€“ Gotse Delcev-Drama. We expect and work in such a way that the positive course of social-economic development started during the pre-accession phase will continue in Bulgaria as a full EU member state. Bulgaria will receive increased financial assistance and this means enhanced opportunities for carrying out projects for implementation of the strategic priorities for the programming period 2007-2013. According to the National Strategic Reference Framework Bulgaria will use the allocated 6,853 billion euros for the implementation of four priorities and objectives: improving the basic infrastructure, increasing the quality of human capital with focus on employment, fostering entrepreneurship, a favorable business environment and good governance, and supporting balanced territorial development. To these priorities and money, we must add the assistance for rural development and the agriculture sector which are also
expected to contribute to further development and improvement of the economic and social situation in Bulgaria. To meet the expectations of Bulgarian society in implementing the objectives set in the programming documents a highest level of absorption of EU funds has to be achieved. Despite the improved and strengthened capacity for dealing with EU funds, some challenges still remain. In order to overcome these challenges Bulgarian authorities, stakeholders and beneficiaries continue to use the lessons learned and experience of the old member states. Support is also necessary from the European Commission in order to train and give methodological help to the relevant Bulgarian institutions which will become formed. Another important aspect is co-financing and attracting additional financial resources. In this context more foreign investments are welcome. The outcomes of the regional development policy and the use of structural funds and the agriculture fund are the most obvious side of the EU membership for our citizens. That is the way we can expect additional and increased support for the Bulgarian EU membership after the successful implementation of the EU assistance during the coming years. Of course, a very important element of Bulgaria's membership in the EU is the
positive influence this accession exerts on the countries adjacent to Bulgaria, all of which are looking with hope towards Europe. Therefore, despite the fact that the country is one of the newest EU member states, it has an important role to play as a bridge between the EU and the countries from the region. Owing to the available EU instruments, we try and we will continue to involve wider border areas as much as possible in different infrastructural and regional projects. Together with Greece and Romania, Bulgaria is ready and has already started sharing its experience and knowhow, accumulated on the way towards EU membership with all the EU candidate countries from the region. After all, these three countries are the forefront of the EU policies in the region, and their role will continue to be vital for the elaboration, realization and evaluation of these policies. Bulgaria's ambition in this sense is to continue to provide stability and hopefully very soon to become a model of prosperity for the rest of the Balkans as well as the wider Black-Sea region.
Evgeni Kirilov is MEP, Party European Socialists and Vice Chairman of the Regional Development Committee, European Parliament. firstname.lastname@example.org
Still the bridesmaid
Stories untold By Adina Ioana Valean
Despite the bad press, Romania is one of the most beautiful countries in Europe. Get over the horror corruption stories, children sold and human trafficking and discover a nation of kind and hospitable people, fantastic scenery and a cuisine to die for. One year into the membership of the European Union and something right still feels a little wrong. Enter the country from the West and get the chills as you step into Dracula's land – Transylvania unravels before your eyes with misty forests, castles perched on mountain tops and legends that made it around the world. There's a happy cemetery here (Sapanta), a town in which economic boom is the highest in the world (Cluj Napoca) and a school that gave humanity some of its best gymnasts (Deva). Cross over the Carpathian Mountains to the South, and feel the heat of what was once the granary of Europe (Ialomita Teleorman, Prahova, Arges, Ilfov) – the Romanian field that links the mighty Danube with the second most beautiful mountains of Europe. Have a break in Bucharest, gaze at the huge House of the Parliament, listen to a symphony at the Atheneum and stroll along its avenues up to the Arch of Triumph – just a little reminder that this capital city was once known as The Little Paris. One short train ride and you are at the seaside. The Black Sea shines with wide
beaches and perfect summers plus the only city that has a palm fringed promenade on this side of Europe (Constanta) and a little bit further north the Danube Delta (Tulcea) gives this country yet another unique feature. Head to the north through north-west and by the time you reach the European Union's easternmost frontier (Suceava, Botosani, Vaslui) you'll already be high on fine wines and exquisite food. Moldova's cuisine makes for a tourist attraction in its own right, but still there are the monasteries, the tales of courage and the city that saw the first union of the Romanian principalities (Iasi). This country has all the weapons of seduction, but lacks the knowledge to use them. This is the fairy tale stuff you do not read very often. This is what you are supposed to know in addition to the hard facts. And now, for a reality check. Four years ago when my cousins got married I was dying to be in their shoes. Street parties, fireworks, lots of gifts, the envy of everyone, a picture perfect happiness – the works. One year into my marriage and the feeling of being the bridesmaid is still with me. Every day I look in the mirror and say – this will get better, I'm a married woman now. This could be a true story and it is in fact the story of my country, full member of the EU, still feeling like a bridesmaid one year after accession. And what a roller coaster of a year! First the joy of being part of the family, then the feeling of having your opinion count, then the freedom of movement everywhere on the continent... but the clouds were soon on the horizon.
Fewer countries than ever allowed our citizens to legally work within their territories, non-member countries still imposing visa systems, the Roma stigma, the outbreak of hatred in Italy, the infringements – things that made Romanians feel like second class European citizens. Still, we made our mistakes and we have to overcome decades of communism, corruption and economic hardships. Political life in Romania is still in turmoil, plagued by misunderstandings between the president and the government. There is a lack of reforms in key sectors, a gap between economic interest and investment regulations and the never ending race to look good in the face of the EU. And then... the communication problem. After almost two decades from the fall of the communism, a regime hostile to communication, we are still in the process of learning to express ourselves. Romania is still learning how to communicate. But there is hope on the horizon. Step by step we are learning how to use EU funds, how to respond to furious rages, how to raise our voice when the strings of being new are too tightly attached and most of all how to admit that we are wrong in some aspects, to point out our own mistakes and to try and overcome them. It takes time to feel at ease in a family of two – so imagine 27! A year after enlargement it's time we all made a promise: through our work and determination to succeed, we shall make Romania feel like the most beautiful bride. Because we love our country. Adina Ioana Valean is an MEP and ViceChairwoman of Group of the Alliance of Liberals and Democrats for Europe, European Parliament. email@example.com
to be done
It has already been a year (January 2007) since the EU, completing the fifth wave of enlargement, received in its gulfs two more states of Central and Eastern Europe: Bulgaria and Romania. The harmonisation of these countries with the Acquis Communautaire constitutes a turning point in the process of European integration, as it represents the conjunctive link between two important periods. On the one hand, it indicates the continuity of integration of eight countries from the former Eastern Coalition (which took place in May 2004) into the European political system, while on the other hand it signals the development of further initiatives and narrower collaboration with the states of the Western Balkans, so that integration criteria ('criteria of Copenhagen') could be feasibly be achieved – in the direct future – which will allow them to participate as equal members in the EU. Of course, casting a glance at the interval that followed the expiry of accession negotiations, it could be said that the adjustment of two countries to the European family was not without problems. Having covered a long period of transition and radical transformation of governmental structures (from the economy of central planning to that of the free market), the acceding states were called to give answers to new problems – challenges that inevitably involved the lifting of protection on domestic production and intensity of competition. It is characteristic that for this reason - in both states - it was judged essential and
consciously promoted the shaping of allied governments (from theoretically ‘rival' political parties), aiming mainly at the application of consensus solutions in the field of economy and European policy. Of course, not much time passed before the impasses from the existence of this ‘political compromise' appeared. Thus, the alliance of the Bulgarian Socialist Party (BSP) (whose leader is the Prime Minister Sergei Stanishev) with the party ‘National Movement for Stability and Progress' (NMSP) of Simeon Saxe-Coburg, eventually elected its endogenous oppositions and weaknesses. The same thing also happened in Romania, when the Social Democratic Party (SDP) raised his confidence and withdrew from the governmental alliance that had been contracted with the party ‘National Liberal Party' (NLP) of Prime Minister Calin Popescu Tariceanu. The extended destabilisation of the political system also inevitably caused distortions in the field of economy. Corruption and the waste of public money are still the main subjects of daily conflict, causing the intense reactions of citizens of the two countries (particularly the first - after the accession - the European Committee's report presented straight lines on the question of corruption and organised crime). Certainly, this situation is not reflected in the main nominal indicators of economy, which really preserve remarkable differentiations. Concretely, in Bulgaria, the average inflation amounted to 7.4% (2007), while it is alleged that in 2008 it will decrease (6.2%
By Vasileios Siokorelis
and, in 2009, 4%). The real GDP growth will also be moved in the same direction (from 6.3% in 2007 to 5.8% in 2009). At the same time, the increasing demand for imports extends the deficit of the current account that for the time being comes to 18% of GNP, while the exterior debt is ejected in 33.9% of GNP (from 26.1% in 2006). Roughly the same situation also prevails in Romania. The growth of GNP has decreased considerably (6% in 2007 from 7.7% in 2006), while the inflation marks fall at two percentage units (from 6.6% to 4.6%). Furthermore, the current account deficit is shaped for this year at $20,952 and exterior debt at 85.9% of GNP (from 60.2%), according to the estimates of 'Economist Intelligence Unit'. In any case, the main weakness of these economies remain the low standards of living, as it is expressed by the extremely low real wages that the workers of the two countries receive. Thus, although a remarkable increase in Direct Foreigner Investments is observed (mainly in the construction sector), the basic working wage still remains at mediocre levels (roughly 330 euros for Romania and something less for Bulgaria). It is obvious that this controversial point raises intense doubts for the future. In any case, the forthcoming situation that will be shaped in the next years will confirm (or not) the new political orientation, which the two countries have chosen to follow. Vasileios Siokorelis is PhD Candidate in the Department of Economic and Regional Development, Panteion University, Athens firstname.lastname@example.org
Operating in Albania since 1996 and as a COSMOTE Group company since 2000, AMC is the leading mobile operator in the domestic market. With a customer base of over 1.13 million at the end of September 2007 and a market share of approximately 52%, AMC continues its strong performance at all levels, increasing its revenues, enhancing its customers, upgrading its offerings. During the first nine months of 2007, COSMOTEâ€™s Albanian subsidiary recorded revenues of over 130 million euros, up by 18.2% on a yearly basis, resulting from a 26% increase in its subscriber base and a 23% increase in traffic, driven mainly by contract customers. AMCâ€™s EBITDA grew by 24.5% in the nine months period on a 62.7% margin. AMC constantly enhances its network capacity, currently offering over 98.7% population coverage and enriches its services portfolio with new competitive mobile solutions addressing the real market needs.
THE SECURITY ASPECT of accession By Sorin Frunzaverde
Romania's accession to the European Union in January 2007 was a much awaited and prepared moment. It was neither the start nor the end of the long journey that the country had taken towards European integration. EU membership is an important factor in shaping foreign affairs and security policies. NATO has played a very important role in Romania's security since March 2004, when it became a full member. After our accession to the European Union, the Romanian people as well as our foreign partners are optimistic about the future and stability in several fields including the economy, social cohesion, military and security. Romanians within the EU have the certainty of a common future in the European family, from which we have been separated by an iron curtain. The European Union has contributed to the increase in economic security, foreign investments and the presence of several European and international corporations in Romania which have brought economic stability as a key role in the overall development. After the accession of Romania and Bulgaria, the EU has a new perspective and a stronger involvement in the Balkans. The efforts towards democratic stabilisation in the Western Balkans and the prospects of joining EU for the countries in that area are
very important in ensuring the security of this strategic region. EU membership has brought new challenges for Romania. As a border country of the European Union, Romania has great responsibilities and had to make efforts towards an efficient management of its frontiers in order to stop illegal immigration, human trafficking and criminal networks. Improved border security has been developed in cooperation with, and with the help of, the EU. As an integrated part of the European Union, Romania has to act responsibly towards the neighboring countries, including the Republic of Moldova. The EU's involvement in the stabilisation of the Republic of Moldova and the territorial integrity, democracy and border security of that country are very important for Romania and the entire region. The European Union has already made major efforts to stimulate democratic and economic reforms, to project stability and to support development in the Black Sea
area through wide-ranging cooperation programmes. Since Romania and Bulgaria joined the European Union in January 2007, the Black Sea region has become of immediate and direct policy-interest to the EU. The region is crucial to Europe, principally because of its location at the juncture of Europe, Central Asia, and the Middle East, as well as because of its transit position for oil and gas. European Union involvement in the region through the Black Sea Synergy will focus on good governance, democracy, transport, environment, energy and combating organized crime. The European Union's presence in the Black Sea region opens a window on fresh perspectives and opportunities for Romania and the other countries in the area. Five countries of the Black Sea region are ENP (European Neighborhood Policy) partners. The strengthening of the ENP by building a thematic dimension and the gradual development of deep and comprehensive Free Trade Agreements would enrich Black Sea cooperation. The Romanian MEPs from the EPP-ED Group will strongly support an active involvement of the European Union in the Black Sea area, strategically as well as regarding the cooperation with the riverside states. In the 21st century, energy security is of the utmost importance. Romania is
Operating in a strongly competitive market, GLOBUL today is the second biggest mobile operator and the leader in new customer acquisition in the market. As of September 2007 the company has 3.7 million customers, recording a yearly increase of almost 27% and constantly increasing the share of its post paid subscribers. Focusing on the expansion of its network coverage and distribution network, the widest in Bulgaria, and effectively addressing all market segments with its advanced products and services GLOBUL steadily enhances its subscribers growth momentum and financial performance. GLOBUL revenues increased by 21% to 301.2 million Euro in the nine month 2007 period, driven by its 90% increased postpaid traffic. The company’s net income grew by almost 49% on a yearly basis, while its EBITDA stood at 117.9 million Euro, up by 28.2% y-o-y. Enjoying a store visibility of 32% in Bulgaria, GERMANOS has significantly contributed in GLOBUL’s postpaid market share gain, as demonstrated by the fact that in Q3-07 versus Q3-06 the retailer’s participation in GLOBUL’s net postpaid adds has increased by 67%.
working together with the EU to ensure more energy independence through the diversification of suppliers, supply routes and through the development of internal production of renewal energy. Being a transit country, Romania supports the Nabbuco project that supplies Central and Western Europe with natural gas from the Caspian Sea area, without crossing through Russia. The EU's Common Foreign and Security Policy and the European Security and Defence Policy have been important guidelines for Romania's perspective in this field. As part of the European Union, Romania receives certain benefits, but it also makes an important contribution to the development of European policies and programs. On November 23, 2007, Romania actively participated in international missions, under the aegis of NATO, EU or UN or in alliance with USA, with the following forces:
49 persons in Bosnia, under the aegis of EU (EUFOR) 153 persons in Kosovo, under the aegis of NATO (KFOR) 646 persons in Afghanistan, from whom 563 under the aegis of NATO (ISAF) and 86 participating in the coalition mission Enduring Freedom 498 persons in Iraq, 495 participating in the coalition mission Iraqi Freedom and 3 participating in the NATO training mission for the Iraqi officers. In other missions, Romania contributes with 78 people, from whom 60 are military observers and monitoring agents under the aegis of UN, the other 10 as liaison officers in coalition missions. The overall Romanian troops comprise 1416 persons, 719 under the aegis of NATO, 49 under the aegis of EU, 60 under the aegis of UN, 588 persons in coalition missions with the US.
Romania is now a factor of stability in the region and will host the next NATO Summit, set to take place in April 2008 in Bucharest. This Summit will decide on future enlargement and partnership possibilities, developing a new sense of neighborhood alliance and welcoming the accession of other countries. As Head of the Romanian Delegation to the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, I am a strong promoter of the enlargement of the European Union in the Balkans and I can say that my country supports those states that are in the process of accession.
Sorin Frunzaverde is an MEP, Head of the Romanian Delegation to the EPP-ED Group in the European Parliament, Vice-Chairman of the Subcommittee on Security and Defence and Member of the Committee on Foreign Affairs. email@example.com
COSMOTE Romania is gradually becoming the mobile operator of choice for Romanians. The company, almost two years after it started its commercial operation, continues to show impressive growth rates, quarter by quarter. At the end of October COSMOTE Romania’s customer base exceeded 3 million, having added one million new customers in a six month period while for 3 consecutive quarters the company lead the Romanian market in net new adds. COSMOTE Romania managed to increase its revenues by almost 300% in the first 9 months of 2007, compared to the same period last year. In this course of growth and expansion, COSMOTE Romania relies upon its strong distribution network – currently consisting of 785 stores – and also upon its rapidly expanding telecommunications network: having reached over 97% population coverage and network quality on a par with competition, COSMOTE Romania is heavily investing to expand its capacity, given the strong subscriber numbers. The company’s network is expected to exceed competition coverage by year end. GERMANOS’s contribution has been pivotal to COSMOTE’s growth in Romania: Compared to Q3 2006, in Q3 2007, net post paid customers through GERMANOS in Romania have increased by 573%.
By Manuela Marinescu
Romania became a member state of the European Union on January 1, 2007, according to the established schedule, thus completing a process which began in the mid 90's. At present, the main objective of Romania is to consolidate the progress and the reforms achieved so far, in order to complete its integration into the EU structures. On the other hand, Romania aims to make an active contribution to the projects on the EU agenda and to support the implementation of effective solutions for the community's issues, which represent the official objectives. Romania has the capacity to withstand this new historic challenge, and has embarked on this with a level of trust and dynamism above those noted in the case of older EU member states. In general, it has been noticed that the Romanian public has been favorable to European integration. It is important to mention the support that Romania received in the pre-accession period, as well as during the first year since accession, through various financial channels, and through the free movement of persons and other economic and social facilities. Romania has also received important support from various high level EU officials, who visited the country and stated their availability to support not only the accession, but also a close integration with the EU family through ideas and mentalities. EU has offered permanent support to Romanian citizens for improving their understanding of EU values, aspirations, structures, and mechanisms to help them better define their role. In this regard, numerous workshops, seminars, and training for individuals and companies were organized on various topics such as EU funding, contracting, investment and business opportunities, economic sectors rehabilitation and resuscitation.
Romania has also benefited, and will continue to benefit, from many other advantages following EU accession, one of the most important being the structural funds estimated at 19 billion euros. Besides these advantages, Romania will have to bring its own contribution to the EU by complying with many obligations, aimed at aligning the country with community norms and standards and to normalize the social, economic and political environment. Some of the most important obligations are the full legislative harmonization, the participation to EU budget, and other economic, political, social and cultural measures that have to be undertaken. Nonetheless, Romania is bound to adopting the single euro currency. This process will be gradual so as to mitigate any economic distress that euro adoption could bring. From an economic viewpoint, Romania will have to align itself more and more to the European style, in this regard, the fixed
working schedule of 8 hours will become a memory. The European work style will be transposed by the small and big entrepreneurs coming from the EU, but also by the local business men, who will certainly embrace the community's good practices. One has to mention the role that multinational corporations have, by making the market increasingly dynamic, to the benefit of Romania's economy. Romania has great potential, its citizens are capable, dynamic and have a great desire to be closely integrated into the big European family. The European family will be also enriched by the integration of our country and its citizens, a significant number of them being already part of the European diaspora. This achievement will be complete at the moment when Romania will be able to offer more to its citizens, including a competitive working market, able to retain and attract the Romanians working and living now abroad.
I strongly believe that Romania needs the EU, but also the reverse is true â€“ the EU needs Romania to the same extent. A simple retrospective glance at the European map and history proves the strategic role of Romania, which together with Bulgaria could bring additional security and creativity to the EU. Romania is therefore capable of defining its role within the new and dynamic Europe, and possesses the strength to be an important member state. Also, I believe that Romania has a lot to give as well as a lot to receive as a EU member state. To cut a long story short, as an integral part of the European Union, Romania started to play an important role immediately from January 1, 2007. Manuela Marinescu is the editor of the Greek-Romanian magazine of political, economical and business news and information EL-RO and President of the Hellenic - Romanian Assocciation . firstname.lastname@example.org
Replacing the old By Ierotheos Papadopoulos
On March 25, 1957, leaders from six European countries (France, Germany, Italy and the BENELUX countries) gathered in Rome and signed the Treaty to establish the European Economic Community (EEC) together with the EURATOM Treaty. Fifty years later, that Community has evolved at a fast growing pace into the European Union far beyond the original six members. The United Kingdom joined 16 years later after the Treaty of Rome, in 1973 alongside Denmark and Ireland. Waves of enlargement followed, including Greece in 1981, Spain and Portugal in 1986, Finland, Austria and Sweden in 1995. The biggest we ever experienced was that of May 1, 2004, when ten new members joined the EU family. Last year Romania and Bulgaria became the EU's 26th and 27th members. The reunification of Europe did not happen overnight. The twelve new members that joined the Union in May 2004 and January 2007, were very well prepared. Over 15 years, these countries achieved a profound democratic and economic transformation, which made them fit for EU membership and made Europe better off. Bulgaria and Romania joined two years later than the ten other countries, because they needed more time to be prepared to carry the obligations of EU membership and to take full advantage of the benefits. In general, their membership can be characterised as a smooth and satis-
factory integration, considering the record of the first year. For example, over the last year Bulgaria recorded a significant fall in its unemployment rate (8.2% in November 2006 to 5.8% in November 2007), whilst Romania's annual construction output rose by 32.6% (in November 2007 compared to November 2006), one of the largest increases recorded, as well as its total exports grew by 13% (in January-October 2007 compared to January-October 2006). However, these two countries have to proceed to further reforms in order to face the future challenges at an increasingly globalized level. In the case of Bulgaria, the European Commission has identified certain weaknesses remaining in the areas of judicial reform, the fight against corruption and organised crime that could prevent an effective application of EU laws, policies and programmes. The European Commission suggests that Bulgaria should particularly step up its efforts to achieve progress in these areas. The following benchmarks have been set for Bulgaria in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism: Adopt constitutional amendments removing any ambiguity regarding the independence and accountability of the judicial system. Ensure a more transparent and efficient judicial process by adopting and implement-
iron curtain ing a new judicial system act and the new civil procedure code. Report on the impact of these new laws and of the penal and administrative procedure code, notably on the pre-trial phase. Continue the reform of the judiciary in order to enhance professionalism, accountability and efficiency. Evaluate the impact of this reform and publish the results annually. Conduct and report on professional, nonpartisan investigations into allegations of high-level corruption. Report internal inspections of public institutions and on the publication of assets of high-level officials. Take further measures to prevent and fight corruption, in particular at the borders and within local government. Implement a strategy to fight organised crime, focusing on serious crime, money laundering as well as on the systematic confiscation of assets of criminals. Report on new and ongoing investigations, indictments and convictions in these areas. Upon Romaniaâ€™s accession on January 1, 2007, certain weaknesses remained in the areas of judicial reform and fight against corruption. Four benchmarks have been set in the context of the Cooperation and Verification Mechanism: Ensure a more transparent, and efficient ju-
dicial process notably by enhancing the capacity and accountability of the Superior Council of Magistracy. Report and monitor the impact of the new civil and penal procedures codes. Establish, as foreseen, an integrity agency with responsibilities for verifying assets, incompatibilities and potential conflicts of interest, and for issuing mandatory decisions on the basis of which dissuasive sanctions can be taken. Building on progress already made, continue to conduct professional, non-partisan investigations into allegations of high level corruption. Take further measures to prevent and fight corruption, in particular within the local government. Enlargement is one of the EU's most powerful policy tools in extending the zone of peace, security, liberty, democracy and conflict prevention in our continent. It has helped to increase prosperity and growth opportunities, and to secure vital transport and energy routes. The history of the European Unionâ€™s enlargement can actually be seen as a domino effect of positive changes which have tremendously improved the everyday lives of the citizens in our continent. The consolidated Enlargement agenda, involving Turkey and the Western Balkans, is not about re-
placing the old iron curtain with a silver one. It is a process based on strict and fair conditionality combined with the EU's capacity to integrate new members. Some criticised the EU for lack of an institutional settlement, arguing that the EU's apparatus, which was initially designed for six members, cannot function efficiently with 27 or more members. This argument, despite the fact that it is partly true, is currently collapsing. The 2004 and 2007 waves of enlargement are considered to have been successful. Furthermore, the Lisbon Treaty, signed on December 13, 2007 by Heads of State and Government, will provide the appropriate tools that will guarantee the efficient functionality of the institutional mechanisms of the European Union. We should not forget that the European Union is only 50 years old. Recent difficulties should not cast doubt on either Europe's achievements over the last 50 years or its ability to be a world leader in a globalised environment over the next 50 years. The European Commission is confident that together with our partners in the Member States and beyond, we will make our common European home an even more attractive place to live and work, in peace and prosperity. Ierotheos Papadopoulos is Director of the Representation of the European Commission in Greece
year DOWN way AHEAD and the January 1, 2008 marked one year of Bulgaria's membership in the EU. Bulgarian politicians and journalists felt obliged to comment on it, international ones less so. Domestic governmental representatives did sound rather upbeat and reflected upon opportunities seized. They considered the release of the Bulgarian nurses in Libya as highest proof of European solidarity and the acceptance of the Cyrillic spelling of the Euro in the Lisbon Treaty as highest recognition for Bulgaria's rich history and culture. Furthermore, they claimed a constructive role in the negotiations on the Lisbon Treaty and both a constructive and an active one in the discussions on the Western Balkans and the Black Sea region (but remained silent on the rather incomprehensible line of no objections, but no support either for Kossovo's independence). As regards the expected benefits from the EU Structural and Cohesion Funds, the government sounded reassuring that after having all operational programs approved in late 2007, money will start to flow in 2008. Against the upbeat comments on one year EU membership, it was puzzling to witness in early January an intrinsic antiEuropean campaign supported by the government. The aim was fostering expectations that the small units of the Nu-
By Antoinette Primatarova
clear Power Plant Kozloduy, closed in compliance with commitments anchored in the Accession Treaty, could be reopened. The campaign started on the eve of President Putin's visit to Bulgaria and its Eurosceptic undertone made it sound like bad PR in favor of the energy agreements signed with Russia: on the construction of the Burgas - Alexandropoulos pipeline, of the Nuclear Power Plant Belene and of the South Stream gas pipeline. There was domestic debate on the compatibility, especially of the South Stream agreement, with the EU's emerging energy policy, but Brussels didn't voice any official concerns. The Kozloduy campaign, however, provoked a firm â€˜no'. Most of the representatives of the opposition remained positive about the EU in general, but criticized the government's EU policy because of opportunities missed. The balance of 2007 was interpreted as no gain after the pain of preparing for membership. The opposition also voiced scepticism with regard to the future absorption capacity of Bulgaria and fears that the distribution of EU funds might be spoilt by corruption. In early February, the European Commission's interim monitoring report under the â€˜cooperation and verification of
progress' mechanism gave the media one more opportunity to reflect upon achievements and shortcomings after one year of membership, in particular with regard to the judicial reform and the fight against corruption and organized crime. Most of the Commission's reports have a wording that allows for both the glass-is-half-full and the glass-is-half-empty reading. The government went so far in underplaying the critical elements in the report that the opposition simply had to overplay through tabling a motion of no confidence on the issue of corruption (with no chance to bring down the government). Ordinary peoples' perceptions didn't allow for a uniform interpretation of Bulgaria's membership in the EU either. Different opinion polls have somewhat diverging figures depending upon whether they try to access peoples' attitudes towards the year 2007 only or whether they allow for including a mid to long term perspective. According to an Alpha Research poll from December 2007, 78% of those
interviewed regard Bulgaria's accession to the EU as positive. However, as regards personal benefits, only 5% claim to have experienced a positive impact of EU accession in 2007. That is not surprising, given the short time of membership and the 12. 6% inflation rate for 2007 that many rightly or wrongly relate to EU accession. Still, 24% expect a positive personal impact in 2-5 years and 48% in 5-10 ten years. Obviously, ordinary people are aware of that EU accession was not the end of a journey to paradise but that there is still a lot of work ahead. The increasing awareness that work ahead is rather an issue for the Bulgarian government than for the European institutions is one of the reasons for the low turnout in the May 2007 elections for Bulgarian Members of the European Parliament. What is more, the outcome resembled very much a national protest vote. The big winner became a newly established party - GERB - that is capitalizing on transition fatigue and is pushing for early elections without stirring anti-European sentiments. As regards alignment with EU policies, 2007 gave a clearer idea about the chal-
lenges ahead. On the eve of accession, Bulgaria considered the possibility of joining the Eurozone as early as 2010. After failing to join the ERM II mechanism in 2007 and the cautious approach of the European Central Bank and the members of the Eurozone towards its enlargement, plans are now going well beyond 2010. In the case of Schengen, Bulgaria and Romania are jointly targeting 2011 for joining. Last but not least, â€˜infringement procedure' entered the vocabulary of journalists and the public debate. Bulgaria's problems resemble many of the problems of the 8 post-communist countries that joined the EU in 2004. After accession they continued to experience high economic growth. Still, they were shaken by political crises stemming not from accession related problems but from
different deficiencies of the transition process. Education and healthcare are topping the list of vulnerable sectors in Bulgaria. The monitoring report of the Commission is singling them out because of corruption, but corruption is only the symptom of their unreformedness. Education and healthcare, however, were never topping the EU's demand list, neither could Brussels provide one single model for reforming them. After one year in the EU, membership remains to be perceived as a necessary precondition for Bulgaria's sustainable development and prosperity. But it becomes more and more evident that it is not a sufficient one. After accession, the big challenge seems to be the ability of Bulgarian politicians to elaborate reform policies beyond the EU blueprints and to gain public support for them in a climate of transition fatigue.
Antoinette Primatarova is Programme Director, Centre for Liberal Strategies, Sofia Centre for Liberal Strategies website: www.cls-sofia.org
New voices for the region By George Ciamba January 1, 2007 marked Romania's official joining in the European family and its assuming of the responsibilities of a fully fledged member state, eager to add a substantial contribution to the shaping of Europe's future. 2007 was the year of Romania's actual participation inside the European Union, a stage of institutional adaptations, in which we tried to prove ourselves as a responsible member state that can successfully manage the social, economic and political impact of its new status. As a new EU member, it was only natural for Romania to enthusiastically support the evolution and strengthening of the very organism that it was part of. The Lisbon Treaty has recently been ratified in the Romanian National Parliament - we are among the first member states to proceed in that direction. The next step â€“ implementing the institutional provisions of the Treaty â€“ has to be taken in a way that will ensure a more significant global role for the EU, so that the globalization process and its inherent phenomena (climate change, energy security, migration) can be tackled to the benefit of all European citizens. The EU border country status enhanced our commitment to further project the European Union principles and values to our neighboring areas - the Black Sea and South-Eastern Europe. We have seen our interests reflected inside the Black Sea Synergy document and in the revised
European Neighborhood Policy, acknowledging that a secure, stable and prosperous neighborhood/periphery is a prerequisite for a safe European core. We have been keen supporters of promoting a common energy policy inside the EU that would not overlook the importance of ensuring diversity among energy sources Nabucco and PEOP Constanta Trieste projects have been developed in that respect. By the power of example - Romania's EU course can be a catalyst for reform in the countries of our neighborhood - and by the power of regional expertise (the already gained experience in relation to the Western Balkans or Moldova) Romania may turn its EU accession into a win-win situation both for the country and the region. We will continue to promote the importance of the Black Sea region on the European agenda and the need to agree on partnerships with the states of the region as the 'carrot' of EU and NATO enlargement towards the region is the best way to ensure the enlargement of democracy. And I should mention also that January 1, 2007 opened a new chapter of cooperation among Romania, Greece and Bulgaria as voices of the region and for the region inside the European Union. The end of 2007 witnessed revived trilateral talks at ministerial level which reaf-
firmed our common desire to work together as equal partners in the EU to the benefit of the entire region. Nevertheless, Romania's own economic performances and investment attractiveness contribute to the development and predictability of its neighborhood. Romania is a fast growing economy. The years 2005-2007 are perhaps the best economic years in our history (the GDP averagely increased by 7,8% during these three years). In 2007, Romania benefited from the most dynamic foreign investment process in the European Union, attracting FDI worth 7.5 billion euros. Therefore, I consider that Romania knew how to maximize the advantage of its critical mass (as the 7th largest state in the European Union) so as to become an emerging European market – it can be said that opening the market really paid off for us. If there is a field where we could have made better use of our new status, it is the EU cohesion and structural funds absorption process. But I think no new European member state managed to ensure a very high rate of absorption during
the first years of membership. Today we aim to double our absorption capacity for 2008. We have already gained valuable expertise that can facilitate the efficient use of these funds in fields in need of assistance - infrastructure, constructions. For Romanians, the right to free movement inside the EU was an immediate impact of the European accession. Romanians considered it an opportunity to travel freely, in some countries even work and study, and make a direct contribution from inside the European family to the benefit of all its members. We hope that soon our citizens' labor will be able to support the development of economies in all EU member states. Being a part of the day to day lives of our ‘older' European friends made mutual knowledge and understanding even easier, considering also that sharing the same values of democracy and peace was the thing that brought Romania into the EU in the first place. Sibiu – the Cultural Capital of Europe in 2007 – was a won-
derful opportunity to further promote our cultural profile in the first year of our accession. Finally, I would like to underline that European membership does not represent a guarantee for prosperity but an opportunity (the best in my opinion) to achieve it. One year after accession, Romanians continue to be one of the most confident nations in the European project. And this, I believe, proves that we have not only the authorities' determination but also the social support for turning this opportunity into a great accomplishment for our country and the European Union as well.
George Ciamba is the Ambassador of Romania in Greece.
The Lisbon Treaty was the outcome of a series of Intergovermental Conferences, heated debates, Conventions for the future of Europe, a presentation of a European Constitution by Valeri Giscard D`Estaing, rejections in referenda and division among ‘old’ and ‘new’ member states. The agreement on the Reform Treaty salvaged the main institutional reforms of the Constitution rejected in 2005, which revealed a decline in enthusiasm for Europe, and added other clauses. In this issue of The bridge, prominent academics and opinion makers present their views on where Europe is heading in the wake of this agreement
WHAT REMAINS OF THE EUROPEAN The European Council reached an agreement on the reforms to be made to the Constitution just before June 23, 2007. The combination of three key figures, Angela Merkel, Nicolas Sarkozy and JosĂŠ Manuel Barroso helped, after many symbolic sacrifices and a great deal of pruning, to save the essential elements. Has the Constitution given birth to a mini-treaty? In fact, the European Constitution was not a constitutional text, whereas the mini-treaty truly is a step towards a European federation. The reform Treaty replaces the Treaty on the European Union and the EC Treaty now called the Treaty on the Functioning of the Union. It will be drafted by the Intergovernmental Conference (IGC) and must be ratified before the European elections in June 2009. In order to avoid the sword of Damocles which hangs over the organizing of referendums, the Constitution has disappeared and along with it the mention of many symbols such as the European flag and anthem which are in fact part of tradition. The same goes for the principles of the primacy of community law over national law and undistorted and free competition, even though they have been laid down in the case law of the Court of Justice. However, the Union still has a unique legal personality. The institutional structure
By Dusan Sidjanski
and the distribution of competences remain the same. It is true that the Charter of Fundamental Rights is no longer part of the simplified Treaty, but the Union now has the same legal value as the Treaties1. What is more, the control mechanism of subsidiarity has been reinforced and the participation of national parliaments enhanced. A double-qualified majority voting system has been added and extended to around fifty cases. This means that there must be a majority of at least 55% of Council members, including 15 of the 27 members and representing 65% of the EU population. It is applied when the Council, according to the codecision procedure, rules along with the European Parliament on proposals put forward by the Commission. However, when the Commission or the High Representative does not submit a proposal reflecting common interests, the majority required is 72% of members representing 65% of the population2. But the obstacle of unanimity has yet to be overcome3. The European Parliament is still the biggest winner: in addition to its legislative and budgetary power, it has even greater political control over the Commission and its President. It exercises its power of initiative 1. The country which drafted the Magna Carta chose to 'opt out' 2. The Union Minister for Foreign Affairs, renamed following a request made by the United Kingdom. 3. Poland requested a longer time period but then relaxed its position.
through the Commission, it receives petitions, appoints the European Ombudsman and has the power to set up a commission of inquiry. The President of the European Council, elected by qualified majority, directs and moderates the work of the European Council and is in charge of the preparation and follow-up of this work in cooperation with the President of the Commission, based on the work of the General Affairs Council. His or her mandate is to facilitate cohesion and consensus within the European Council and represent the Union in its relations with foreign Heads of State or government on common foreign and security policy (CFSP), without undermining the role of the High Representative of the Union nor, I might add, 'that of the President of the Commission'. The European Council will, as is already the case, have full responsibility for general strategies and orientations. Both in economic and monetary policies and in external defence relations, decisions related to high politics will be made in the near future by the European Council following proposals made by the Commission. This is a precondition for the European Parliament to exercise its right of democratic control. The High Representative plays the double role of Vice-President of the Commission and President of the Council of Ministers for Foreign Affairs. He will still be entitled to make proposals alone or with the Commis-
CONSTITUTION? sion. However, there is some ambiguity as to the double loyalty that stems from his reduced responsibility to the College. It is true that he must resign his position as member of the College of Commissioners although he will remain on the Council. Nevertheless, he will rely on the European Diplomatic Corps as well as the Directorate-General for External Relations. This arrangement will lead to the emergence of European Diplomacy backed by the Commission. The Council, along with the Commission, plays a key role in the decision-making chain of the European Community. Just like Janus, it has two faces: legislative power and governmental power. It is not subject to the control of the European Parliament as a community legislator, which is logical, but also when it makes governmental decisions, which is not quite so logical. Montesquieu obviously hasn't made it to Brussels yet! The reform Treaty seeks to consolidate and extend the role of the President of the Commission whose twofold legitimacy comes from his appointment by the European Council by qualified majority and his election by the European Parliament. The European Council takes the results of the European Parliament elections into consideration then appoints its candidate before the EP which, finally, elects the President of the
Commission by a majority of its members. This innovation will make the link between the citizens' vote and the election of the President of the Commission more tangible. The other members are imposed upon the President by the governments. Wouldn't it be wiser to allow the elected President to choose the members of the Commission? This is what President Sarkozy would prefer. By relying on the reinforced cohesion of the Commission, the President would define the directions in which the Commission is to exercise its mandate. Karl W. Deutsch highlighted the role of the federating core in unions. This is how, while remaining flexible and through differentiation, progress has been made including the euro and Schengen. In this same spirit, reinforced cooperation enables a group of countries to move forward while seeking to draw in those who did not have the will or the means to become involved from the start. It is a promising prospect for the future. The make-up of the Commission as planned in the Treaty raises serious issues. The 'egalitarian rotation' system guarantees the successive and equal participation of all members. The question is whether this equality between States when rotating Commissioners will weaken the Commission
and, thus, the community method. For the moment, one cannot draw any final conclusions as to whether there has been progress or regression. In this sense, the definition of the Union's acts has brought us back to square one: 'law' and 'framework law' are being replaced by the traditional definitions of regulations, directives and decisions. However, the distinction between acts of legislation, delegation and execution has been preserved. A great number of provisions will simply be reused, the distribution of competences between the Union and the Member States; others, such as the article on energy, will be completed with a reference to the spirit of solidarity. Likewise, the article on the environment mainly covers the need to combat climate change and the pioneering role of the Union. In the judicial affairs sector, a new mechanism will enable certain states to move ahead on a number of issues while allowing others not to take part. The greatest obstacle is still unanimous ratification. However, as long as the mini-treaty includes the main progress made in the Constitution and sticks to the general structure, the promises made to Europeans will be kept.
Dusan Sidjanski is Professor Emeritus at the University of Geneva email@example.com
EU reform By Franck Biancheri
EU leaders would like to put the failure of the EU Constitution project behind them. In order to achieve this very â€˜ambitious' goal, they decided to stop asking citizens whether or not they agreed with the future course of the EU ship. For anybody who thinks that politics is the art of manipulating people, it is a very smart move. The fact that Nicolas Sarkozy was instrumental in allowing this process is not anecdotal. Indeed, had France gone forward with a referendum prerequisite, as a large majority of French citizens wants, the current 'Reform Treaty' would have stayed in limbo. Therefore, Mr. Sarkozy used the same strategy on the European scene that he used in national politics, claiming to be able to do things that others can't. It is not anecdotal either to notice that Nicolas Sarkozy's popularity in France has since then plummeted to unknown lows and that, as a consequence, France may be heading towards a 'crise de regime' in the very middle of the French EU presidency. The EU could very well follow the same path with its 'smart' idea of by-passing public opinions to ratify the new Treaty. Though, for anybody who knows that politics is about convincing people, it does appear to be a major political mistake which will weigh heavily on the future of the EU. It is therefore important to go back to 2005 in order to understand the significance of the 'Reform Treaty' currently in the process of ratification by the national parliaments of our member states. The 'No' votes in France and the Nether-
lands in 2005, and the following halt imposed on the whole European ratification process of the first clone of the current 'Reform Treaty', sent a crystal-clear signal to the EU political and administrative elites: after its geographical enlargement, the EU was in need of a democratic enlargement. After welcoming the new member states within the EU, the EU had to welcome its 500 million citizens within its political decision making processes. Therefore French and Dutch citizens were not expressing a national position in May-June 2005, but they were acting as the voice of EU citizens (the 77% abstention in Spain a few months earlier was already a signal in the same direction1). They were trying to convey a crucial message towards the European ruling classes (bureaucrats, lobbies and national politicians), using the only occasion available to do so2. Essentially what emerged during the referendum campaigns in France and The Netherlands was that people were indeed very interested in the Treaty content (that's the good news for the EU), but that they were pri1. Anybody knowing Spain and the Spaniards knew that they could not be the ones initiating a 'No' vote, at least because they received so much from the EU in the last two decades. By the way, Spain was chosen to kick off the national referendum round for this very reason. 2. The European election cannot serve such a purpose as it is only an arena for national politics.
marily interested in finding out what they did not like about it (that's the bad news for the EU). And if they did so, it was not because they were mean or particularly nationalist, but because they were expressing the feeling that they were fed up seeing the EU only working top-down, and to discover their future 'prepackaged' by remote elites3. The voter's problem was not so much the content of the Constitution than the process of its elaboration and presentation: only one-sided, only topdown. Therefore, the brilliant political idea which commands the current parliamentary ratification process4 can be summarized as follows: in order to solve the problem of citizen mistrust in the EU elites, let's by-pass the citizens completely. When one considers the current 'Reform Treaty' from this perspective, the EU political future can be easily anticipated. The next decade will bring more distrust from the 500 million citizens towards the EU running elites and institutions. This increasing lack of trust will feed all political forces who classically benefit from such situations: extremist and demagogic parties. The currently ruling elites 3. And those who claim the contrary should then explain two things: How come the EU system stopped all other referendum processes if it was only a French or Dutch issue? How come the main objective of current EU political leadership is to prevent any country to hold a referendum? 4. Besides Ireland for constitutional reasons, which will be put in last position for ratification, the 26 other member-states will go through parliamentary ratification.
will be more and more afraid of the people, reinforcing the bureaucratization of the EU rather than opening it up; while they will miss even further the learning curve which would have taught them how to build efficient European-wide democratic processes. For instance, they could have faced up to the challenge generated by the decoupling of EU public opinions from the EU decision process. In order to do so, they would have tried to fix the shortcomings of the current ratification process by trying to set up a fully fledged trans-European one, avoiding the messy succession of national ratifications. The move towards a trans-European referendum system would have been the kind of grand scheme to put them on an equal footing with their great European predecessors who created the European Community, Erasmus, the Single Market or the Euro. But obviously the current brand of European leaders is not of the same sort. And so on and so forth... To put things straight, this trend is not only about long term future5, it will strike the European political system no later than next year, in June 2009, for the next European elec-
tions. Indeed, the next European Parliament will see the final collapse of the 'European SocCon6 command, as some 40% of extremist and demagogic parties of all kinds will compose the new assembly. Citizens' frustration at being deprived of a referendum on the new EU Treaty is already extremely high in most member states. As planned by both Merkel and Sarkozy, and agreed by all the other leaders, the whole ratification process should culminate just before the next European elections. Indeed the 2009 EU elections will be a climax, but of another sort than expected by the EU leadership. They seem to have forgotten that the only sense of history is a dark sense of humor.
5. Ten years for most national politicians is very long term. 6. SocCon is the acronym describing the 'SocialistConservative' coalition which controls the European Parliament. Already at the last European elections, with such high abstention rates, they represented together only 30% of all EU voters. Next time they will fall below 20%. Franck Biancheri is Director of Research for Europe 2020. firstname.lastname@example.org
Treaty or Constitution? Was it a mistake to call a treaty â€˜constitution' as agreed in 2004? To answer this question some basic features of the present day European Union have to be addressed. We are living in a Union which is at a strange stage of integration. The Community has gone through most of the phases of a regional economic integration. Free trade and customs union were achieved in the early years of the integration and serious measures have been implemented over the decades to establish a common market, then later the internal market. Although the internal market is not yet free of all internal barriers, the Union has gone even beyond the phase of the single market: the establishment of the Economic and Monetary Union has brought us some important elements of the last stage of regional economic integration - the economic union. While very good, but not yet complete progress has been made in creating an economic integration, our Union has started bearing more and more features of a political project. First of all, the economic union can be regarded as the first stage of a political union. It would be difficult
By Ivan Gabor
to deny that the appearance of a single currency really is a tangible symbol of political unity. The underlying common monetary policy and the coordination of economic policies (however questionable in practice) are clearly demonstrating a direction. A direction which is, it has to be acknowledged, made somewhat uncertain by a lack of fiscal harmonisation. Anyhow, the existence and growing importance of the Eurozone cannot be ignored. If we look beyond the economic sphere, we can find other important elements of a political project. Cooperation amongst member states in justice and home affairs, in foreign and security policy, including defence, is again reaching much further than a regional economic cooperation is supposed to go. We should be cautious to assess the common foreign and security policy, which is indeed still of an intergovernmental nature. And it will probably remain so for some time. But if we consider the waiving of control at internal borders under the Schengen agreement, we see another visible component of a political union. The member states participating in the Schengen area trust each other and are ready to share an important element of their sovereignty: the control of persons at their borders. The other new cooperation amongst member states, the PrĂźm
Agreement, allowing close cooperation of police services is also falling in this respect. The answers given to many other new challenges, such as migration and the fight against organised crime and terrorism, are further strengthening the partnership amongst member states and the political nature of our common project. Now, bearing in mind all these features of our integration, we should be realistic: we should recognise that our Union is well on the way to an economic union and it is even using tangible and visible elements of a political union, but it would still be premature to dress it with a constitutional treaty. I do not question the goodwill of the intention to make it clear what path we should follow, on the contrary, I also believe in the political fate of our Union. However, this is still far from being a federal construction. The title of â€˜Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe' was, unfortunately, somewhat misleading. As the manner and direction of the Constitution was right, the Treaty of Lisbon by safeguarding its essence is more than a simple amending treaty along the lines of the treaty amendment exercise of the nineties. The Lisbon Treaty is based on the same values, objectives,
principles, institutions, policies and instruments as the Constitution was. However, the new Treaty has been adjusted to the realities and it had to allay the fears of a super state. So the real compromise of the member states was (and this achievement should not be underestimated) to create a good balance between the ambitions of our value-based community and the reality of our great political project: while keeping values and objectives, we had to get rid of symbols of a federal set-up; while making the Union's institutions more effective, we have to respect more the subsidiarity and role of national parliaments; while establishing a single legal personality of the Union, we have to preserve the intergovernmental nature of its foreign and security policy. Perhaps there is one issue that still goes beyond today's reality of the Union: the establishment of the position of a permanent president of the European Council and another of a high repre-
sentative for foreign and security policy. All in all, the Lisbon Treaty is an important new framework for the future of Europe. It helps us to be brave enough to look ahead while not forgetting the reality of the stage of integration on which our future will be built. In my view, to be brave enough means that we should not hide that Europe is a project of political nature. If we regard what the elements of a political cooperation bring to our citizens, taking the best examples of the euro and Schengen, we see two basic objectives of this project: welfare and security. We should keep working on this project.
Ivan Gabor is State Secretary for European Affairs, Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Hungary
the Lisbon Accords By Dimitris N. Chryssochoou
In a high-stakes public campaign, the French and Dutch, in May and June 2005 respectively, rejected the Constitutional Treaty, throwing the European Union (EU) into a profound, but not entirely unexpected, crisis. Even though the Constitutional Treaty was viewed by many as a relatively modest step toward the full constitutionalization of the EU, it was also felt that it would contribute to a more functional, viable and balanced form of decision-making in an enlarged EU of 27 members, coupled with a strengthening of its capacity to act in a more coherent manner in its external relations. But it was not meant to be. Instead, at the June 2007 European Council in Brussels a decision was taken to set up yet another IGC to prepare a Reform Treaty by the end of 2007 (to have been ratified by 2009 in order to coincide with European Parliament (EP) elections and the appointment of a new Commission). The result of this process culminated in the signing of the Lisbon Treaty on December 13, 2007. The Lisbon Treaty classified competences into three categories: exclusive (allowing the EU to make directives and to conclude an international agreement when provided for in EU legislation), shared, and supporting (allowing the EU to carry out actions to support, co-ordinate or supplement state action). Other pro-integrationist elements that were â€˜rescued' from the Constitution-
al Treaty, such as those relating to the EU's democratic life, included: an extension of QMV in some 40 new instances (perhaps the most important veto abolition comes in the area of police and judicial co-operation in criminal matters with Britain and Ireland having negotiated the right to pick and choose whether to take part in these areas); a single legal personality for the EU; a new President of the European Council (elected for a 2.5 year term); a smaller Commission with less Commissioners than there are states, from 2014 (a rotation system would apply every five years, with each country having a Commissioner for 10 years out of the first 15); a strengthening of the EP's co-legislative rights; an enhanced role for national parliaments in their dealings with the Commission (with reference to the application of subsidiary). But there was no mention of a European Foreign Affairs Minister; instead, it merged the post of the High Representative for EU Foreign and Security Policy with the European Commissioner for External Relations. Likewise, the new Treaty made only a legally binding reference to the 54-article Charter of Fundamental
Rights, but without including it in the formal text, as had the Constitutional Treaty â€“ to mention but two cases of constitutional regression. The overall assessment to be drawn is that the Lisbon Summit had resulted in yet another compromised structure among divergent, ambivalent and often conflicting national preferences and interests, thus managing to accommodate the demands of the more sceptical members such as Britain and Poland. Too many reservations, opt-outs, references to the retention of states' prerogatives in relation to competences and reform practices, along with a considerable delay in applying the double majority system of the Constitutional Treaty (not before 2017, although from 2014 a new version of the 1994 Ioannina Compromise will take effect), deprived the EU from consolidating its political identity and failed to signal a shift in the basis of legitimation towards more active and inclusionary virtues of belonging. The Lisbon Accords were on a par with the unimaginative and unambitious Amsterdam and Nice reforms and, hence, at the expense of a vi-
sionary project to re-ignite the public's interest in EU affairs. Therefore, it should not be logically deduced from the above that, as the first decade of the 21st century was coming to a close, so was the idea of the EU as a states-led project: an organized synarchy composed of co-sovereign units, whose operations reflect the practice of political co-determination. These reflections on the current shape of the EU bring to the fore yet another striking paradox: although politicization necessitates the democratization of the EU in terms of strengthening its social, rather than merely empirical, legitimacy, this very process remains under the political control of the national governmental elites who, in the interests of decisional efficiency, compromise the principles of ruler accountability and responsible governance. It is highly plausible then, that any proposed changes to the functioning of the general system that may disrupt the emergent equilibrium of forces and interests among the component states are considered a remote possibility. A recurrent theme here concerns Europe's search for appropriate institutional (formalized rules, voting mechanisms, routinized procedures, norm-setting practices) and extra-institutional (novel forms of collective social engineering) means to break away from executive elite dominance and open up its social and political spaces to civic engagement. This is no easy task to achieve, nor is it something to be taken for granted in the years to come. For one thing, the latest massive enlargement of the EU, coupled with the new decision-making modalities in the
Lisbon Treaty with reference to the reformulated Ioannina Compromise of 1994, makes it easier for an even smaller group of states to postpone the taking of a decision of which they disapprove. Moreover, despite the fact that the new Treaty offers a more balanced and more inclusive process of 'double majority voting' compared to the Nice arrangements (55% of states representing 65% of the whole population), the reality of blocking minorities will be of the essence when evaluating the integrative potential of the Lisbon Accords. Even at the level of 'normal' qualified majority rule, there is a propensity on the part of some newly admitted states to regard themselves more as potential veto-players, rather than as members accepting the majoritarian rules of the game in a setting of nation-states. As Taylor recently put it, 窶話efore enlargement, qualified majority voting served only to lubricate a consensus system; after enlargement, majority voting was to be real because there was a lesser chance of consensus'. On that front too, the debate over the future evolution of the EU post-Lisbon will continue to excite the interest of both policy-oriented and normative-driven analyses, at least for the foreseeable future.
Dimitris N. Chryssochoou is Associate Professor of International Organization at the University of Crete email@example.com
If it waddles and quacks, By Geoffrey Edwards
The Lisbon Treaty is not, of course, a constitution - nor for that matter was the ill-fated Constitutional Treaty. And Lisbon does not create a European Foreign Minister - except that the responsibilities of the High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy are largely the same as those of the EU Foreign Minister of the Constitutional Treaty. But what can one expect of the Lisbon Treaty's provisions on foreign, security and defence policies? The aim, after all, is to enhance the Union's presence in the world, to give the Union greater coherence in its foreign relations and to enable it to be more effective. What Lisbon actually achieves awaits not only ratification - will the Irish stomach its security and defence provisions? - but also some serious clarification and negotiation of quite what role the High Representative can play and with what resources. The crab-like process of EU-building has invariably matched aspiration for something new with fear of losing what one had - or perhaps thought one had. In foreign policy terms, there has long been acknowledgement that, together, the Europeans could be a global power for good only for that to dissipate as governments have baulked at negotiating away power and responsibility, whatever the limits on the power of even the biggest of Europe's middle-sized states. The member states of the EU have been negotiating on the coordination of their foreign policies since the Luxembourg Report of 1970. They committed themselves to a Common foreign and security policy (CFSP) in the Treaty on European Union of 1993. But they did so, of course, on the basis that
policy had to be unanimously agreed. That, in practice, has been modified so that CFSP has often been able to work on the basis of consensus, and, since the Nice Treaty, there has been opportunity for 'enhanced cooperation' among less than full membership of the Union. But a consensus has still been necessary, which has left gaps in terms of the comprehensiveness of the EU's foreign relations, its coherence and consistency. Thus, even though the EU has become increasingly active in terms of crisis management, in deploying peace-keeping operations in far-flung areas of the world – as well as closer to home in the Balkans – the memory of past failures and the persistent presence of differences – over relations with Russia, for example, or the United States – continue to plague the Union. With each Treaty revision, new commitments to improve decisionmaking processes, to refine policy instruments, and to be more effective are undertaken. The Lisbon Treaty is no exception. Lisbon builds on some successes, particularly the role of Javier Solana as High Representative (HR), as well as some failures. Solana's post was introduced by the Amsterdam Treaty, ostensibly, formally one merely of assisting the Presidency. Solana has made it something rather more than that, with continuous visits, speeches and meet-
...the unducklike qualities of state-like Europe ings, and with the creation of an infrastructure that provides him with his own sources of information from, for example, Special Representatives, and the authority constantly to encourage governments to fall into line. Not that he has always been successful â€“ his silence in the face of member state differences over Lebanon in 2006 was but a reminder of the continuing divisions among member states. But Lisbon also seeks to meet past failures, including the problems of consistency between the Council and member states, and the Commission with its responsibilities for external economic relations, its role in crisis management and post-conflict reconstruction. The Lisbon Treaty proposes several institutional and other innovations. The High Representative (HR) is, for example, to chair meetings of the Council of Foreign Affairs, while at the same time, he/she is to be double-hatted as a VicePresident (VP) of the European Commission. This may well allow for much greater continuity against the hiccups of the rotating Presidency and overcome some inter-institutional rivalries. It may also enhance the agenda-setting capacity of the HR in terms of foreign, security and defence policies insofar as the HR is given the responsibility (along with member States) for proposing decisions. The HR's position is further supported by the creation of a European External Service which is to consist of personnel from the Council Secretariat, the Commission delegations and officials seconded from national administrations and which, once
the details are worked out, is designed to work with the diplomatic services of the member states. Quite how far member states envisage working with the External Service, especially where they have traditionally close relationships with third countries, remains an issue. Moreover, there is much to be done in reconciling the HR/VP's two hats given the different positions and practices of the Commission and Council, not least in terms of their accountability to the European Parliament. And the HR will be subject to other competing pressures in Brussels: from the President of the Commission, on the one hand, who has increasingly played an important role in representing the Union in G8 and other summit meetings; and, on the other, from the new post of the President of the European Council. The latter's role is also to represent the Union and since the post is likely to be held by a former prime minister, some doubtless sensitive coordination will be vital. Beyond the institutional arrangements, Lisbon commits the member states, as earlier Treaties had done, to the progressive framing of a common defence policy. This will remain subject to unanimous agreement, but Lisbon seeks to move us psychologically forward somewhat by renaming the European Security and Defence Policy (ESDP), the Common Security and Defence Policy. As the CFSP shows us, there is not always everything in a name, but Europe now seems to be already on the way â€“ pace the Irish â€“ towards a common defence policy. Caveats in the form of declarations relating to NATO may abound, but there is also a commitment to mutual assistance
as under the old WEU, as well as solidarity in the event of a terrorist attack. And Lisbon reiterates the expansion of the so-called Petersburg Tasks along the lines agreed at the Thessaloniki European Council of June 2003. Lisbon, like most Treaties, codifies practice already agreed by member states. But it also provides new opportunities for greater effectiveness so long as, of course, member states can agree. But insofar as the High Representative has been given responsibilities that many national Ministers would welcome, then but for the title, he or she becomes effectively the EU's Foreign Minister with all the difficulties that entails in contemporary summit and multilateral diplomacy.
Geoffrey Edwards is Professor of European Studies, University of Cambridge. firstname.lastname@example.org
EU's external relations:
new architecture, same structure
Notwithstanding the advances, major achievements and popularity of the EU's soft power abroad, the EU's foreign policy mechanisms suffered from various deficiencies, including the lack of clarity in the EU's external representation with third parties, the lack of co-ordination among the different EU institutions or the lack of consistency in its foreign policy agenda. Up until now, the EU possessed various executives involved in its external affairs among others, the rotating six-month Presidency of the European Council, the Commissioner for External Relations, the Common Foreign Policy and Security (CFSP) Chief, the European Parliament, all with the right to have a say in the projection of the EU's normative, economic, political and military power, but often with competing and/or overlapping competences. More concretely, critics disapproved of the discontinuity in the presidency system and the modification of the external agenda every six months according to the national priorities of each national presidency. Others argued against the lack of communication and coordination between the Commissioner of External Relations and the High Representative, the first possessing the human capital and the economic power, the second holding the diplomatic power but lacking in resources. Indeed, it was paradoxical that the EU's CFSP representative Javier Solana had the political legitimacy to
By Othon Anastasakis
speak on behalf of the Council which he was representing, but had limited resources to implement his decisions, whereas the Commissioner of External Affairs had a vast technical expertise and the finances in its external relations, but very limited political power. As a result, third countries were confused as to who was representing the interests of the European Union and who was the real point of reference. This complicated internal architecture affected the legitimacy, credibility and influence of the European Union's common foreign and security policy, it obstructed the efficient management of aid and assistance to the developing world, in addition to that of the EU's impact in its near abroad. The Lisbon Treaty tries to address these weaknesses by reforming the architecture of the EU's external relations edifice. First, it establishes an independent President of the European Council, a high profile leader, elected by the Council for a once-renewable term of 30 months. The expectation is that the holder of this position, though not directly elected or endowed with executive powers, would be an important European political leader, whose prestige and tenure would enhance the EU's diplomatic clout. Second, the Treaty creates a new 'High Representative for the Union in Foreign Affairs and Security Policy', who will also become
the Vice President of the European Commission. This new post is a combination of the Commissioner for External Relations with the High Representative of Common Foreign and Security Policy and aims at merging the community with the intergovernmental pillars. The new combined High Representative would chair EU foreign ministers' meetings, represent the EU at major international fora, administer the organization's large foreign aid program, and direct a combined diplomatic service consisting of both EU and national diplomats, the new European External Action Service. Third, it adopts the single legal personality for the Union, which allows it to sign contracts and be a member of international organisations. Fourth, the Treaty keeps the current requirement of unanimity in foreign policy decisions, but allows the new high representative to submit proposals on how to implement already agreed EU decisions. Thus, the Treaty of Lisbon emphasises leadership, efficiency and visibility in its external relations through better internal cooperation among the institutions of the EU while respecting the par-
ticular interests of the member states in foreign affairs. These changes are one step further in the direction of making the EU more functional and equipped to address the increasing global challenges, but carry with them some dangers: First, the new arrangement through the addition of a new President and an empowered High Representative/Vice-President of the Commission adds in the EU's top list more leaders and potentially creates a personality clash between all the heads of the different EU institutions i.e. the new President of the Union, the President of the European Commission, the High Representative/Vice-President of the European Commission and the President of the European Parliament. Europe has often seen in the past its countries competing with each other as a result of antagonisms among national leaders. Such a perspective within the EU should not be underestimated, and in view of the fact that the two new posts are likely to attract high profile, heavyweight political candidates with personal ambitions and agendas, consensus
and cooperation among big personalities becomes a daunting task. Moreover, the ill-defined nature of the President of the European Council in external matters and the (intergovernmental/community) duality of the High Representative/Vice-President could lead to more confusion and antagonism. Second, there are limits as to how far institutional changes will affect the substance of external relations and will facilitate compromise among the member states of the EU. Apart from their internal potential personality struggle, the new appointed external relations figures will also have to accommodate the different often competing priorities of the member states, as the new Treaty keeps the national prerogatives in foreign policy and the intergovernmental structure intact. Divisions between members will therefore continue to weaken the EU's foreign policy when matters are seen to be nationally sensitive for some member states. Within a Union of 27 or more, national interests multiply and the threat or the use of national vetoes will continue to shape the EU's foreign policy decisions although it is expected that the big countries will continue to
dominate and they will be the defining actors in shaping the external relations. Difficult choices lie ahead of the EU in how it deals with its transatlantic partnership, its enlargement towards Turkey, its neighborhood policy in the East and the South, and its controversial relationship with Russia and the latter's new manipulative energy power. Overall, the Treaty of Lisbon is expected to facilitate the day-to-day running of the EU's external relations and will increase its effectiveness and visibility. Yet, the reformed institutions will serve the EU's foreign policy as long as there are competent leaderships from the part of the EU, and a political will from the part of the national governments to pursue a common foreign and security policy in delicate external matters. Dr. Othon Anastasakis is Director of South East European Studies at Oxford, and a Fellow of St Antony's College, University of Oxford. email@example.com
AGORAIDEON Policy Brief
State-building in the era of economic identity SUMMARY
The idea of state-building on the basis of economic interests seems a far-fetched concept in the present day. But the behavior of states, groups and citizens indicates that the role of economic stakes is expanding and evolving into the most determining driving force behind a wider scope of state and citizen choices. Experiments of political formations built on mainly economic foundations – among which the EU is by far the most important – have been successful so far, despite the risks and trouble such ambitious ventures inevitably cause. In the context of global competition and interdependence, governments tend to share the management of national assets and relations with the business world. As a result, states are gradually adapting their behavior to the model of financial institutions. Old and young separatist movements have proven that the protection of identity and security is not the only reason behind their cause; economic independence and direct access to the central decision making process are of high priority on their new agenda. And individuals seem willing to trade their mother-country for another one that will allow them higher economic status. These findings indicate that 'hard power' factors, such as national identity and sovereignty, while not ceasing to play significant roles, may be set aside by economic interests as the raison d’ être of future states. Thus, globalization, regional integration and the dilation of the economic sphere may use local movements as their vehicle towards the replacement of the traditional nation state by post-modern political entities.
Should one claim that in a few decades the Dalmatian Islands, Venice (and Corfu?) could create an independent state, the reaction would probably be a condescending smile. The argument would have been the following: Venice produces a large part of Italy's GDP through tourism. Its citizens â€“ and above all, its highly Europeanized and globalized elites- realise that their central government diverts their wealth to regions with less participation in the GDP, rather than investing it to satisfy their needs and wishes. The Dalmatian islands face the same situation. The belief that their local economy would prosper if they had direct control over their wealth and if they united in an independent and more profitable political formation, urges them to secede and build a new state. The source of inspiration of this challenging idea has been the September edition of Monocle1, a British magazine with international distribution focusing among other on global affairs. This issue featured as its front page the flag and a citizen of a country called 'Costazzurra'. There would have been nothing odd about this front page should 'Costazzurra' actually exist as a country. Its contributor, Ivan Carvalho, created an entire imaginary country with the usual characteristics one would expect (name, flag, territory, etc.).2 The interest in this theoretical construction is the economic foundation on which this state is built upon. Costazzurra was born from the union of Liguria and Monaco, forming a state that allows
them to capitalize on their economic strengths and live in a blossoming economy. Based on this notion, Carvalho pictures a country, which would be the ideal place for anyone to live in. The scenario of state-building on the basis of economic interests sounds like science-fiction to the majotiy of citizens in most countries; they consider national sovereignty and identity as the only foundations a state -nominally theirs- can possibly have. Yet, it is commonly acknowledged that the decisive factor behind an increasingly wider range of a country's actions is economic interests. The strengthening of their role and the use of tools, traditionally belonging to the economic sphere, by countries in order to increase their power can lead us to the hypothesis that in the future, the significance of economic factors could grow to such an extent that the latter could become the cornerstone of statebuilding. This hypothesis, of course, does not assume that all future states will be founded on economic interests. Common history, language, culture, geo-strategic position and security are just few of the reasons which, usually in different combinations and according to specific circumstances, can create the need for a separate state. Common economic interests are just an additional one that could evolve to a strong enough reason behind the will of people to build a state. History has shown that 'extreme'
scenarios often materialize; and sometimes sooner than anyone could possibly imagine. In earlier days, not many could have been convinced about the feasibility of a peaceful union among European countries, Western and ex-communist, which would open frontiers, establish a strong common market with a single currency and a broad space where people share common values, laws and political practices. Today, the EU seems to most like nothing more than the natural evolution of European history. Europeanization and the states' new attitude The basis of our working scenario does not differ much from the core idea behind the creation of the European Union. The decision for a union was basically an economic one. European countries created a political formulation and transferred part of their sovereignty to it because they had an economic interest in doing so. Within fifty years, the EU has become an international power consisting of twenty-seven countries, with borders extending from the Atlantic to Russia. There are practically no borders in between. As Van Oranje and Leonard note in the previously mentioned Monocle edition, the EU built up its strength using a strategy of 'soft power' politics, achieving its expansion mainly through the use of economic incentives3. By attracting new countries with the promise of membership together with the economic/political
advantages this status would award them -namely access to its wide market- the EU managed to achieve what the Cold War failed to do for many decades; using economic interests as its political weapon, it convinced ten former communist countries to restructure and adopt the norms and institutions of the other country members. To some extent, the EU follows a similar strategy to a financial institution. As a 'group' it 'takes-over' countries; it restructures them to become more efficient; and offers them access to the market share it has created. A group that keeps growing and getting stronger internationally and slowly shifts to new ventures. Of course, the EU's actions, as an intergovernmental organization, are the actions of its member states. Hence, its choice of functioning within an open market framework reflects on the preferences of its members. Still, the community dimension defines the general outline of these actions. Trying to survive and profit from regional and global competition, countries have made numerous adjustments to the way they operate. The end of state monopolies and the increasing participation of private enterprises in public services are the far most important developments of this adjustment process, which follows a different track in every country. But, in spite of national particularities, the need for efficiency has forced all countries to use strictly economic tools and adopt a common business-like behavior. This is evident from, among other, the recent trend of re-branding a country's image. Following the example of financial institutions, which first realized the negative im-
pact that the association of their brand name with, for example sweat-shops, environmental pollution and general bad practice, has on profitability, countries are now more inclined to invest additional funds for the sharpening of their country's international brand-image in order to strengthen their 'competitiveness' internationally (by attracting investment, entrepreneurs and tourism), and to generally create a more positive stance towards them. It is indicative that this trend extends even to super powers, such as the USA, whose government has in fact already established a partnership with the countryâ€™s leading consultancy and PR firms in order to reshape their country-image4. Local initiatives and separatist movements The effort for a stronger position in the international arena is not limited exclusively to countries. In fact, a similar attitude is, also, observed in regions within member states, which appear to be claiming a larger role in the EU. Irrespective to whether or not such regions have separatist tendencies (proclaimed or not, nationalistic or not), there seems to be growing demand for a more direct relationship with Brussels, wishing for more direct access to the center that has control over and could provide them with EU funds. In turn, the EU also appears to give at least limited support to this development by encouraging initiatives that strengthen the efforts of regionalism and localism. Such development could eventually give a very different (or at least parallel) course to the EU from the course of regional fragmentation on the basis of national identity
(such as the one promoted in the European Parliament by the European Free Alliance)5. The view of Alesina and Spolaore is of interest in this respect. In their book, The size of nations6, regarding the optimal size countries should have, the authors argue that citizens judge their countries by the quantity and quality of public goods they receive as a trade-off for the taxes they pay to their government. Should they feel that this trade-off is unfair, they could choose to secede if they believed they could get a satisfactory amount of public goods by being on their own. In their opinion, regions within EU members that would like to secede could have an additional incentive knowing that the economic cost will not be too high if they can preserve access to the EU market. Though, under current EU legislation, seceding regions are not automatically recognized as EU members, autonomous regions within the EU's geographical borders, like e.g. Monaco, have special trade bonds with the EU market. Thus, in the above mentioned edition of Monocle, Carvalho took this subversive rationale a step further, indicating that our hypothesis did not come out of the blue. An intriguing debate has already been taking place in Europe and we wish to make part in it. Of course, among local initiatives within the EU, we also need to look at separatist movements. Though the Union is officially at peace, various separatist movements continue to operate within its borders, using either violent or peaceful means to achieve their goals. The fact that today well over 100 separatist or autonomist groups and political par-
ties exist on EU soil is proof that separatism still remains and will probably remain a significant element of Europe's reality for the immediate future. The question is what the motives of these groups are or will be. And regarding our issue, how big a part do economic incentives play in their goals? Using as an example a couple of the most well-known separatist movements, the Scots and the Catalan, we see that even though their national identity has officially been recognized (with all the privileges this entails), the movements still exist and demand further independence. This implies that the aim of the movements is not simply to safeguard their national identity but to relieve themselves of the political and economic control of their central governments, believing the latter to hinder their further politico-economic development. Economic under-colours are also evident even in separatist movements with less national privileges secured and issues of identity still at the forefront of their cause. It is hard to imagine, for example, how most of these groups would have acquired their current strength and popularity if financial stakes related to, for example, lignite, energy pipes or illegal trade routes were not part of the picture. The emergence of city-states The closest contemporary parallel to the model of Costazzurra examined previously is the existence of large cities, like London and New York, which, due to their economic strength and history, have evolved to unique financial centers. As a consequence, they have been able to take real advantage of central
governments' decentralization measures and acquire greater political independence as well. These cities have developed to such an extent that they resemble citystates more than cities within states. With populations the size of small countries, financial institutions with an annual turnover larger than some countries' GDP, security forces and the ability to paralyze their own countries' mechanism, if they wish, the dependent relationship between city and state seems to have been reversed, with the latter depending financially on the former. These cities have become internationally recognizable trademarks, with a separate identity made obvious from the fact that their citizens usually label themselves as Londoners or New Yorkers rather than British or Americans. Similar trends are becoming increasingly visible throughout the world, like e.g. in Barcelona, Dubai or Singapore. Individuals' choice of identity Despite the fact that state-building on the basis of economic interests sounds peculiar, choosing a new country of residence according to this very idea and often substituting one's national identity is not without precedent. Economic incentives have been the driving force behind this kind of individual decisions, be they private citizens or entrepreneurs, since the beginning of economic immigration, in other words throughout the history of human society. A more recent example of this trend is the creation of offshore financial centres and tax-havens; regions and separate states organized and developed using economic incentives to attract capital and individuals.
Tax cuts and similar incentives have driven a number of firms to register, or move all operations, at offshores and tax-havens. The rising number of such firms shows an equally rising tendency for the development of areas based on purely economic interests. This point is further supported by the increased number of wealthy individuals who choose to relocate to tax-havens. The wish to promote their economic interests seems to be set above residing in their own nation. The Cayman Islands in America and Monaco in the broader European environment are typical examples in that respect. The latter, since it imposes no income tax on individuals, became a magnet for the wealthy. Today Monaco, one of the smallest countries in the world, is inhabited mostly by foreign millionaires. As a result, it has turned into one of the most expensive and sought after places on Earth and has Europe's most expensive real estate. These rich cospolitans tend to consider themselves citizens of Monaco and the world; this is the typical case of trading one's collective national identity for an individual one that can assure economic status. Conclusion Our working hypothesis did not endeavor to prove that in the future state-building would depend solely on economic interests. It accepts that state-building with roots in more traditional ideas, such as national identity and security issues, will (probably) not cease to exist. Our theory simply leaves more space for soft power elements, principally economic incentives, to be considered as possible reasons for future post-modern state-building. We, also, acknowledge that the theoretical model has many limita-
tions. For example, based on our current knowledge of how social groups function, in order for the post-modern factors to operate as the foundation of state-building, the traditional factors must have ceased to be a problem. Our theoretical model can probably materialize only in areas where national identity, history and insecurity are not an issue. This is mainly the case of the EU, where peace, relative respect for individual and collective rights, and cultural exchanges have allowed the emergence or the reshaping of local claims for more economic independence. Our point is that current trends in the behavior of countries, local movements and individuals show that economic factors have an increasingly more decisive role in their choices. As countries make progressively more use of financial tools in the way they operate, what would stop economic incentives from expanding to the very founding basis of state-building? In other words, if states tend to operate as financial institutions, why couldn't they, one day, be created like financial institutions? Already, intergovernmental organizations built on this very basis have successfully taken advantage of the potential economic incentives offered for their development. Powerful economic centers, some EU regions and tax havens already seem to have deviated from the traditional country bonds. Separatist movements still exist and show signs of economic
considerations in their actions. While individuals have shown that economic stakes are reason enough to adopt a new country. The evolution of political formations in history shows that neither borders nor country structures are static; they evolve with and in reaction to each period's special circumstances. Traditional reasons, such as sociological, cultural or security issues, should definitely not be considered as the only driving forces behind state-building. Just like states in the traditional sense did not always exist in the past, they may not always exist in the future. This means that the political entities produced will not necessarily present all the characteristics perceived nowadays as essential for a state to be one. After all, why should a prosperous province struggle for its independence only to become a heavier, more rigid and costlier mechanism as most states prove to be? While the political formations of the future may not copy our model, variations of this may occur. Our model is not an ending point of what states will be like in the future, but a contribution to an interesting debate on this very subject. This debate will inevitably involve the advancements observed in our regional environment, the EU. In this regard, the biggest concern for the EU will be how to manage these potential new formations in order to promote the goal of further and deeper integration. Our stand is that if the origins of local initiatives are not purely democratic, but merely express the ambitions of local elites or the influence of powerful neighbours, the cre-
ation of the new 'states' will not help the EU to maintain peace and stability, cure its democratic deficit and increase cohesion. It is true that the separatists' will to communicate directly with Brussels gives the impression that the Union can use it to boost its position against national governments. But the community's history has shown that the weaker the players in the intergovernmental decision making are, the more the gains for the big countries are. Therefore, the actors in the Europeanization process should take separatist trends into serious consideration, when they enthusiastically jump into conclusions about the beneficiary effects of regional politics on the strengthening of the Union. There is a constant risk of ending up in a 'patchwork Europe', where proud but unable to survive little states act as protectorates or feudi of the biggest EU countries. The key is, again, the balance between democracy and security.
1 Related information to Monocle can be
found at www.monocle.com 2 Carvalho I., Model nation - Costazzurra, Mon-
ocle, Issue 6, Vol.1, September 2007, pp. 4445 3 Van Oranje M. and Leonard M., Small coun-
tries, big stick, Monocle, Issue 6, Vol.1, September 2007, p. 58 4 U.S. Department of State, Business Leaders
Make Major Commitment To Support American Public Diplomacy, 11 January 2007, http://www.state.gov/r/pa/prs/ps/2007/7864 6.htm# 5 European Free Alliance, http://www.e-f-
6 Alesina A. and Spolaore E., The size of nations,
MIT Press, 2003
Is breaking up so hard to do? I was following, a month ago, the whole brouhaha surrounding the Belgian government crisis. Possibly the best summary of what was and is at stake in Belgium was written by Ingrid Robeyns, at Crooked Timber1, a post that offers comprehensively both background and analysis of the main events in the current crisis. Today, as the issue of Belgium's political impasse moved from record-breaking territory into a major crisis, previous claims that the country quite probably is not heading towards a break-up, although quite possibly accurate, might seem less than 100% convincing. Everybody seems to agree that the financial imbalance between Flanders and Wallonia, which led to the Flemish having to subsidize the Walloons through their taxes, is a factor in the Belgian equation. It quite probably is, but the interesting thing here is that in the event of secession, both countries will remain partners within the EU, with some sort of transfers certainly flowing again from the State of Flanders to the State of (Rump) Belgium, through the Union's many funds and subsidies! The question of independence and secession from a country within the EU is a novel twist to the ‘subnational’ issue, that enhances the viability of the secessionist project and the vision of secession advocates, in many parts of 1. http://crookedtimber.org/2007/09/19/the-ingredients-of-the-belgian-cocktail/
Secession: beyond economics a blog post by Talos
Europe. To name but a few, this prospect has been part of the rhetoric of the Catalans, the Basques, the Scots, the Welsh, the ‘Padanians’ and of course the Flemish. The EU offers a ‘safe haven’ of sorts to various independence movements, a guarantee that ‘much will remain the same’ even in the event of secession, especially regarding the economic viability of such a project. Thus, economic motives for secession can be reasonably seen as enhanced by the prospect of EU participation. Indeed, given the current ideological climate and raw economism, the concept of nation-building as an exercise in revenue maximizing statebranding2, isn't beyond contemplation at all. Economic motives for secession, or market-driven ‘ethnogenesis, seem very ‘contemporary’. But is economics the driving factor (instead of a driving factor) in secessionist movements? Can states be built on economic considerations alone? Does the Flemish secession movement exist principally because of taxation issues? I think not. First of all, it is far from obvious that the EU itself is comfortable with the idea of internally multiplying its member states. As the Economist has pointed out: ‘The EU is also unlikely to support moves leading to any disintegration of member 2. http://www.monocle.com/sections/affairs/ Magazine-Articles/Model-Nation---Costazzurra/
states. Regional movements often point to the EU as a trans-national safeguard, allowing them more easily to dispense with their nation-state affiliation. But the EU may be more concerned about any process that upsets its own delicate institutional balance, to say nothing of making it harder to gain a consensus for a new EU constitution. Having put the brakes on further external enlargement, the EU will not welcome a form of internally-generated expansion.’ In fact, Prodi had warned explicitly three years ago (Scotland in that instance), as President of the European Commission, that EU membership is not a given for any wannabe breakaway republics: ‘If Scotland breaks away from the United Kingdom, Edinburgh would have to reapply for membership of the European Union. A newly-independent region would, by the fact of its independence, become a third country with respect to the (European) Union and the treaties would not apply any more in its territory,’ he said. One might also add that the regionalization of Europe (as intent for the time being and not as actual pervasive policy) and the role that regions seem to be playing in EU development strategy, can act as a counter-
weight to separatism, as they deliver plenty of self-government to local entities, circumventing (up to a point) the hold of the national government. The prospect of a purely regional Europe however is a non-starter, among other reasons because of scaling problems. I quote from a highly relevant interview with Nicolas Levrat,3 the director of the Institute of European Studies at the University of Geneva, questioned by Eurotopics: Q: Could you imagine a European Union made up of regions and not of nation states? Nicolas Levrat: A Europe of the Regions wouldn't work. We see that the Committee of the Regions is quite inefficient. We are talking about 200 or 300 entities trying to make decisions. Imagine the procedures necessary to reach a qualifying majority in a decision-making body with 300 members! It's not like your average parliament, it would be much more difficult as is already the case in the present European council with 27 members. Then there is the issue that, apart from problematic parts of the world such as Africa and the (Western) Balkans, there is little that suggests that independence or autonomy movements are directly tied to solely economic considerations – see for example the paper by Elliot D. Green On the Endogeneity of Ethnic Secessionist Groups,4 which presents the theoretical context of the debate along 3. http://www.eurotopics.net/en/magazin/magazin_archiv/separatimus_2007_07/interview_levrat_separatismus/ 4. http://personal.lse.ac.uk/greened/Endogeneity.pdf
with evidence that shows that the relation between economic opportunity and secessionist power is not linear at all. Ethnogenesis is a complex process and certainly not one that can be reduced to a purely economic cost-benefit analysis. If this is the case for well-established secessionist movements, it is even more so for ad hoc potential entities constructed on economic considerations alone. In fact the only case of a country built on principally economic considerations in Europe that I can think of is Montenegro. Whether that was a wise move, is another discussion, as it isn't at all that obvious that Montenegro is more independent now (under any meaningful definition of the term ‘independent’) than it was when it was federated with Serbia. Anyway, the post-Yugoslav Balkans, home of the smuggler-state, doesn't lend itself to wider generalizations. Note also that were regional economic inequalities a driving force for ‘nation building’ alone (either through the logic of ‘liberation’ from paying for the ‘backwards’ regions, or through the aspiration to a better economic future for disadvantaged regions), the phenomenon would be vastly more widespread than it is now. The economic gaps that exist in almost all countries between certain regions are often quite larger than the corresponding gaps between secessionist regions and other regions within the same country, yet not all regional income gaps lead to demands for autonomy or secession. Thus Nicholas Levrat's assertion (in the abovementioned interview) that ‘Contrary to what is commonly said – that the rise of regionalism is linked to the funding structure and federal
EU policy – the facts suggest that it is not the regions that are heavily subsidized by the EU that are pushing for independence, but rather the rich regions,’ is a generalization that is not even statistically valid: Not all, not even most, but just a handful of ‘rich regions’ are pushing for independence. The ones that do are riding on and succeeding because of a pre-existing national identity. Thus, the sort of mechanistic reductionism that sees national or regional aspirations of independence as a result of solely, or even principally, economic forces and motives, isn't convincing. The EU separatist movements in fact are, if anything, less prevalent today than they were in the past because political issues such as minority rights, language issues and local government are guaranteed inside the EU. There is a political primacy here that cannot be generated at whim, and is dependent on factors such as local history and past grievances. Countries are not corporations. They presuppose (and impose) a vastly deeper loyalty than any brand-name ever could. History cannot be fast-forwarded nor reduced simply to the pursuit of profit.
A blog post in Histologion (http//histologion.blogspot.com), reprinted by permission of the author “talos”.
On January 1, 1999 one of the largest steps toward European unification took place with the introduction of the euro as the official currency in eleven countries. Today, the euro is the world's most powerful currency, used by more than 320 million Europeans in twenty countries. Following Slovenia, on January 1st, Cyprus and Malta became the newest entries in the Eurofamily. The adoption of the Euro is a historic step crowning years of hard work, a firm commitment to sound economic policies and bold reform. In this issue of The bridge, the importance of this move for both countries in terms of political and economic development are addressed.
Euro-challenges for Cypriot businesses By Andreas Eliades
I am definitely not exaggerating by making the point that Cyprus’ integration will create a favorable environment for business activity on the island. The integration will also enhance the attractiveness of the country in the eye of foreign investors and multinational corporations, which would like to use Cyprus as their headquarters for the expansion of their activities in the vast geographical market extending not only to the Balkans and Southeast Europe but also to the greater Middle East. The benefits of the introduction of the single European currency for the island’s entrepreneurs could be summed up as follows: The strong currency of a small country has been replaced by a globally strong currency, the euro, which is now acknowledged as a means of international transactions and as a reserve currency The operational costs of commercial deeds are reduced in most cases since the obligation to change the Cypriot pound into an internationally acceptable currency no longer exists. Exchanges in euros are free from ‘currency danger’ and consequently all transactions are simpler and easier. Interest rate cohesion is achieved within the Eurozone.
The country’s creditworthiness is enforced, as all major analysts had assessed. This development, the impact of which is reasonably expected to be maintained by the country’s private sector, mainly the banks, will lead to the improvement of borrowing terms on behalf of both local and foreign sources. Foreign investment is encouraged. The accessibility of Cypriot businesses to the big European capital markets is enhanced. The strategic goal of Cyprus’ further evolution as a regional centre for business activities is promoted by attracting European entrepreneurs who wish to trade with neighboring countries. All the above-mentioned are certainly inseparable from the substantial improvement of the complete macroeconomic framework and the establishment of general economic stability. This development was, firstly, a basic term for Cyprus’ transition to the Eurozone and, secondly, it paves the way for maximizing the potential of the country’s business community. Businesses are called to adapt rapidly to this new macroeconomic environment, which will acquire a more homogeneous European profile, since community laws and institu-
tional reforms progressively abolish all translational differences and strictly national policies. There is no doubt that during the preparation period both the public and the private sector worked hard for the best possible transition to the new system. This coordinated effort bore fruit from the very first weeks that followed the introduction of the single European currency and the flattering comments of the Community officials, according to which the participation of the businesses and the general public in the demonetization process was assessed, were certainly not made without good reason. During the preparation phase, any observer of good faith would admit without hesitation that there had been efficiency and sufficiency of resources. This sufficiency was fully verified by the harmonious adaptation of the euro in the first few weeks of January. Nevertheless, the challenges implied by the arrival of the euro are not limited to mere procedural issues. After its integration to the Eurozone, the little Cypriot economy and most importantly its private sector, whose contribution to the achievement of the so called ‘economic miracle’ of the tragic post-invasion years was enormous, is entering in a long and tough examination period. We, the Cypriot citizens and merchants, have won the first bet, which con-
cerned the smooth withdrawal of the Cypriot pound and the adaptation of the euro in our everyday transactions, and are moving on to make the best use of the opportunities offered by our entrance in the Eurozone. I, personally, have no doubt that Cypriot businessmen are in a position to respond successfully to this huge challenge. In any case, there is no place for a return to the past. In the era of globalization and international competition, each Cypriot business is forced to run, maximizing the utility of the comparative advantages of the island’s fully trained human resources and of their high technological skills, in order to adapt to the demands of the unified European market. My strongest belief is that the Cypriot banking institutions, which have shown remarkable tendencies of extroversion during the past years and have proved that they are able to deal with the increasing competitive pressures of the big European market, are in position to face the new reality effectively and sufficiently. The arrival of the euro in Cyprus signals the beginning of adulthood for the Cypriot economy and the opening of a new, important phase in its developmental course.
The significance of this event is immense for both Cyprus and Greece since the bonds connecting the two countries are tightened even further under the umbrella of a single currency. In the case of the banking system, the new legislative regulations as well as the suggested modifications of the structures in the payments system constitute the foundations of a truly unified, single market of financial services for Europe. The EU, by launching initiatives such as the Single European Payment Area (SEPA), has already started to move towards the desirable direction of the full abolition of national frontiers and the creation of a truly single financial services market. Respective changes at the level of corporate governance and effective risk management also lead towards the formation of a truly unified banking services market. Again, as far as the banks are concerned, responding promptly and systematically to the growing challenges that the dynamic unification of the European financial services poses in front of them, depends mainly on these same banks. Within this rapidly changing environment, the Cypriot banking institutions have
no other choice but to intensify their internationalization efforts by expanding their activities in new markets. This same internationalization is also the reason for the increasing competition that the Cypriot banks have to face in their own ‘court’, the country’s market. Various banking groups have already appeared in the Cypriot market in recent years and many other well known names will surely try to have a remarkable presence. The Bank of Cyprus, which, for decades, has been decisively following a markedly extrovert course in correspondence with the markets of Greece, the Balkans and Southeast Europe, is fully prepared to deal with the introduction of the euro as well as with all the new challenges posed by the single market and globalization. Our human resources and their commitment to the bank’s cause can guarantee that we are going to make the best possible use of our country’s integration to the Eurozone, serving the interests of our shareholders, our staff and our customers.
Andreas Eliades is group chief executive officer, Bank of Cyprus Group
Euro brings CHANGES
and expectations to Malta By Richard Vella Laurenti
Malta joined the euro zone on January 1st this year. This milestone for Malta came after intensive and systematic preparations that were put in place under the able guidance of the National Euro Changeover Committee. Malta had wanted to make the transition from the Maltese lira to the euro as smooth as possible and without any hitches. I must say with pride that it succeeded. In fact, the Committee in charge of the changeover did a very good job. A number of measures were taken, such as the early dual display of prices, the FAIR scheme for retailers and the price stability agreement with importers. Businesses and retailers participating in FAIR have demonstrated their commitment to ensure transparency and fairness in pricing their goods and services during this historic currency change. Moreover, in order to avoid and combat abuse, Malta has established a strong legal framework. The
Maltese media had a role to play by broadcasting regular programmes and interviews with experts in the field. So successful was the changeover that the latest monitoring report of the European Union stated that 'the euro has been introduced quickly but smoothly into the daily life of the Cypriot and Maltese populations and the former currencies have now nearly vanished from wallets'. In order to be eligible for the new currency, Malta has had to put its finances on track and had to ensure that they would remain so. Our deficit was reduced from 10% in 2004 to 1.6% of GDP in 2007 and the public debt reduced to 63% from 76% of GDP. More importantly, Malta has managed to do so while still experiencing improving economic conditions and higher GDP growth rates, which in 2007, were of about 4%. The introduction of the Euro in Malta brought with it a number of expectations, foremost of which was price stability and the benefits of a stable and credible currency. It comes as no surprise that consumers are today being encouraged to remain vigilant against abuses of unfair pric-
ing. The Maltese are also aware that with the adoption of the euro, the Central Bank of Malta has relinquished its power to the European Central Bank in respect of interest and exchange rates. It is the European Central Bank that exercises its mandate in this field and thus Maltese consumers can enjoy all the benefits of a stable and credible currency. Also, travel within the EU is facilitated by the new currency since we do not have to exchange money and we will not be burdened with foreign exchange costs. Aside from this, once in another euro area country, it will be much easier for us to compare prices since items are priced in the same currency. On an international level, the euro stimulates intra-European trade and reduces operating costs which in turn would lead to cheaper prices of goods imported from the euro zone. Now that we have adopted the euro, the Maltese exporters
have less currency risk and, at the same time, consumers would enjoy more competitive economies. Most importantly, Malta now enjoys a stable currency environment that will lead to a much sought after investment. This should in turn provide more employment and increase competition with a direct benefit to the consumer. However, the most important aim of the European Central Bank, responsible for the monetary policy of the euro zone, is to keep price stability – that is a low level of inflation. Malta, together with other member governments, is obliged to keep budget deficit and public debts in check. This ensures sound public finances. The adoption of the euro is in many ways a lease of life to the business community as it makes trade and commerce cheaper and easier. In the case of Malta, the benefits of the euro currency are more significant for the Maltese business community particularly because Malta – being a small island in the Mediterranean – depends on imports and exports. Before the introduction of the euro, trade transactions entailed currency exchange risks and related costs which have now disappeared. The euro, which is the second strongest currency in the world, will also
boost and enhance the credibility of Maltese businesses when dealing with their foreign counterparts, in Europe as well as outside our continent. Since Maltese businessmen have prepared themselves well for the changeover they are already tapping the benefits of the euro. EU Commission President José Manuel Barroso, in Malta recently for the euro celebrations, heaped praise on my country for
having moved so swiftly to the heart of European integration, just three-and-ahalf years after EU membership. Barroso said that since joining the EU, Malta had made great strides forward economically and, with membership of the Schengen area and the euro zone, it was now at the heart of European integration and is making an active contribution towards the European project. Richard Vella Laurenti is the Ambassador of Malta in Greece.
New currency, new thinking By Andreas Theophanous
Cyprusâ€™ adoption of the euro and accession to the EMU as of January 1st this year is without doubt the most important achievement of the Republic of Cyprus since its accession to the EU four years ago. It is a development that is expected to have far reaching economic, social and political repercussions. The process of transition to the euro has been smooth without posing any significant obstacles. The government patiently and consistently pursued a prudent fiscal policy without upsetting social fundamentals and parameters. This policy, in conjunction with satisfactory GDP growth rates, paved the way for nominal convergence with the Maastricht criteria; the fiscal deficit, the public debt and all relevant criteria were brought to levels consistent with nominal convergence. Although this was important, much remains to be done for real convergence in the years ahead. Before accession to the eurozone, price increases had been recorded on most consumer items. This was hardly a surprise since it has been experienced in other coun-
tries as well. Increases in the price of crude oil and of other important inputs which coincided with the adoption of the euro sustained an upward pressure on prices. However, with the imminent introduction of the euro, the government had put in place a monitoring mechanism to prevent undue price increases and so far excesses were contained. In any case, in the long run, the adoption of the euro will further enhance competition. Within this framework consumers will be able to compare prices and excessive mark-ups will be contained. Perhaps more importantly, participation in the eurozone will enable Cyprus to embark on a process of necessary reforms. The objective will be to achieve real convergence and also contain the public and broad public sector. In the new era, public expenditure will require stricter evaluation and taxpayersâ€™ money will need to be utilized more efficiently. This will be in line with the need for sustained restraint in relation to public spending. At the same time, Cyprus must attract additional foreign investment which will be
useful in the process of broadening its economic base. A fundamental objective is to turn Cyprus into a regional business, academic and medical center. Accession to the eurozone will contribute toward this direction since it will prompt additional reforms and changes in these and closely related sectors. The financial sector will continue to go through a process of further modernization while more flexibility will eventually prevail in the labour market. For any member state the adoption of the euro is an important milestone. In the case of Cyprus it has an additional importance: as the country tries to achieve real convergence with the EU in all aspects, it will also have to rise to the challenge of re-
unification.1 If one considers the record of bicommunal negotiations in relation to monetary matters they will find out that over time the Turkish-Cypriot side had repeatedly insisted on the need for the establishment of separate Central Banks and on a new neutral currency for the federal state. With the accession of Cyprus to the eurozone, these issues are redefined. And as of January 1, 2008 the national currency is the euro and monetary policy is the sole responsibility of 1. For interesting reading see A. Theophanous and Y. Tirkides (Eds), Accession to The Eurozone and the Reunification of the Cyprus Economy, (Intercollege Press, Nicosia 2006).
the European Central Bank. Indeed, the euro has the potential to prove, and the capability to be, in addition to a strong currency, a unifying tool, economically, socially and politically. The introduction of the euro inevitably calls for a more unified political and economic structure in Cyprus, in case of a solution. This has clear implications: if a unified Cyprus is to meet its obligations as a member of the EMU it must follow uniform and consistent economic policies. This requires coordination and cooperation. Obligations aside, one should also consider the rising aspirations of young Cypriots on both sides of the UN buffer zone. Obviously a dynamic and integrated economy is needed for more jobs and opportunities to be created. Crucially, accession to the eurozone has also eliminated the fear of the exchange rate risk. It had been thought that the increase of public spending associated with reunification could have placed the Cyprus pound under pressure. This risk no longer exists. All these issues must receive their fair share of attention from the political and business leaders of both communities in Cyprus. Obviously, the euro can prove to be the catalyst for new thinking in relation to the reunification of Cyprus. Andreas Theophanous is Professor of Political Economy at the University of Nicosia and Director of the Cyprus Center for European and International Affairs.
A new chapter in Euro history
Joining the Euro has placed Cyprus at the economic and political heart of Europe less than four years after joining the European Union. The adoption of the Euro is a historic step crowning years of hard work, a firm commitment to sound economic policies and bold reform. It is also an important step for Europe. Together with Malta's accession and that of Slovenia last year, it shows that the Euro is truly the currency of the majority of countries in the European Union. At a stroke, the Euro eliminated entirely any exchange rate costs and risks in the Euro area, crowning the biggest single market in the world. No-one should underestimate the advantages of this for both consumers and businesses. The Euro encourages cross-border trade and investment inside the Euro area. It is a strong and solid currency more than a fifth of the world's official currency reserves are in euros. It is a cushion against global economic shocks like the steep rise in oil prices or foreign monetary crises. This is an especially important advantage in a small, successful and open economy like Cyprus's. The Euro also brings significant and concrete advantages to Cypriot citizens. It has delivered low and stable inflation, which is a pre-condition for sustained and job-creating growth. In the early 1990s, some Euro area countries were still suffering from double-digit inflation.
By Klimentini Diakomanoli-Papadaki
Cyprus was burdened by a yo-yoing inflation rate throughout the 1980s and 1990s. Thanks to the credible and effective policy carried out by the European central bank, those levels of inflation no longer exist, despite justified current concerns over rising oil and commodity prices. This has direct consequences. For example, all those who want to buy a house will appreciate the fact that borrowing is now so cheap. For consumers, the Euro has also increased price transparency, which means lower prices, and has made travelling within the Euro area much easier. This advantage is slowly extending to the whole world: it is now as simple and convenient to travel around the world with euros in your pocket as it is with US dollars. But joining the Euro is just the start of the process for Cyprus, not the end. Being a member of the Euro area is a responsibility. It requires the right ongoing economic policies, including a sound budgetary policy. As the Commission recommended in its Strategic report for the Spring European Council, Cyprus,
despite its strong performance, needs to implement further reforms with a view to improving fiscal sustainability. It should also boost lifelong learning and increase training and labor market opportunities for young people, so that all Cypriots can play a full role in Europe's knowledge economy of the future. It is also important that everyone in Cyprus remains vigilant on unwarranted price increases linked to the changeover to the Euro. Consumers must get their full share of the benefits the Euro brings - they must not be hit in the pocket. By joining the Euro, Cyprus has said yes to stability, yes to growth and yes to hassle-free trade and travel for its businesses and citizens. Thanks to intensive and systematic preparations and to the active and enthusiastic participation of citizens, the Euro has been introduced quickly but smoothly into the daily life of the Cypriot population. The entry of the island opens a new chapter in the short but already rich history of the Euro area. The European Commission trusts that the Cypriot authorities will now remain committed to implementing the same sound policies which were needed to join the Euro and are needed to reap its full benefits.
Klimentini Diakomanoli-Papadaki is the Acting Head of European Commission Representation in Cyprus.
A useful business tool As one of the arms of the Ministry of Investment, GAFI is the investor's partner in Egypt. It is the sole governmental authority concerned with facilitating investment procedures, assisting investors, and promoting Egypt’s potential sectors abroad. Since its establishment in 1971, GAFI has maintained its leading role in servicing the business community in Egypt, and is broadening its scope to positively influence direct foreign investment in Egypt. The Mission: GAFI, the body under the Ministry of Investment responsible for investment procedures and assisting investors in Egypt, has a new management philosophy with a clear mission: to become the facilitator, service provider and promoter to attract investments, achieving this through capitalizing on the expertise of a group of well-trained, highly motivated professionals. Our strategic aims include: Broadening GAFI’s role from a regulatory body into a proactive investment promotion agency. Building and projecting a positive image reflecting the country’s strategic directions and GAFI’s new directions. Developing and enhancing an interactive working relationship with different bodies affecting the investment climate in Egypt Developing people’s skills as being the main asset behind success Decentralizing authority and empower people for prompt and timely decision making Commiting to full transparency in our policies and procedures
By Mrs. Hazem El Wissimy
Incorporating an after care mechanism that develops ‘servicing investors’ culture A New Philosophy During its scope widening process, GAFI has undertaken the following series of steps. First: GAFI adopted the One-StopShop (OSS) mechanism that was inaugurated in April 2005; the OSS mechanism allows GAFI to be the investor business partner through the following services: GAFI assists investors in a variety of ways and acts on behalf of investors with regards to governmental agencies. All licenses required for the establishment and operations of a project are procured by GAFI on behalf of the investors within 72 hours. GAFI assists investors in site selection and land acquisition, whether for agricultural, industrial or tourist activities. GAFI certifies the production start dates. Simplification and shortening of internal procedures – an ongoing dynamic process. The One-Stop-Shop has been established in GAFI's headquarters in Cairo and will be applied in Assiut, Ismailia, and Alexandria with the aim of facilitating the process of dealing with bureaucratic obstacles facing investors. Second: Cooperating with internation-
al organizations in restructuring GAFI to transform it into an investment promotion agency. Each organization is involved in one of the promotional activities that fully integrate with the others to assure a suitable proactive strategy. Third: Restructuring GAFI’s promotion department to carry out its investment promotion role, through focusing on: Research and market intelligence that provides sectoral / sub sectoral analysis, potential opportunities, targeted investors, and targeting messages. Promotion and Facilitation After care to benefit existing investors. Privatization The Ministry of Investment has adopted an asset management approach to privatization whereby all state-owned assets are treated as one pool that is managed to maximize returns.
Mrs. Hazem El Wissimy is Head of Promotion Department, GAFI.
Linking History to Future Our history derives from the greatest memories of long treasured historical ties between two great civilizations: Egypt and Greece. Our future lies in the acquisition of the Egyptian Commercial Bank (ECB) by Piraeus Bank Group. This acquisition was considered to be one of the most successful results of the banking sector reform which began three years ago and led to clear improvements in the performance of Egypt's banking sector. Piraeus Bank Group is one of the most dynamic and active financial institutions in Greece with total assets exceeding 37 billion euros and a total market share exceeding 11%. The entrance of Piraeus Bank to the promising Egyptian market marks the achievement of a remarkable step of Piraeus expansion plan, which includes the development of the international activities of the group in growing markets in the Southern Mediterranean Basin. The acquisition is expected to expand dynamically to enhance business cooperation using the geo-strategic and economic comparative advantages between Egypt and Greece: Greece could serve as a gateway for Egypt to Eastern European and Black Sea Markets, while Egypt could serve accordingly for Greek business, which are already expanding in the Balkans and Eastern Europe, as a gateway to the Middle East and African markets. Piraeus Bank Egypt (PBE) was founded under the name of Alexandria Kuwait Int. Bank in 1978. In 1997, its name was changed to Egyptian Commercial Bank
By Gamal Moharam
(ECB). In 2005, Piraeus Bank acquired 79 % of the shares of EGB and the name of the Bank was subsequently changed to Piraeus Bank Egypt. Recently, Piraeus Bank Group acquired more shares in PB Egypt, and now 95.35% of the shares are owned by Piraeus Bank Group and 4.65% are owned by other shareholders. Piraeus Bank Egypt is a commercial bank with activities in Corporate, Personal and Private Banking. The bank is growing rapidly: In December 2006 its total assets reached EGP 5.6 billion compared to EGP 4.4 billion in the previous year, representing a growth of 26%. In June 2007 its assets reached EGP 8 billion representing a growth of 43%. The loan Portfolio reached EGP 3.4 billion at the end of December 2006 compared to EGP 2.2 billion at the end of December 2005 representing a growth of 56% in well diversified economic sectors. In June 2007, the loan Portfolio reached EGP 4.2 billion representing a growth of 24 %.Customers deposits reached EGP 4.4 billion compared to EGP 3.5 billion year earlier representing a growth of 26%. By end of June 2007 customers deposits reached 6.3 billion representing a growth of 43%. The branch network has grown significantly and consists of 42 branches, with a target of establishing 15 more branches by the end of 2007
and a total of 75 by the end of 2009. The scheduled increase in the branch network is part of a wider strategy to significantly develop the retail business, led by the introduction of mortgage loans (in the light of recently announced mortgage repossession laws). Additionally, the Bank plans to enter the Islamic banking market in the future. PB Egypt strategy aims at maximizing shareholder's value, enhancing profitability and optimizing capital, and realizing acceptable market share with a strong presence in local markets to serve customer needs, improving service quality and customer satisfaction, creating innovative products, further enhancing the bank's position in retail banking and small and medium-sized enterprises financing, strengthening its presence in the areas of investment banking and banc-assurance. Bank strategy and targets are taking into consideration major risks inherent in banking activities. In short, the main strategic targets of Piraeus Bank Egypt are: to enhance its market share; to improve service quality and customer satisfaction; to create innovative products; to further enhance the Group's position in retail banking and small and medi-
um-sized enterprises financing; to strengthen the Group in the areas of asset management and banc-assurance ; to emerge as a responsive personalized bank with a strong identity able to provide customer with a range of distinctive products. What about PB Egypt activities ? Piraeus Bank Egypt offers corporate and retail banking products, together with treasury and investment services. Banc-assurance products are offered in conjunction with American Life Insurance Co. and private banking services are provided to highnet-worth individuals. Piraeus Bank Egypt's organizational structure comprises of four main business sectors responsible for the needs of the respective market segments wherein the bank is active. These sectors are: Corporate Finance, Credit , Operations and Treasury and Financial Markets.
The significant goals achieved during 2006 and 2007 included the acquisition of an asset management company, the establishment of a leasing company as well as an investment company working mainly in venture capital activities. These acquisitions and new companies were considered desirable to improve the bank's market share, increase the efficiency of its operation and , last but not least , to fulfill the added commitment of serving the national economy and assisting with its development. The code of values that support the course and development of Piraeus Bank Egypt, in cooperation with Piraeus Bank Group is as follows: to constantly create and develop strong relations with their clients on mutual profit basis to eagerly work on offering top quality service
to constantly participate in increasing the bank's revenues and profitability while focusing on achieving our social goals to highly ensure following the financial safety procedures to guarantee the protection of the bank against any risks through monitoring and following the legislations and procedures in order to secure the safe continuation of transactions to be strategically updated with arising promising investment opportunities in the market to invest in people and society as a whole, not only our employees.
Gamal Moharam is the Chairman & CEO of Piraeus Bank Egypt.
The Ideology of European Interculturalism? By Fabrizio Lobasso
The progression from the Treaties of Rome in 1957 until today shows an evolution of the Community outlook that we might summarize in this way. From the original approach to values recognized as diversity and the many linguistic and cultural expressions of the members, during the 1990s the institutional impetus began to reinforce governmental interaction in order to explore all the implications of a ‘European dimension’ in this sector, based on mutual enrichment. Since 2000, this tension has become consolidated. Until the most recent attempts made by the Community, institutions seemed oriented towards freeing the intercultural issue in all those sectors to which it is tied with a secondary or, at best, gregarious role. For fifty years, a fundamental role in creating a Community conscience from this point of view has been played by the Council of Europe, which has been committed to promoting the benefits of linguistic differences and a common European membership. It was the European Council that made the first major contribution in 1975 with the publication of a Threshold Level for the English language, the first in a long series that will include all the languages of the new members; the Threshold Levels are a sort of specification of instruments for communication skills for the benefit of those who or-
ganize curricula, courses and especially teaching aids to facilitate the independent use of a foreign language. At a communitarian level, with the Maastricht Treaty of 1992 amending the Treaty establishing the European Economic Community, there was a clearer desire to stimulate a process of exchange between the members, enriched by a sharing of experience intended to create a European area, no longer limited to the mere economic and trading dimension. Apart from the new article. 149 which encourages the development of a ‘European dimension of the education ...’, art. 151 created a specific Community competence over the ‘Culture’ sector, autonomous of the other Community competences and, in this contest, gave the Community the task of ‘contributing to the full development of the members’ cultures in the full respect of their national and regional differences, highlighting, in the meantime, the common cultural heritage’. During the 1990s, the European Commission gave another important contribution with the publication of two papers , The White Paper (1995) and The Green Paper (1996) in which new key elements for understanding the perspectives that lead to more intensive intercultural dialogue can be found, specifically on the development of
knowledge, lifelong learning and growth of the ‘market of ideas’. From 2000 onwards, language teaching and education benefited from more effective action on the part of the Council of the European Union. Governments adopted a new, more open and rigorous method of coordination, aimed at achieving strategic objectives for the next decade, such as sustainable growth, economic reforms, combating unemployment and creating social cohesion in a knowledge-based economic context, in which people are the most important resources. The 2000 Lisbon European Council did not place any new stress on the intercultural issue, and yet clearly reaffirmed the need ‘to offer learning and training opportunities tailored to target groups at different stages of ther lives’. In the same way, the Final Declaration of the Laeken Council in 2001 seemed to touch on the subject by speaking of a sort of ‘Europe at a crossroad’ , facing ‘antagonist forces’ and taking on a more central role on the international stage by quickening the pace towards a process of closer integration.
No less important was the 2002 Barcelona Council, one of the purposes of which was to check the attainment of the objectives laid down in Lisbon. Important elements included the invitation to undertake further actions in order to promoting the ‘European dimension and its integration on the basic competence of scholars …’. The European dimension then proceeded on other parallel fronts. 2001 was declared ‘The European Year of Languages’ by the European Union, with the participation of 45 countries and a series of programs aimed at promoting up to 65 different languages involving a wide (and new) range of players and executives bodies at the national level. The European Year of Languages ended with another fundamental Council of Europe contribution: the European Common Frame of reference for languages and of the European Linguistic Portfolio in which the linguistic and educational policy of the European Commission is more integrated and connected to the citizen’s needs. The EU natural answer to the ‘Frame’ was the Commission’s Action Plan 20042007, in July 2003. This deals with how to extend all the advantages of learning to the largest number of people throughout their entire lives. It contains a series of operational indications to reinforce an enabling environment for linguistic exchange, paying closer attention to cultural exchanges and mutual knowledge, as preconditions for an efficient linguistic interchange. Finally, let us cite the ‘Strategic Frame for Multilingualism’, a recommendation
from the European Commission of November 2005. As the first official document dedicated to a strategy regarding multilingualism, the Strategic Frame not only lays down principles but also shows that the Commission intends to take on greater responsibilities without delegating them to the member countries. As a first analysis, we can say with a certain degree of confidence that the Community forays into the dimension of intercultural dialogue (and communication) – as an independent discipline on which to build models of competence and development – have grown across time, even if the results are still modest. Nevertheless, recent signs bode well for the future. The European Community institutions are now asking not only what Europe can do for culture, but also what culture can do for Europe. In the same way, the question of intercultural dialogue is beginning to take on more tangible meanings and greater autonomy. Among a greater number of initiatives, we underline the following: In December 2006, the European Parliament and the European Union Council declared 2008 ‘Intercultural Dialogue Year’. In the Community Ruling we find the confirmation of the intention to deal with the
subject in a more specific way ‘exploring new approaches ... implying the cooperation of a wide variety of participants from different sectors’. We would also cite the Culture 20072013 program, launched in 2006 by both the Parliament and the European Union Council: a multi-year activity open to all categories of cultural operators, in which two objectives are clearly set, ‘the valorization of a shared cultural area’ and the need for ‘facilitating intercultural dialogue’. In May 2007, the Commission issued the Communication on the European Agenda for Culture in a global world. Among all issues, intercultural dialogue is seen as ‘one of the most important instruments for peace and conflict prevention’; moreover the Communication devoted a special paragraph to ‘promote and reinforce the intercultural competences ... developing cultural consciousness and expression ...’ In conclusion, the Commission decided to name 2009 European Year for creativity and innovation to promote ‘creativity, innovation and intercultural competences’. We are therefore delighted to see this latter concept gradually gaining its own dimension that in the future might be more structured than to the ‘best practices’ mentioned there. These activities would, as we have already said, indicate a Community trend towards treating Intercultural Dialogue as an independent matter on which to try out more concrete approaches where individuals regain their central role in order to create an authentic multicultural personality. Fabrizio Lobasso is a diplomat and former Consul of Italy in Athens
Part of Europe's
genetic code By Margaritis Schinas
The European Union today is a community of values, cultures and people living together in harmony as was never possible before. The founding father of the European project, Jean Monnet, placed people and cultures in the core of his thinking. He has been quoted with the statement â€˜Nous ne coalisons pas des Etats, nous unissons des hommes' (We do not unite states, but people). European integration indeed, is based on an open dialogue between people and cultures, and goes far beyond being simply an alliance of states. Nowadays, Europe unites twenty seven member states with different cultural and religious traditions. Diversity is part of Europe's genetic code, since the continent was never a uniform entity. For the last fifty years, Europeans have been writing a new chapter in their history. Diversity serves as a basis for cooperation, development and prosperity, while the notion of mutual respect has become one of the guiding principles of Europe. A true sense of belonging to a common space can only be acquired by embracing differences and shaping the various aspects of belonging to a community.
This is where intercultural dialogue can play a crucial role. The Treaty establishing the European Community gives it the task of contributing to the flowering of the cultures of member states, highlighting their common cultural heritage. The combined effect of the successive enlargements of the EU, increased mobility resulting from the single market, old and new migratory flows, more significant exchanges with the rest of the world through trade, education, leisure and globalization constitute the main factors leading to increasing interactions between the various cultures, languages, ethnic groups and religions in Europe and beyond. In this framework, the development of intercultur-
al attitudes by the citizens and the promotion of intercultural dialogue are fundamental. Intercultural dialogue promotes cultural diversity in Europe, improves coexistence and encourages an active European citizenship, which is open to the world. At the same time EU's commitment to solidarity, social justice, the development of a social market economy, cooperation and greater cohesion are also promoted, as key European values in a globalized world. As to the international level, intercultural dialogue enables the EU to forge close partnerships with countries in its neighbourhood, extending a zone of stability, democracy and prosperity beyond the EU. Culture can play a key role in the EU's external relations as a means of enhancing international cooperation and developing closer ties with countries of the wider region, such as the Balkan states, the Middle East and Northern Africa. Such a cultural rapprochement between the EU and its neighbors leads definitely to a win-win situation with
clear benefits to all. We have to use all tools at our disposal to create a peaceful, multicultural Europe. This is a unique opportunity not to be missed. Intercultural dialogue has always been an important dimension in many Community policies and instruments such as in the fields of the structural funds, education, youth, research, culture, employment and social affairs. However it appears necessary to respond to the need for a deeper and more structured dialogue between cultures, if it is for the awareness of the public authorities and the civil society to be risen, inside and outside the EU. The year of 2008 has been declared the year of Intercultural Dialogue (EYID) by the European Parliament and the Council, containing a key message: Europe's great cultural diversity represents a unique advantage. The overall objectives of the Intercultural Dialogue Year are firstly, to promote intercultural dialogue as a process in which all those living in the EU can improve their ability to deal with a more open, complex, cultural environment, secondly, to highlight intercultural dialogue as an opportunity to contribute to and benefit from a diverse and dynamic society, thirdly, to contribute to the development of an active European citizenship which respects diversity whilst reflect-
ing core European values and fourthly, to stress the contribution of different cultures to the heritage and ways of life of the Member States. During the EYID numerous initiatives will be organised on a European scale, as well as at national, regional and local level. The role of the civil society in this context will be of utmost importance and its active participation is necessary for the success of the initiative. Paulo Coelho, Charles Aznavour and Marija Serifovic were appointed among others, as the EU ambassadors of the EYID in order to lend their support and make the EYID a success. Citizens across the EU fully back this initiative, according to a recent Flash Eurobarometer survey on Intercultural Dialogue in Europe. They were asked to report their patterns of interaction with people of different cultural backgrounds and to inquire about their general attitude towards cultural diversity. The results of the survey are of a special interest as almost three-quarters of
EU citizens believe that people with a different background enrich the cultural life of their country and do bring benefits to everyday life. Furthermore, a remarkably high number (83%) of the citizens agreed on the benefits of intercultural contacts. Unquestionably, the dominant sentiment in the EU is that intercultural dialogue is indeed beneficial. We all have to unite our forces, whether we are part of the government, Parliament, public administration or civil society, to make the EYID a success. Europe is changing and is changing fast. Its 490 million citizens now represent a dynamic multicultural society capable of projecting core values whilst respecting diversity. This is an asset to use for projecting Europe in the globalised world, not a liability to conceal. We are many, different, but bonded by the hope for a common future. All different, all equal. Margaritis Schinas is an MEP, Member of the Group of the European People's Party (Christian Democtrats) and European Democrats, European Parliament. firstname.lastname@example.org
a tool of cultural awareness By Daniel Faas
2008 has been designated as the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue. A series of projects and debates is underway where people from diverse cultural and religious backgrounds can learn about, and meet, each other. Indeed, at a time of increasing societal heterogeneity characterised by globalisation, migration and European integration, one of the most pressing questions facing policy-makers and politicians is how to combine diversity with inclusion and cohesion. The field of education is seen as crucial for the promotion of cultural awareness and expression as a key competence for successful participation in our knowledge society. Policy-makers and politicians have long been promoting a European dimension in education. In 1988, a powerful resolution by the European Ministers of Education aimed at strengthening a sense of European identity and citizenship in young people. It was also intended to explain the values of European civilisation and of the foundations on which the European peoples intended to base their development. Three years later, the Council of Europe (an international organisation comprising 47 countries) hinted at the necessity of combining a European and intercultural dimension in education. It stated that schools should encourage awareness of Europe's geographical diversity, the political and social structures, as well as the multilingual nature and the cultural wealth this represents. In
2003, the European Ministers of Education, meeting within the Council of Europe, requested that new strategies are embraced which encourage countries in Europe to introduce the intercultural dimension in their policies, in order to enable consideration of dialogue between cultures. Despite these efforts to take intercultural dialogue into account in curriculum and policy development, there has been no EU institutional resolution advocating intercultural education. The 2008 European Year of Intercultural Dialogue has, in many ways, brought to the fore this dimension. In several European countries, 10% or more of the student population now has an immigrant background; and some countries are facing this phenomenon for the very first time. Dealing effectively with the increasing migration-related diversity in schools, and in society at large, thus presents challenges. There is growing concern that students with an immigrant background perform lower than their native peers. For example, results from the Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) surveys, show that, on average, fifteen-year-olds with a migrant background have an educational deficit of about one year of study compared with their native peers. It is thought that migrant students may be subject to less favorable treatment than the rest of the population and may suffer inequalities in access to, and benefits from, education. Against this backdrop, the European Commission Directorate-General for Education and Culture is currently drafting a Green Paper on the
links between migration and education. This unprecedented policy initiative, to be published in late spring this year, not only addresses the underperformance of many migrant students but also the early school drop-out rates of those from disadvantaged socio-economic backgrounds. Rather than a one-size-fits-all solution, nation-states should draw on this paper to review their own policies. In Greece, for instance, for a school to be classified as intercultural, at least 45% of its student population must be non-Greek, but not all schools which pass this threshold are classified as intercultural. In several countries, it is also common to refer to minority ethnic people as â€˜foreigners' or â€˜foreign citizens' rather than acknowledging their multidimensional identities as Greek Bulgarians, German Turks and so forth. Another problem is the gap between monocultural teaching staff and multicultural student bodies. In Germany, for instance, only 1% of teachers have a migrant background compared with over 18% of the total population. The quota policy in Spain (also known as â€˜busing' in oth-
er countries), whereby only a certain percentage of immigrant students are admitted to a school, may be seen as discriminating against those pupils over their native peers. These are just some of the practices likely to be counterproductive to fostering intercultural dialogue and integration. In contrast, there are, of course, also numerous examples of best practice. The â€˜1001 Actions' campaign by the Anna Lindh EuroMediterranean Foundation is just one example of the regional promotion of intercultural dialogue, knowledge and respect. There are also national projects in all 27 EU countries, several of which focus on the nexus between migration and education. The jury is still out on the longlasting impacts of these coordinated European and national efforts. However, it would already mark a big step forward if this year's project events and policy initiatives would address the absence of a common definition of what intercultural dialogue, or interculturalism, actually means. It is hardly surprising that, in a recent public opinion survey,
about a third of the EU population could not make sense of these terms. This is further complicated by the fact that some countries including the United Kingdom prefer to use the term multiculturalism. Arguably, the dialogue between the proponents of interculturalism and multiculturalism could be facilitated by clarifying what kind of â€˜culturalism' it is that we are talking about. Is it a pluralistic multiculturalism which celebrates diversity, or an inclusive multiculturalism which promotes both integration and diversity, and thus combines the two perspectives? Some of the latest research has revealed that â€˜cultural pluralism' approaches are associated with more rather than less ethnic tension within schools. In contrast, education and policy approaches that involve not only the promotion of cultural awareness and diversity but also integration via common language and
citizenship, contribute to social cohesion. Future EU enlargements ultimately also need to be seen in this framework. An ethnocentric view of Europe which undermines cultural and religious diversity would be an affront to all those, often young, citizens who believe that ethnic and religious diversity is an asset - indeed 72% according to a European public opinion poll. If the events in 2008 can contribute to the development of policies and education systems allowing for diversity whilst also promoting cohesion, then the European Year of Intercultural Dialogue will be a successful one.
Dr. Daniel Faas is Advisor to the European Commission, DG Education and Culture in the context of the Education and Training 2010 programme and Marie Curie Research Fellow at the Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy (ELIAMEP) email@example.com
Intercultural Dialogue in the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership By Stefanos Vallianatos
Almost six months before the 10th anniversary of the Barcelona Process, a new initiative of the Euro-Mediterranean Partnership was coming to life in Alexandria: the Euro-Mediterranean Anna Lindh Foundation for the Dialogue Between Cultures was officially inaugurated at the Bibliotheca Alexandrina on April 14, 2005. In contrast to the other institutions already at work, such as EuroMeSCo, the Euro-Med NonGovernmental Platform, the Euro-Med Youth Platform, or the Euro-Med Heritage program, this was initiated as an institutional tool of the Partnership, an independent body, specifically designed to address the whole framework of the third pillar of the Barcelona Process, i.e. the social, cultural and human dimension of the partnership. Hence, it is a ‘rapprochement between peoples, through a social, cultural and human partnership, which aims at encouraging understanding between cultures and exchanges between civil societies’. In that respect, the Foundation functions: through its own Board of Governors, where all the member states are represented and which is assisted by an Advisory Committee, enjoying its own budget (based on a threeyear period of funding), where 50% comes from the member states’ contributions and the rest from the European Commission, which is managed by the Executive Director – and his Secretary (the headquarters), which is based
in Alexandria – hence making it the only Euro-Med institution sitting at the other side of the Mediterranean, and which is working (and is expected to appoint a President soon), as a Network of Networks, that is through the National Networks that are set up in all the member states an vital tool to carry on the Foundation’s program and promote its aims by mobilising NGO’s and other civil society representatives (and their membership in the National networks). Rational and Strategy The decision to establish such an institution reflects, to a large extent, the scepticism about the degree of success (so far) of the Barcelona Process, and the realisation that in order for the other two tracks, especially political/security, to bear fruit, it would be essential to base the whole process on a more solid foundation, that is the social aspect – hence the understanding that culture and intercultural dialogue are essentially political. Ironically, the birth of the Anna Lindh Foundation preceded three (major or minor) crises which underline the importance of intercultural understanding and tolerance: the cartoon crisis in Denmark, the social disturbances in the French suburbs, and the Pope’s ill-fated quotation
about the nature of Islam. They also illustrated that such dialogue cannot be restricted between state entities, but has to be between societies at large, and within each society, especially in view of the growing multi-cultural nature of the primarily Western European ones. This is reflected in the Foundation’s approach and understanding of the notion of ‘culture’ that incorporates a wide range of themes which include almost all kind of intelligent, non-profit making, human expressions, and the function of the dialogue as a mechanism enhancing social coherence and integration of the different social groups. Hence, even though the National Networks are the avenue of NGO’s for ALF membership, this does not imply a dialogue between ‘National’ Cultures but in general of any cultural expression regardless of origin – although it does recognise the existence and operation of a dominant culture within that has to be taken into consideration. Yet, in contrast to the dominant postwar approach to intercultural dialogue, which stressed the similarities, ALF intends to highlight the diversity and the differences, in order to achieve tolerance and acceptance of the ‘other’. In order to achieve that, it encourages partnerships, co-organization of activities and projects
between as many partners as possible (with geographic dispersion as a priority), and cross-thematic programs. The tools and the challenges This is an initiative to be carried out by civil society rather than the states, where youth and immigrant communities are the prime target groups – as well as the educational process. Yet, state institutions are not excluded from any ALF initiatives; in fact, the Foundation looks for synergies and strategic partnerships, especially with the media, cultural operators, local authorities and other institutions. Hence, it supports projects and programs of other institutions that have such intercultural elements, like UNESCO’s educational programs. Its major funding tool is its annual Call for Proposals, open only to its own member organizations (that is more than 1,500), whereas it also runs directly a number of projects, like the Euro-Mediterranean Journalist Award, but also – realising the need to have an impact – an Annual Report on the result of intercultural dialogue. The challenge is to make a difference and to
indulge as many as possible. Yet, dialogue is only a tool, a modus operandi for managing diversity and for progress toward a common future in a shared area. The dialogue’s raison d’être is to ensure that social interaction and cooperation prevail, and it is manifested in ALF’s political message: fighting racism, xenophobia, and all forms of discrimination, challenging extremism from all sources and origins, rediscovering common roots and heritage, and develop the idea that we all share a common destiny, and promoting freedom of speech and the right to criticize, without underestimating the basic
principles of respect of the other’s beliefs and human rights. Three years later, this initiative bears some fruit as ALF’s program 1001 Actions for Dialogue, its contribution to the European (and Euro-Mediterranean) Year of Intercultural Dialogue, has been widely endorsed and more than 800 organizations have applied to participate. But mostly, governments and the Commission alike, seem to share the belief that it can play a serious role, a leading role in promoting intercultural dialogue, something that is going to be manifested during the Ministers of Culture’s Meeting to take place in Athens at the end of May.
Dr. Stefanos Vallianatos is the Head of the International Relations Department, Hellenic Foundation for Culture responsible for the Greek National Network of the Anna Lindh Foundation. Hellenic Foundation for Culture website: www.hfc.gr
Wrho aw e e 2008 was designated by the European Commision as the year for the Intercultural Dialogue, just as they had decided 2007 would be the year of Equal Opportunities. 'Dialogue between whom?' is a valid question that can be posed. Dialogue with some people from another civilization, who are far away and about whom we would like to know more? And who are we? Do we mean countries, social or religious groups, or us as a part of the European civilization? It is true that the concept of Intercultural Dialogue, has became very popular in recent years, especially after the conflicts that started in the domestic political scene of The Netherlands and France, between citizens of the countries - from different backgrounds and peaked with the fight for Mohammed's comics. After these events has come an initiative by different institutions to promote Dialogue between the different communities within European countries, and the dialogue in general between the civilizations. Non-governmental youth organizations took the lead and proposed many actions towards this development as well as the materialization of the project itself. The need for a platform for Dialogue and a process that will advocate the genuine, in depth exchange of values and points between different cultures is quite profound. In Greece this role was assigned to the Hellenic Youth Council, the platform of youth organizations. An organization com-
By Yannis Piliouris
posed of 47 member organizations, which a priori contains organizations with different backgrounds, such as the Greek Catholic Youth, Greek-Armenian Youth, and Greek Homosexual Community. Our bet was ambitious, but we were given support from the General Secretariat for Youth to build an awareness campaign and to promote tolerance, diversity, genuine youth participation and the respect of Human Rights. The approach was youth friendly, the message was spread through different alternative means and it was quite strong and laconic: 'Add color to your life. Make your life colorful.' Our approach to the Campaign has been holistic, and we worked towards fluidizing the positive outcome of the diverse comments we received (some extremely supportive but also many reactions and protests reached our mailbox) into measurable impact, publicity of the respective laws, raising the public debate about the added value of diverse and cohesive societies and about the role of active citizens. Our goal
was to raise public awareness and create the necessary link between the values and challenges inherent in a multicultural society and the intercultural dialogue. But 2008 is a crucial turn for Intercultural Dialogue and we have prepared an integrated Action Plan focusing on the needs of youth organizations and on taking the necessary steps to increase awareness of these issues among young people. For this year in particular, we have submitted an application to the 'Anna Lind Foundation' to organise a Peace Cruise along the East Mediterranean coast, completely convinced that the dividing lines between young people, are extremely few in comparison with the things that unite them. At the beginning of March, specially trained volunteers will tour the suburbs of Athens, organising workshops for the local population about diversity and the existence of different cultures and identities around us, using a pro-active approach and con-
fronting people's ideas and beliefs, encouraging them to re-consider some of them. Furthermore, a Training Session for Trainers, will be organised for the youth workers of NGOs, with special focus on skills such as boosting the dialogue within their organization and stimulating the cooperation with groups from diverse backgrounds by integrating them in their work. But our general approach to Intercultural Dialogue is not a passing interest. It has nothing to do with a special year, and we strongly believe it must be connected with values and continuous public dialogue and debate. We are fighting and lobbying for more non-formal education in all the fields of the educational process and we support a system that instils European values, the support of Human Rights and promotes by all means the genuine participation of young people. Youth organizations develop and use tools and methods from non-formal education which facilitate openess and dialogue, whose core elements are intercultural understanding and respect of others. What also needs to be stressed, is our strong belief that before yielding the floor to an honest dialogue, organizations must already have reached a substantial level of internal democracy. And this amounts to a collective decision-making process, integrated cultural diversity and mutual ex-
change of ideas, values, experiences and appreciation. We should never underestimate the importance of bequeathing these values to the young generation and giving them the opportunity to construct a truly participatory society, which respects Human Rights, integrates all the different cultures and works hand-in-hand towards the realization of the commonly decided aims. The Hellenic Youth Council, as the official representative of youth organizations in Greece, has a major responsibility for contributing to shaping opinions and developing social attitudes in the fight against discrimination and the promotion of diversity and sincere, in-depth intercultural dialogue. Our vision is to put on the map the crucial role of young people towards fighting all the discrimination and mistakes of yesterday and creating a safe environment, where different cultures interact constructively between each other. Yannis Piliouris is a Bureau Member of Hellenic Youth Council. He holds an MA in Comparative History from Utrecht University and he is currently working as a freelance trainer in the non-formal education sector. firstname.lastname@example.org
impressions By Gazmend Kapllani
The leading mobile operator in Albania
A Heretical Tale from Pristina Monday evening in Pristina. One day after the declaration of independence. Out in the street one can still hear firecrackers and cars hooting. I am sitting at the Steep Depo, a café in Pristina and a well-known hangout of the younger generation of the city. I am having a hot tea, trying to allay some-what the unbearable weariness. I had spent the whole day wandering between Pristina and Gracanica, talking with Albanians and Serbs. Mostly young people in their late twenties. I fell to contemplating all I had heard and seen all day long. The stories that had been related to me by both Albanians and Serbs were many and painful. I had met with fear, various mythologies, arrogance and the quite common type of Balkanian schizophrenia that states: ‘I hate the Serbs/the Albanians, but some of my friends are Serbs/Albanians.’ The wounds here are still raw. Not unbearable like those in Bosnia, but still quite heavy. Usually, each side only has eyes for its own pain. When you ask about the pain suffered by the other side, more often than not you meet with silence, or those who talk give you answers such as: ‘Our pain is more genuine and more justified.’ I think that, perhaps, time provides the best cure for cases like these. Time and economic growth. In Belgium the Flemish and the Walloons hate each other. The same goes and for the French and English-speaking inhabitants of Canada. However, the idea to grab their guns every now and then and annihilate each other does not cross their minds. Not because they are more ‘civilized’ than we, the
Balkan people are. Simply because they have more to lose… *** These days in Kosovo, I often found myself in an uncomfortable position because of my origins. When some of the Serbs I met heard where I come from they refused to talk to me. Or they reacted saying: ‘But you don’t look Albanian.’ A phrase to which I have been immune anyway, ever since I became an immigrant. Some of the Albanians I met, after hearing my views, reacted saying: ‘You don’t think like a genuine Albanian should.’ In these places people rely on absolute truths. And in case these truths occasionally do not agree with reality, then so much the worse for reality… *** I met Vegim Hashimi and Mirjana Radovanovic quite by chance. That evening, when I was sitting at the Steep Depo, scribbling all of the above in my notebook. Vegim is Albanian; Mirjana, a Serb. “I was born in 1981, the year Tito died,” says Mirjana. She was born in Zvetsan, a beautiful, small town in North Kosovo, near Mitrovica. ‘There were almost no Albanians in our town,’ she goes on. ‘I first saw Albanians on TV, in the early ’90s, when the riots started. I remember my mother saying all the time that the Albanians are violent and troublemakers.’ Vegim was born in Peja. ‘I grew up in troubled years, because, young as we were, we had to share the concerns of our elders,’ he says. ‘I realized that things were not going well in the early ’90s, when my parents were fired from their jobs.’ *** Vegim and Mirjana lived very differently through the year 1999. ‘I was then in my first year at university. I was study-
number of Vegim’s parents. And all of a sudden, Mirjana’s and Vegim’s parents, for all the chasm that separated them, came to an agree-ment. They agreed that this relationship was a very bad thing. Vegim says, ‘Then my father called me and said: “You have caused me irreparable em-barrassment with this affair of yours. Choose what you like: us or her,” he said.’…
ing Law, at Mitrovica University,’she says. ‘When the NATO bombings started, the University closed down and we went back to our homes. I couldn’t really understand what was happening. The TV and my mother were saying that we were fighting so that the Albanians would not chase us out of our homes.’ The same time that Mirjana was following the general upheaval by watching TV, Vegim was in Tirana as a refugee. ‘It was towards the end of March, when two Serb po-licemen came to our home,’ he says. ‘They told my father, “You have ten minutes to pack up your stuff and leave for Albania.” We were walking for four days, together with an endless caravan of people, also going on foot. For four endless days. All the way to the Albanian border… There we found a truck, that took us to Tirana.’ *** ‘We met after the war, in 2003. Just by chance,’ says Mirjana. ‘We met initially through internet, in MSN. I had finished my studies by then and I was working at a travel agency in northern Mitrovica. I knew from the start that Vegim was Albanian.’ In which language did you communicate, I ask them. In Serbian, they answer. ‘In virtual reality we knew
each other for months and finally we arranged to meet personally in Novi Sad, in Serbia,’ Vegim picks up the story. ‘I am a DJ and I go there every year in spring, to participate in the largest festival for young people that takes place in the Balkans. I liked her, she liked me. Simple stuff, nothing special,’ he concludes and laughs… *** Every Saturday, we arranged to meet on the Albanian side of Mitrovica,’ Mirjana continues with their story. ‘Vegim would come from Peja in his car and wait for me. At some point, my mother realized that I was seeing someone. I didn’t dare tell her the truth. I told her I had met a boy from Novi Sad.’ But then one of her girlfriends informed her mother. ‘Then all hell broke loose,’ she says. ‘She did everything in her power to nip the affair in the bud. She was acting up in such a way that one would have thought that I was not having an affair with a man but with a monster… She even persuaded my employer to fire me, so that I would be left without any money. Then she gave me an ultimatum: “Either you put a stop to this affair or leave this house”.’ One day, Mirjana’s mother managed to find the tele-phone
*** Then Vegim and Mirjana decided to leave their respective homes. ‘We decided to come to Pristina, in the hope of finding jobs here. I left my home with only 20 Euros in my pocket,’ says Vegim. ‘In the beginning we had a very rough time. We lived by borrowing money from friends,’ Mirjana picks up the story. ‘I had also to learn Albanian, in order to find a job. I am still learning. It is a very difficult language,’ she says, laughing out loud. Today Vegim works at a commercial TV station in Pristina. Mirjana works at the KFOR radio. She is director of the Serbian programme. The previous eve-ning, the young couple had also celebrated, together with their friends, and with plenty of booze. What are their dreams, I ask them. To buy an apartment, so that they will feel safe. And a car, so that they will be able to travel. ‘Which language your children will speak?’ ‘Naturally both languages,’ they answer… We part and I go up to my hotel room. The story of Mirjana and Vegim is a love story in the years of Balkanian misery. Their love is not of enough significance to bring a change in the relationship between Albanians and Serbs. And anyhow, their story will never make it into the official history books. Those record the battles, the threats, the absolute truths. This one is an ‘insignificant’ story, a heretical story. One of those that do not fit in the straightjacket of the absolute truth…
CULTURAL FUSION in the Balkans, again! 'The devil can just go to the hell, an angel can just go to the heaven; but a human being can go where he or she has chosen' (Kazantzakis). Do we have the ability to choose our actions in advance, as Kazantzakis mentioned in his book Christ Recrucified? It has two answers: both yes and no. We have a stock of knowledge which we know and we naturally assume attitudes. With this shared common sense and its daily reproduction, we have lost the sense of criticism. The question of existentialism comes with these critics. As Reich notes, ‘We all know now reality is the sharing world' In this culture section of The bridge, we have selected a set of new ideas from the young generation of the Balkan countries. The articles commonly show us the importance of questioning the ‘truths' taken for granted, the mistakes of the past, the unfounded biases and classifications as well as the discrimination and forgotten common past, which are all too familiar and dismissive concepts in this region. Jernej Verbic, a young journalist from Slovenia, writes about the cultural re-unification of Yugoslavia. He sees a light at the end of the tunnel which was closed by the fathers of the youth of the ex-Yugoslavian countries who still share the similar values and zest. It was not their decision. It was not their action. They don't have an intention of continuing the mistakes of the 1990s and
they are the ones trying to find a way to get out of this ‘hysteria' while following their hearts, which directs them into a common flavor of art. Davor Marko from Bosnia and Herzegovina questions the common prejudice among the Balkan people about the so called 'ancient crises' among them. He looks to the background of the 'false-conscience' of the conflicts from the religious perspective and tries to show how the religious references to the legitimization of the conflicts have no bases. Most of all, he argues the fragile and indefinite borderlines of one religion to the other one in Bosnia in order to show the incoherence of the arguments of the different religious and cultural differences. It is a necessary task to disprove the theories of a 'clash of civilizations' through the most specific case study of Bosnia. Alice Darzantas, on the other hand, makes an analysis of the common emotional and ideological scene of the movies of the directors from Balkan countries. She argues the common origin of the Balkan directors and tries to refer to them as a 'group of directors and movies' under the common name of the Balkans. She briefly analyzes the 'Balkan Cinema' while insisting on its familiar structure in comparison with other cinemas. Cristina Mosora writes about the Romanian mane music which she describes as 'an urban “dirty” popular music closely re-
Compiled by Ali Osman EgilmezI
lated to the Bulgarian chalga and the Serbian turbo folk and it is played exclusively at the moment by interpreters of Roma origin.' We can add to this Balkan list the Turkish arabesk – arabesque music as well. The commonality of these types of music is a representation of the ghetto culture of the poor neighborhoods of big cities in Balkan countries. It has immense popularity, appealing to a vast number of people due to the predominance of these poor masses in the region. The other common point of these musical styles is their alienation as they are regarded as as a 'backward' style of art by the elites of the art circles of the Balkan countries. Last but not least, Isin Turgut, the director of a documentary entitled 'Asia Minor Over Again' writes about their project. The documentary tells the story of a forgotten relationship between Greeks and Turks during World War II. The devastating effect of the war on the 'neighboring' coasts of the western shores of Turkey would unavoidably be shared by the people of this opposite coast. The story of misfortunate Greek immigrants escaping from German-occupied islands and finding themselves again in their old home, Asia Minor, is described in the words of the director before the documentary is broadcast.
Hellenic Republic Ministry of Foreign Affairs with the cooperation of UNEP MAP
Climate change & human security
Human Security Network Chairmanship of Greece May 2007-2008
Scientific Fact Climate change is one of the most pressing issues of our time, with widespread implications in the development context. Even if greenhouse gas emissions were stopped today, some level of climate change is inevitable. Our collective efforts to curb future emissions of greenhouse gases will start influencing the climate change after their hoped success.
Main Hypothesis Climate change can have severe effects on human security in both developed and developing countries. With respect to the latter, climate change might most gravely affect vulnerable groups of people, belonging to populations living already on the edge between poverty and extreme poverty or between hunger and famine.
One Main Priority To address the human security impact of climate change with special focus on vulnerable groups of people such as women, children and persons fleeing their homes in seriously affected regions of the developing world.
Three main objectives A) The compilation and subsequent presentation, in a concise manner, in cooperation with the Greek think tank ELIAMEP (Hellenic Foundation for European and Foreign Policy) of the existing studies on the impact of climate change on human security of vulnerable groups in regions that are to be primarily affected. B) The elaboration of three policy papers, one for each vulnerable group. These studies will be prepared in collaboration with prominent Greek (ELIAMEP) and International Research Centers. In particular, the policy paper on climate change impact on children will be implemented in collaboration with UNICEF, while the one on women will be prepared in collaboration with leading international NGO WEDO (Womenâ€™s Environment and Development Organization) and the one on persons fleeing their homes due to climate change in collaboration with the United Nations University. C) An overall policy paper on development cooperation and the impact of climate change on human security. This study will be elaborated in co-operation with the well known International Institute for Environment and Development with project manager the leading climate change expert Dr. Saleemul Huq.
Why Climate Change from its Human Security Aspect? Most policy analysts often focus on how to mitigate risk. Human security issues related to climate change have largely been framed in terms of conflict or cooperation rather than in terms of ‘whose security is at stake, and why?’ There is a considerable need for more research on the ways climate change might undermine human security because the level of understanding people’s vulnerability is still sufficiently uncertain as far as the designing of effective response strategies is concerned. The interplay between security and climate change is rather complex on all levels: global, national, local. It requires an understanding of the affected groups’ capacities to adapt to change, the limits of those capacities and the potential of violent outcomes should these capacities fail.
Why Women? Climate change will severely impact the lives of poor women who form the majority in the developing world and are the ones already suffering from access to basic goods and rights. Scarcity of food: In many poor countries it is often the case that women are forced to eat less and it is therefore anticipated that in cases of scarcity of resources or natural disasters caused by climate change it will be again women to be malnourished, something extremelydangerous, especially during pregnancy. Natural Disasters: Women are most vulnerable since they have to save both themselves and their children. In the aftermath of natural disasters or conflicts due to climate change: Women are exposed to increased risks, be it in refugee camps, or in their resettlement areas or even in countries where they seek asylum. Women and girls are especially vulnerable to exploitation, trafficking and other forms of gender-based violence.
Why Children? Children are physically more vulnerable than adults, to malnutrition disease and hardships, that can sometimes affect them throughout their adult life. The lives of up to tens of millions of children will be endangered by floods, drought and climate change related diseases over the next decades (malaria etc). Millions of children will be killed, forced to flee their homes and put at risk from hunger, disease and physical or sexual abuse. Children in developing countries, where there are few adequate warning systems or strategies to lower risk, will also be most affected by ‘slow-moving’ disasters including temperature extremes, desertification and extreme weather events.
Why Persons fleeing their homes? Impacts will be more significant in sectors of the population with high resource-dependency and in the environmentally and socially marginalized areas. Climate change may have a negative impact on the State’s ability to create opportunities and provide important freedoms for people, as well as its capacity to adapt and respond to climate change itself. Migration may be one response of people, although climate alone is unlikely to be the sole, or even the most important ‘push’ factor in migration decisions. Yet largescale movements of people may increase the risk of conflicts in host communities.
Why Developing and Least developed countries?
Developing and least developed countries are most vulnerable to the impacts of climate change because of their concentration in the tropics, their heavy dependence on agriculture and their limited capacity to deal with natural disasters. Climate change appears as a new challenge and a factor exacerbating existing problems such as pre-existing conflict, poverty and unequal access to resources, weak institutions, food insecurity and spreading of diseases. Least developed countries, despite having the least contribution to the greenhouse effect, will bear the immediate and heaviest burden.
Greece’s position with respect to climate change and development policy The floods in Europe earlier this year as well as the summer forest fires that raged across southern Europe and Greece in particular, demonstrated that the speed and the scale of climate change are such that can affect all regions and countries. One can easily imagine what will happen when more vulnerable countries are going to be hit by such phenomena, or other more slow moving disasters that will take place due to climate change in the next decades.
Adapting EU development policy to climate change Climate change is an undeniable reality. Whatever is done today on the front of mitigation, will not prevent most of its impacts in decades to come. This is why Greece sees climate change as an important dimension for development assistance and cooperation policy, particularly for the least developed countries. Greece also considers necessary that the commonly accepted definition of a country’s “fragile situation” should be widened and enriched with a clear reference to environmental insecurity. For all the above, there should be a serious turn in European development assistance in addressing climate change’s impact on vulnerable regions. Development assistance should be revisited accordingly especially with respect to the least developed countries. This turn should be based on an integrated approach on the issue of development, security and human security.
A European mechanism to address natural disasters Forest fires in southern Europe demonstrated also the need for closer, institutionalized and strengthened European policy for confronting natural disasters. Wildfires and floods have made it evident that climate change can put all countries’ infrastructures to an unprecedented test. Greece supports and is at the forefront for the establishment of a European mechanism able to respond to similar challenges in the near future.
Raising awareness, Elaborating Policies Athens, November 27th 2007 the Greek Chair will present the HSN priorities and work plan activities for the general public. A poster and children paintings’ exhibition on climate change, in cooperation with UNEP/MAP, will take place in parallel to this event. December 2007 & early 2008 Three international events aiming at raising awareness and facilitating the preparation of the relevant policy papers: -New York, December 2007, 12th, during the GA Special Session on Children December 11th & 12th) Event focusing on climate change and human security as far as children are concerned, in cooperation with UNICEF. -Geneva, February 2008 Event focusing on climate change and human security as far as persons fleeing their homes are concerned, in cooperation with IOM -Vienna, early spring 2008 Event focusing on climate change and human security as far as women are concerned. Athens, March 2008 Senior Official Meeting: for presenting progress reports on the scientific compilation and draft policy papers, reviewing progress, coordinating efforts and seeking possible synergies. Greece, May 2008 Annual Ministerial Meeting, organized as a Policy Forum, and back to back a major International Conference on human security and climate change, during which the final conference policy papers will be presented.
‘ Yugoslavia had to fall apart, so it could later, sometime in the future, unite again.’ I do not even remember, who exactly and on which occasion, during the bloodiest days back in 1990s, said those words. But they were brave (for that time especially). And they were visionary. A Common European future was already an option back then, but even now, a decade later; it is not yet a fact. Reunited Yugoslavia is. Culture has demolished the borders, even the recently set Schengen ones, and obviously does not care about the events of the last 20 years. Despite numerous unresolved political issues between ex-Yugoslavian republics, some of which even nowadays raise the blood pressure of their politicians through the roof, people have decided: Yugoslavia was much more than an artificial political project destined to fail. It created a unique cultural space, a community of people who can and are willing to speak the unified language of culture. Some may call it nostalgia, but even the young generations who do not have anything in common with the ‘ex-country’, share the pleasures of rich cultural experience from Ser-
By Jernej Verbic
bian, Montenegro, Bosnian, Croatian and Slovenian artists and authors. Slovenian youth in particular, recognized by local and also media from other former Yugoslav republics, represents the ‘new Yugoslav youth’. Some of them were born in the times when democratic changes began, some even later. But, contrary to expectations and predictions, culture from southern countries has a strong appeal to them. Counting down to the New Year on the streets of Sarajevo, Belgrade or some other city across ex-Yugoslavia and attending numerous international festivals are almost a must among the youth in Slovenia. Even the media report on mass migrations of youngsters from Slovenia to ex-Yugoslavian capitals every year around New Year. The story repeats in summer when the biggest festivals in the West Balkans – Exit and Guca – take place in Serbia. One globally urban, the other locally traditional – but both, in a way, Slovenian. Many sociologists in the area claim this to be a response to a more and more individualistic and profit-driven society. Others see the economic stimulation behind that – the industry of nostalgia. The first to make
their case is MTV Adria – a music channel which covers precisely the territory of ex-Yugoslavia. And there are more examples: multinational companies sponsoring big reunion tours of famous bands from the times of the ‘one big happy family’. Musicians, combining pop, rock and Balkan melodies… Films with stories about then and now, south and north, good and bad… Finally, one of the most successful musicians of the new generation, Macedonian singer Tose Proeski, who died aged 26 in a car accident last October, recorded songs in almost all the languages of ex-Yugoslavia. He topped the charts everywhere, which once more proved that for many, Yugoslavia was, first and foremost, a big and prosperous market. After Proeski’s death, people in Skopje declared him to be the biggest star in their history and the entire state was in mourning for three days. Because he was an amazing, gifted musician, great humanitarian, a hope for the entire nation, which is still on its way to the ‘better times’ … and, as they say, because he lived and worked, connecting nations that were separated by terror, wars and anger. If we check the alternative culture scene in the area, the picture is quite similar. Lowor no-budget (but in the first place nonprofitable) clubs and festivals, whether in
Serbia, Slovenia or any other ex-Yugoslavian country, self-appointed promoters of diversity and multiculturalism, are mostly working with ‘ex-brothers’. The alternative scene was the first to rebuild strong cultural bonds between the nations of ex-Yugoslavia; the bravest activists had already done that during war years, others followed some years later. Sociologists, psychologists, journalists from the area are not unanimous as to if, why and how the new Yugoslavia is built. But what they never fail to mention in their articles or speeches are young people, traveling from one republic to another, the rebirth of old Yugoslav iconography and newly formed meanings, rich cultural and educational interchanges. Slovenians especially, entering the European Union in 2004, gained new opportunities and links to the west as well as to the east. Those connections are, due to well developed bureaucracy and funding, sometimes even easier to establish than the ones with the former community. However, no result or success coming out of those connections is wrapped in such emotional reaction and superlatives as the successful common actions and initiatives, emerging from the united powers of ex-Yugoslavs. And where else except in ex-Yugoslavia can you, regardless of which year or country you were born in, hear people all over the place at any time and opportunity, sing the golden oldie: Ma bas je dobro, vidjeti te opet, staviti ruke na tvoja ramena. Kao nekad, poljubi me njezno, za ona, dobra, dobra, dobra stara vremena. – ‘It’s so very nice to see you again and to hold you. Kiss me gently, like you used to, for the sake of good, good, good old times. >
Jernej Verbic is a journalist from Slovenia, covering internal politics for the biggest commercial television in the country – POP TV. During his university years, he was an active member of the Forum for European Journalism Students, now he spends his free time helping several NGOs in Slovenia.
on Balkan Films By Alice Darzentas
They are silent, different from the Hollywood hot style that audiences so easily go for, they sometimes even go unnoticed, but these little treasures are worth a peek or two. Whereas for other films you declare that you are simply dying to see them and then forget about the whole plot after a few days, these films don't let you go without you having at least one image or message stuck in your head. Where to begin with the term Balkan Films? Which country to begin with? Each country has recent history to refer to and traditions to reveal. Many come to mind, along with bitter sweet moments involving love scenes or children speaking the truth so bluntly, you would think an adult is talking, time of war and poverty. Then the lovely music that simply takes you on a journey of beautiful scenery and, in most cases, pain and tears. When someone hears the term Balkan cinema most think of the films by Emir Kustourica, Theodoros Angelopoulos or Fatih Akin, but there are many more brilliant filmmakers such as Lukas Nola (Croatia), Sophia Zornitsa (Bulgaria), Goran Paskaljevic (Serbia), Dragan Kresoja (Serbia), and many many more. Just by mentioning the names above as well as where they come from, one can immediately see an important issue cropping up: Which countries are considered Balkan? - and the troubles during the Kosovo war, and Yugoslavia divided into smaller countries in the previous decade. Some say Turkey or Moldova are considered Balkan because of the common history-heritage with the Ottoman Empire. Then one can think of problems between Balkan countries such as Greece and FYROM. But let's not get into this. One has to take it in to account, that is true, for it is essential to feeling the films more. But, at least from my experience as a viewer of Balkan films, all the filmmakers of these countries have something in
common. And that is the devotion and sweetness they show while making their film, a feel that comes through the screen to the audience. We can't always pinpoint it as 'sweetness', which is the word I used, but there is definitely something that remains with you emotionally. Their colors have taste and their images have a scent. While following the different episodes of Optimisti (The Optimists, 2006) by Goran Paskaljevic, you can actually live what the characters are going through. Or in Lukas Nola's Pravo Cudo (True Miracle, 2007) you can taste the bitter sweet sense that the film allows to surface. And Zivot de Cudo (Life's a Miracle, 2004) of Emir Kusturica simply helps your emotions to explode in the softest way possible. The amazing secret ingredient of the Balkan films is that they manage to create waves of emotions, they break your heart, they'll make you cry both from laughter and sadness, but without forcing you to. In contrast to today's Hollywood blockbuster mentality, Balkan filmmakers don't aim to make money or receive awards. They are more traditionalists and wish to create in order to express their ideas, views, emotions and share them with the world and hopefully pass on their message and move them, or even, motivate them. Of course there are films a little different than the above, like Theodoros Angelopoulos with a film such as Mia aioniotita kai mia mera (Eternity and a Day, 1998), which is considered slow in action. But I still stand with what I said above: they have colors that require this slow motion in order to be observed. A favourite is Crossing the Bridge: The sound of Istanbul (2005) by Fatih Akin. A documentary about the music of Istanbul proving that music is something not only to listen to, but also to taste, to see and of
course to feel. Watching it will make it very difficult not to explore more about this amazing city. These films are invitations to simple life, the way people have survived it to this day, through war, through poverty, with love and friendship, by music and traditions that die hard and situations which can prove tragic or comical, depending on the way you decide to view them. This simple life is a life that any of us could have lived, could be living or might live in the future. The best part is that they are proven to be magical and enchanting. And that is because they are real. Looking for Balkan films to watch is not an easy task, for sites such as imdb.com (internet movie database) or Wikipedia, don't have many details about them and that is if they have them at all. But good resources are the Film Festivals such as that of Cannes, but mostly the Thessaloniki Film Festival held every year. Films are shown every hour, but thanks to the section division, Balkan films have their own category and are always mentioned with a synopsis and brief details about the filmmakers. Films are everyone's ideal way of having an entertaining evening. You don't have to be in the mood to watch a Balkan film, that some might put under the category of 'cultural' stuff. You simply need to watch one and in some cases, if you are watching it a Balkan language you don't understand, read the subtitles. In every case, it is worth it. Alice Darzentas holds an MA in Dramaturgy on the Advanced Theatre Practice Course of the Central School of Speech and Drama, University of London.
From no man's land By Davor Marko
There is a myth of Balkan people, very often used for the explanation of Bosnian crisis. It asserts that different people of the Balkans have been fighting for centuries and that hatred between Serbs, Croats and Muslims dates back to ancient times. Is this claim of long-standing and irrational antagonisms that destroyed the former Yugoslavia a clichĂŠ? In his quotation that 'the storms of hatred lie hidden in opaque depths', Ivo Andri_, writer and diplomat, implies that although hatred was endemic to Bosnia, Bosnians were rarely conscious of it. This claim of Balkan ancestry hatreds could be easily linked with the popular theory of a 'clash of civilization', in which the West fights an essentialized Islam. Former Croatian President, Franjo Tudjman, had a dream of entering the European Union with modern and West-looking Croatia. For that reason, he intended to break every link with the Balkans and, especially, with Bosnian Muslims whom he declared to be an alien element on the European soil. 'The current tensions are clearly not ancient,' as John V.A. Fine opposed these claims, 'there was no single ethnic or religious war among peoples in medieval Bosnia; in fact, they began after the creation of Yugoslavia in 1918.' Within
first Yugoslavia, Serbs shown an interest in dominating the country, and until 1939 they provoked Croatians who asked for autonomy. During the Second World War, Serbs, and partly Muslims, were the victims of the fascist regime led by Ante Paveli_. In the complexity of mutual relations, it is hard to say who started first. According to Michael E. Sells the clichĂŠ is both, false and true. It is false historically, and the truth within it is that Bosnia is indeed a place of special age-old antagonisms that are constructed in the religious mythology of those who constructed the atrocities. He considered religious mythology to be the central element of the Bosnian crisis; therefore its instrumentalisation and mispresentation caused long-lasted fears and hatreds that shaped the conflict in Bosnia. One can claim that religion and mythology were just at the surface of deeper causalities that can be social, economic, and political, and the real truth is that a plurality of casual factors should be considered for deep analyses of the Bosnian conflict. In the Middle Ages, Bosnia lay between the Catholic Dalmatia and Orthodox Serbia. Without
strong central religious authority, it had competing churches, none particularly strong enough to take domination over the whole country. While Catholics dominated the west and north of the country, the Orthodoxy was present in the east and south-eastern parts of Herzegovina. The Catholic Church was represented mostly by Franciscans, with the Bishop of Bosnia's residence in Dakovo, today's Croatia. Nor was the Orthodox Church, existing in Hum, an important and major institution. Their bishop was located in the Mile_eva monastery. Before Islam arrived, third religious authority was its own Bosnian Church (Crkva bosanska or ecclesia bosnensis), created in the 1250, as reaction to the Hungarian patronate over Bosnian Christians, and imposed by the Rome. Some consider it the first Protestant church in Europe. Adherents of the Church called themselves 'Christians' or 'krstjani', and their 'house' was in Mostre, near Visoko. Their bishop was known as 'grandfather' or 'djed'. This Church, in schism with Rome, has often been portrayed as a dualist, neo-Manichean, or Bogomil church, and therefore linked with heresy. Unlike dualists, Bosnia church accepted an omnipotent God, the Trinity, the cross, the cult of saints, religious art, and at least part of the Old
to everyone's desire Testament. The ancient Bosnian Church, for Ivo Andric, 'was a sign of a young Slavic race still torn between heathen concepts with dualistic coloring and unclear Christian dogmas'. There are two main views about the Bosnian Church and its relation to heresy. Representatives of the first assume that the Bosnian Church and heresy were synonymous, and that Bosnian Church should be viewed as the part of the Bogomil movement in Bulgaria, and ideology of Manicheism at all. The second view, supported by most writers from Serbia, keeps the view that the Bosnian Church was the part of Orthodox doctrine, with its own governance in Bosnia. Both views, as Fine wrote, have a lot of supporters, and, finally, there is a possible case for the claim that Bosnia contained both a dualist heresy and a schismatic non-dualist Bosnian Church. This story is important for understanding the current 'Bosnian myth', which declares that members of the Bosnian Church, angry at Catholicism, converted en masse to Islam, making 19th and 20th century ancestors of medieval Bosnian elite. This picture is simplified. The Bosnian Church had never been a state church, and it is not clear that a majority of Bosnians had actually belonged to it. On the contrary, some historians believe that the Church had disappeared before the Ottoman conquest in 1463. It is interesting to note that in Medieval Bosnia, religion had never played an important role for Bosnian nobles, who freely changed faiths and associated with people of different faiths. This period is known for its tolerance and indif-
ference. Within such circumstances, Islam appeared as a dynamic faith, often propagated by dervishes, and God's favor was shown by Ottoman success. Sufi movements and orders were very active in spreading Islam. Orthodox dervish orders, such as Mawlawiyya, Khalwatiyya and Naqshabandiyya, established many tekkes in Bosnia and Herzegovina. 'These three orders,' as H.T. Norris pointed out, 'played their part. not only in the diffusion of Islam and Sufism in these regions. but also as a defense against the spread of heterodoxy.' When the Ottomans conquered most of Bosnia in the 1460s, the Bosnian church, already in decline, was to disappear. The Bosnian nobility had been converted to Islam, most of them were the followers of the Bosnian Church, but it is not entirely true that all 'Christians' were islamized. Many 'Christians' became Orthodox and Catholics, and many Catholics converted to Orthodoxy and few Orthodox to Catholicism, but the majority of the converts choose Islam as their new faith. Although forced conversion were generally rare in Islam, in the case of the Balkans, where Ottoman faced Christian frontiers, it was unusually unkind. The Ottomans mostly applied pressure along with economic and political advantages, therefore, those who adhered to Islamic faith, as their own, were in better position than
others, which means that they were liberated from paying taxes to Ottoman authorities. Another interesting fact is that most of the new converts, in the beginning, were like chameleons. Onto their new faith the converts grafted their old ways. To be Constantine in front of Christians and Sulayman in front of the Muslims was a very common way of behaving. Ottomans extended toleration to the people of the Book, to Christians and Jews, but were much more tolerant towards Orthodox. The Orthodox were given their deal - the independent millet, a more advantageous taxation system than that of the Catholics. Their patriarch was in Istanbul, controlled by the Sultan and other Ottoman authorities, and therefore the Orthodox had not been treated as a dangerous, while the Pope was far away, in Rome, out of control, and Catholicism had been considered as a much bigger treat to the Islam. This was the fact as Serbian nationalists were blind in their anti-Islamic and antiTurk propaganda. Davor Marko is a media analyst and project coordinator at the Media Plan Institute, in Sarajevo. He holds an MA in Human Rights and Democracy, from the Center for Interdisciplinary Postgraduate Studies, University of Sarajevo.
Only About Peaceâ€Ś
Asia Minor Over Again By Isin Turgut
We begin with a quotation from Carr to explain our main purpose for making a documentary film about Turkish-Greek relations. He states that 'Historical progress is continual, if we don't know how the present will be reflected in the future; we will never be able to understand how the past is turned into present. Every generation must review history. The history that is not been reviewed from time to time slowly dies, and stagnant views of traditional declarations take the rein instead of the dramatic ups and downs of social formation.' This documentary, which was completed to experience a different way of making history, is based upon the re-interpretation of memories as mentioned above. The Mediterranean region in the present day is generally regarded as the cradle of a com-
mon cultural atmosphere although it has different nations and races. Nowadays, the world is leaving cultural differences behind, but the near future in particular will be the era of more in depth searching for cultural harmony. With this documentary, today in 2008, we are trying to review the World War II relationship between Greece, which was involved in the war, and Turkey, which was never officially involved in the war. We try to evaluate something that has been missed from the research until the present day. In fact, the instances of Turks and Greeks living together, sharing their lives as close neighbors, did not end with the exchange of the population in 1923. When Fascist Germany occupied Greece in WW II, some Greeks, particularly from the Greek islands, headed towards Turkey. On the Aegean coast of
Turkey, in AlaĂ§ati, Cesme, Izmir, Kusadasi, Marmaris, Bergama a common life was established. When we review the documents, even the title of the registration book where the newcomers were logged was The Book of Returning Immigrants. I tried to summarize frame of the film above, but the story that is the sentimental point of the film is from memory of Kostas Demerci from the island of Samos. He was a member of the rebel organization. The Commander of Samos, Ioannis Hannis declared that 22 people from their village were about to be arrested, including Kostas Demerci. Kostas and his wife discussed the matter, as they were aware that it would be too difficult to stay in Samos. The mountains of Samos were crowded with rebels. It was hard to live in those circumstances, especially at his age. Thus he decided to go to Anatolia. He took two of his four children with him, Nikos and Eftihia, and left with them. And the story began in his days in Anatolia. We can learn a great deal about those times both from Kostas' memory and his son, Nicos Demerci, during the film. For example, Nicos described his first impression of the trip as: 'When I saw the boat and guerillas, and the armed Greeks, I was so impressed. We boarded the boat. It was a
beautiful, quiet night. During that night, we rowed across the sea to Asia Minor.' In short, the aim of the film is to create a quality piece of work about the relations between two nations that deeply influenced each other and, apart from foreign political affairs, to see how these influences will shape the two nations socially. Therefore we have aimed to hand down people's stories to the next generations. By telling and sharing stories, to share our belief and pass on this belief to next generations that, due to the nature of life, in human stories there can be no permanent enmity lasting forever. So this is about peace only. As the film is about the near past of our country, this makes it easier to record oral history. Nowadays the youngest generation that remembers those days is in their late sixties. So this project aims to protect some witnesses from the hands of the time. We realized this project with only six people in Paradoks Company. All the documentary makers in the world try to make large projects with a small team. I think this is the nature of this job. Because all members of the team should believe in the project
deeply, otherwise you never achieve a convincing documentary film. Of course, Tahsin Isbilen, director, has a main role in this documentary film. But both other members of the team and those that were interviewed and the coordinators of project in Greece shared his opinion about peace between Turkey and Greece. I think that is the most important thing about success of the film. If the peaceful people of Lesvos, Samos and people of Aegean shores had not supported the project we would never have realized it.
Isin Turgut is the Executive Director of the documentary Asia Minor Over Again. www.asyaminor.com
the new Balkan reggaeton By Cristina Mosora
There is one thing one can't miss while strolling down the streets of Bucharest and it is not the omnious building of the Casa Poporului, but the sound of dance-friendly, 'trashy' manele coming out of the street vendors' stands, market places, cars and homes. Manele (the plural of mane1) is a musical genre that mixes the local Gypsy and oriental beats with cheap synthesizers in explicit, bad grammar songs about love, sex, money and enemies. It is an urban 'dirty' popular music closely related to the Bulgarian chalga and the Serbian turbo folk and it is played exclusively at the moment by interpreters of Roma origin. The roots of modern manele date back to the early 80s, when the first cheap imitations of Arabic and Turkish songs could be heard in the poor neighborhoods of Bucharest populated mainly by Roma ethnics. By 1989, a few manele bands had already become famous in the suburbs of major cities, while the former party propaganda was working on keeping the broadcast pro-Romanian, pro-Communist and of course free of any Gypsy influence. Nevertheless the popularity of manele and manele singers grew steadily and after December 1989 it simply took over the underground scene. In Romania, it is still considered a 'low down', pseudo genre and it is banned from the national radio and television broadcast network while most of the 'elite' radio stations choose not to play manele. The sound of manele can be heard across Europe, in all communities of Romanian worker immigrants, having become the new Balkan reggaeton. Yet the increasing popularity of manele is highly contested back home. From the well known representatives of the cultural elites, musicians, academia, journalists to the common urban
'cool' youth who stencils out anti manele slogans downtown, the manele trend is openly attacked. The 'anti manelist' discourse is built around the threat the manele music and the lifestyle they promote might pose to the Romanian culture and society in general. The problem with this discourse is that all too often anti manelism and racial discrimation overlap. What began as an expression of dislike based on aesthetic grounds quickly turned into open racial discrimination. On December 1, 2005, the National Day of Romania, ProTV, a private television channel with a major audience broadcasted an interpretation of the national anthem by manele singers. The infamous broadcast further contributed to the split between the manelists and the anti manelists, while increasing the tension in the racial discourse which accompanied the controversy. The radicalization is obvious: one cannot have a neutral stand on the issue, if you are not against it, you are definitely for it. In 2007, the Romanian blogosphere was burning hot on the topic of manele, with very few voices remaining objective. Anti manelist movement in Timisoara mobilized and started a 30 days campaign against the manelists: 'Romanians, let's feed them Mozart' ('Romani, sa dam Mozart la tot cartieru!'). Manele indeed promote an anti social behaviour in an oversimplistic form that appeals to the lower usually uneducated class, and it is only natural to get a contrary reaction from the cultural elites who fear the trend that sweeps the country would lower the cultural standards of Romanians thus posing a threat to the 'educational level' of the majority. But doesn't the attempt to ban and exclude manele from the public space also pose a threat, this time to the freedom of expression? Is-
1. The term mane < tr. mani is attested as early as late 18th century in the Danubian Principalities to describe a genre of music brought along with the sultan's fanfare mehteran. D. Cantemir himself was a composer and a famous interpreter of manele at the time. The Romanian mane evolved as a lament love song and throughout the ages remained a music of and for “the people” (cantece de lume). Although never actually “intellectualized”, its aesthetic quality is uncontestable. Manele like the Saraiman and The Florist's mane interpreted by the famous R. Puceanu remain until today pieces of exquisite popular creation. Modern manele and their interpretation bare little if no resemblance with the original mane songs.
n't such a stand anti social in its turn? The radicalization of public opinion on the manele issue and the negative association of manele music with the Roma surely pose an immediate threat to ethnic and social tolerance. Let's not forget that manele music was born in the ghettos of the totalitarian age and its evolution is a vivid depiction of the prolonged transition of the Romanian society. The lifestyle the manele interpreters promote when they appear surrounded by half-naked women in their expensive BMWs wearing pointy brand name shoes is again a reflection of the financial instability and moral confusion associated with transition. But one cannot simply erase the third world reality still haunting Romania. That's exactly why Western culture oriented stands hasten to blame and discharge manele as a kitsch, vulgar, uneducated legacy of the past, thinking that this will finally make them European. This is just another manifestation of the 'cultural bovarism' syndrome of Romanian elites. Very few see manele music as an authentic representation of Romanian popular culture, a creole genre, born at the meeting of many cultures, with singers having a real but uneducated talent in music. Even fewer believe that with a bit of polishing this 'subcultural' genre would succeed as a legitimized cultural style. While Romanians are kept busy in their manele controversy, DJ Shantel, an electronica artist based in Germany whose family originates from Bucovina, picked a Romanian manele tune and mixed it, thus setting the standards for a new dance floor Gypsy pop in Europe. The Disko Partizani from the latest Shantel release is played daily at radio stations around Europe. This is the new sound of Europe, a Europe which stretches its frontiers all the way to the south-east. Cristina Mosora holds an MA from the University of Athens and from the State University of Political and Administrative Studies in Bucharest.
Black Sea in Perspective The European Institute at Istanbul Bilgi University was established in June 2007. Based on the experience acquired with its predecessor, the Center for European Studies, and building on the EU expertise within Bilgi, the European Institute is the primary focus for the inter-disciplinary study of processes of integration in the politics, legal system, society and economics of the European Union. To this end, the European Institute offers interdisciplinary academic programmes and research on European studies and also serves as a public platform hosting lectures, panel discussions and open discussions on Europe and the EU. The European Institute is outward-looking and is developing collaborative links with international partners seeking to promote Bilgi as a centre of excellence for teaching and research on Europe. The Turkish-Greek Studies Division, an integral part of the European Institute, was initially established under the auspices of the Center for European Studies, and now functions under the Institute. The Division aims to foster institutional collaboration between the academic communities of the two countries, with a view to contributing to the spirit of rapprochement that characterizes the current state of bilateral relations. This is realized through a strategic cooperation with key institutions like ELIAMEP in the form of joint seminars, conferences, summer programmes, and exchange of students and scholars. The Division supports the MA in International Relations, with a concentration on Turkish-Greek Relations Programme. The curriculum is designed to reflect these two principal objectives of the Programme, by enhancing the students' general knowledge of theory and practice of International Relations and by enabling them to specialize in the politics, policy and society of Turkey and Greece. The curriculum is intended to be an advanced, specialized academic preparation for individuals who will become trained experts in regional issues. Apart from providing an excellent infrastructure for future academics planning to work on different aspects of Turkish and Greek studies, the Programme appeals to diplomats, journalists and government officials from both countries working, or planning to work, on different aspects of Turkish and Greek studies. Currently, the Programme boasts a diverse number of students including a large number of Greek participants, through the generous support of the J.F. Costopoulos Foundation. For further information please visit www.bilgi.edu.tr
In partnership with the EU-Russia Centre, New Eurasia Foundation, the Harvard Black Sea Security Program, NATO Public Diplomacy Division, and the University of the Aegean and in line with its objectives to promote multilateral cooperation, to foster knowledge and dialogue in and around the wider Black Sea region, the ICBSS is launching an International Symposium as a forum for study and dialogue in a multicultural and interdisciplinary environment. The event is to be held annually and targets young professionals (22-35 years old), such as policy-makers, academics, journalists, diplomats, Members of Parliament and researchers (post docs and PhD candidates) primarily from the countries of the wider Black Sea area, EU member states, the United States and Central Asia. This year, it will take place on July 1-6, 2008 in Greece on the Dodecanese island of Kalymnos. The participants will have the unique opportunity to gain insights into a wide range of issues related to Black Sea regional cooperation, such as security, energy, economic development and investment opportunities, presented by prominent scholars, experts and policymakers on a four-day intensive course consisting of lectures and study groups, with related reading material provided. While lectures will introduce the different topics, the participants will have the chance to discuss and elaborate their own thoughts on questions raised in corresponding study groups of approximately 10 peers. Study group representatives will make presentations on the last day of the meeting. All participants will receive a certificate of attendance. They will also have the chance to experience beautiful summer days on the picturesque island of Kalymnos and become familiar with the local culture. The Symposium will be in English. More information can be found at www.icbss.org
Insight on Egyptâ€™ s political and economic development For nearly three decades, scholars and policymakers have placed considerable stock in judicial reform as a panacea for the political and economic turmoil plaguing developing countries. Courts are charged with spurring economic development, safeguarding human rights, and even facilitating transitions to democracy. How realistic are these expectations, and in what political contexts can judicial reforms deliver their expected benefits? In The Struggle for Constitutional Power, Tamir Moustafa addresses these issues through an examination of the politics of the Egyptian
Supreme Constitutional Court, the most important experiment in constitutionalism in the Arab World. The Egyptian regime established a surprisingly independent constitutional court to address a series of economic and administrative pathologies that lie at the heart of authoritarian political systems. Although the Court helped the regime to institutionalise state functions, it simultaneously opened new avenues through which rights advocates and opposition parties could chal-
lenge the regime. The Struggle for Constitutional Power examines the dynamics of legal mobilization in this most unlikely political environment. The book constitutes a comprehensive analysis of the political and economic developments in Egypt during the past 40 years and it also suggests new directions for research on comparative law and legal systems. Standing at the intersection of political science, economics and law, The Struggle for Constitutional Power challenges conventional wisdom and provides new insights into perennial questions concerning the barriers to institutional development, economic growth, and democracy in the developing world.
Tamir Mustafa, The Struggle for Constitutional Power, Law, Politics and Economic Development in Egypt 338 pages, Cambridge University Press, 2007, ISBN: 9780521876049
Deconstructing national stereotypes Tormented by History traces the emergence and development of the Greek and Turkish nationalist projects, challenging the received wisdom about the inevitability of the rise of a 'Greek' and a 'Turkish' nation and it is the first comparative study of nationalism in Greece and Turkey. Grounded in an extensive critical review of the popular and scholarly historiography and literature on Greek and Turkish nationalisms, it traces the emergence and development of the Greek and Turkish nationalist projects over the past two hundred years, challenging the received wisdom about the inevitability of the rise of
a 'Greek' and a 'Turkish' nation. Acknowledging the complexity of the relationship between the two nationalisms, Ozkirimli and Sofos, one a Turk, the other a Greek, examine a complex terrain involving the politics of language, religion, memory and history, territory and landscape; processes of homogenisation, marginalisation and minoritisation of populations and cultures as well as institutional support of Greek and Turkish nationalism. They also discuss the place of 'constitutive violence' - physical and symbolic - in the nationalist imagination and the ensuing trauma and sense of loss in the process of establishment and consolidation of Greek and Turkish identities.
Umut Ozkirimli, Spyros A. Sofos, Tormented by History, Nationalism in Greece and Turkey, 320 pages, Columbia University Press, 2008, ISBN:9780231700528
book reviews Economic challenges in the Western Balkans The EU stated that â€˜the future of the Western Balkans rests within the European Unionâ€™. On an economic level, however, the establishment of a market economy and the capability to stand the competition in the single market have been formulated as prerequisites for an EU-accession. As the contributions to this book from experts of the region demonstrate, strategies to create the competitive structures demanded in the countries of the Western Balkans vary, depending on the different stages of development,
inherited economic structures and the previous transition and integration process. In this context, the articles mainly concentrate on the actual economic development, trade performance, the attraction of FDI and endogenous determinants of competitiveness as education and innovation in the analysed economies. This book follows the first compendium on the region edited by S. Kusic. Path-Dependent Development in the Western Balkans - The Impact of Privatization, published in 2005 by Peter Lang.
Emanuel Adler, Beverly Crawford, Federica Bicchi, Rafaella A. Del Sarto (ed.), The Convergence of Civilizations: Constructing a Mediterranean Region, German and European Studies, 352 pages, University of Toronto Press, 2006, ISBN: 9780802038043
European Union Reformed This second, fully revised and updated edition of Theorizing European Integration continues to provide a comprehensive and in-depth introduction to the theoretical study of the European Union (EU) and of European integration processes. In this study, Dimitris N. Chryssochoou combines perspectives from international relations theory, comparative politics as well as social and political theory, offering a complete overview of the many competing approaches that have sought to capture and explain the evolving nature and dynamics of the European polity. Amongst the many theories and perspectives addressed in the book are functionalism, neo-functionalism, security communities' federalism, confederalism, concordance systems, international regimes, multilevel governance, liberal intergovernmentalism, new institutionalism,
consociationalism, constructivism, cosmopolitanism and republicanism. Other themes examined are the politics of EU treaty reform, from the Single European Act to the recently signed Lisbon Treaty, questions of democracy, legitimacy, governance and citizenship in the EU political system, and the question of European polityhood and demos-hood. In addition to the above themes, the book yields new theoretical insights into the study of the presentday EU, drawn from the domain of normative international theory. In particular, it advances a novel conceptualization of the composite EU order as a synarchy of entwined sovereignties based on the practice of institutionalized co-determination. From this view, the ontological properties of the regional polity approximate most closely the formation of a dynamic system of shared rule based on the principle of organized co-sovereignty. This, the author argues, seems to provide a general image of the EU as a composite
polity composed of distinct culturally defined and politically organized states and demoi. In this dynamic interplay between sovereignty and integration, the larger political unit is in search of a dynamic equilibrium between the parallel demands for achieving a sense of collective symbiosis for the whole, while safeguarding the constitutive autonomy of the parts. The book will be essential reading for all students, academics and policy-makers seeking to develop a deeper theoretical understanding of the nature and dynamics of European integration across the fields of political science, political theory, international relations and European studies.
Dimitris N. Chryssochoou, Theorizing European Integration, 240 pages, Routledge (Taylor & Francis Group), forthcoming 2008, ISBN:9780415437599
8 Veliko Tumovo Bridge Bulgaria by okiflickr