Political Trends & Dynamics

By providing regular analysis and commentary on current affairs in Southeast Europe, Dialogue SOE aims to broaden the discourse on peace and stability while countering prevalent securitization narratives. This involves a comprehensive understanding of human security, including structural sources of conflict.

Peace and stability initiatives represent a decades-long cornerstone of the FES’s work in Southeast Europe. Both democratization and socio-economic justice are intrinsic aspects of a larger progressive peace policy in the region, but so too are consistent threat assessments and efforts to prevent conflict before it erupts.

Related Publications

Political Trends & Dynamics: Challenges to the Rule of Law in the Western Balkans

Our last issue in 2020 introduces this topic, in the context of the Western Balkans and the EU's attempts to encourage substantive reforms in the region's judicial and law enforcement communities. With contributions from Nedim Hogić and Jovana Marović, as well as an interview with the primary author of the EU's „Priebe Reports “, Reinhard Priebe, we are certain that this edition will remain a relevant read well into the new year.



Political Trends & Dynamics: The Far-Right in the EU and the Western Balkans

The growing popularity and influence of reactionary, far-right movements represent an acute threat to regional and collective security and democracy in the 21st century. The rising tide of such movements has put great pressure on European societies to somehow confront them. In this edition of Political Trend & Dynamics we will explore what in fact makes these far-right movements a hazard for democracy, and how such like-minded groups are linked across the continent and with the US.



Political Trends & Dynamics Nature or Politics: Disaster Response in SEE

Natural disasters, it turns out, are anything but. Instead, “acts of God” are in practice exacerbated by human practices and norms. Politics and governance patterns and norms, too often, determine the full contours and costs of otherwise non-human maladies, from disasters to pandemics. In the midst of the global COVID-19 pandemic, this edition of the Political Trends and Dynamics newsletter examines the human factor in Southeast Europe’s disaster preparedness protocols.



Political Trends & Dynamics Special Edition The COVID-19 Pandemic in Southeast Europe: Experiences on the Ground

The global COVID-19 pandemic will long be remembered as an inflection point in personal life as well as in global politics and history. While the full scope and depth of the crisis – in terms of public health but also economics and social politics in its entirety – cannot yet be fully predicted, its costs will be doubtlessly severe. But the world is being remade, we know that much.



Political Trends & Dynamics: Deficient Welfare States in Southeast Europe

Featuring voices from experts and policy-makers, this edition of Political Trends & Dynamics in Southeast Europe initially focused on analyzing the “Social Dimension of Enlargement Policy”. With the current global health emergency in full swing, it offers an even broader and useful perspective on the state of welfare in Southeast Europe and the relations among EU Members and the Non-Member States.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Youth Policy in Southeast Europe

2019 has seen increased development of youth policy throughout the region. In resonance with the EU Youth Strategy 2019-27, national youth strategies are currently being developed in Albania, Bosnia, and Montenegro. The FES published a series of groundbreaking studies analyzing political values, attitudes, and beliefs of youth in the region and their outlook on the future earlier this year, providing a point of departure for facts-based policy-making. This issue of the Political Trends and Dynamics in Southeast Europe aims to highlight fresh thinking on youth policy by next-generation experts and policy-makers.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Chinese Soft Power in Southeast Europe

China has “arrived” in Southeast Europe. Beijing’s assertive new foreign policy, the hallmark of President Xi Jinping’s six year reign as the executive of the People’s Republic, has seen the country accelerate and deepen its foreign ties with states all over the world, including in Europe’s East and Southeast, at a previously unimagined pace. It is not a stretch to say that a decade ago, China was simply not a major actor – in any sector – in Southeast Europe. Today, Beijing has emerged as one of the leading economic actors in the region, investing and supporting everything from energy and infrastructure projects to arms procurement.



Political Trends and Dynamics: The European Project in the Western Balkans: Crisis and Transition

In the light of recent events, it is becoming clear that at present that basic deal for Western Balkan countries in the EU enlargement process— reform for membership — has collapsed. Some may argue that EU policy towards the region was never as transparent as all that, but whatever its details, even the broadest version of this bargain has now dissolved. Combined with the ongoing crisis of leadership in the U.S., and the growing political and economic clout of foreign powers like Russia, China, Turkey, and others, the contemporary Western Balkans find them-selves tossed about in the most tumultuous international waters since the end of the Yugoslav crisis.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Romania and Bulgaria’s Membership in the EU: Progress, Challenges, Prospects

Our first Political Trends & Dynamics issue of 2019 focuses and serves also as the first part of a two-part series examining the linkages between corruption, democratic back-sliding, civil society mobilization and political participation in southeastern Europe. Our interest in these topics — much as with the linkages we are drawing between the respective pillars of these debates — comes from a growing recognition that existing democratic practices and institutions in much of Europe are in the midst of an existential transformation and, very likely, crisis.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Ecology and Justice in Southeast Europe

Though rarely a topic of public debate, addressing the challenges of climate change is a particular issue for Southeastern Europe, owing to the region’s combination of post-communist and post-conflict governance concerns. Policy regimes which do not address the region’s specific needs — in particular those rooted in ongoing concerns about unemployment, poverty, inequality, and social justice more broadly threaten to exacerbate the region’s already pronounced social malaise.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Bilateral Disputes in Southeast Europe

The Western Balkans remain the site of numerous, protracted bilateral disputes. Most of these concern competing claims to territory, identity, the status of minorities and, in some cases, name disputes (Macedonia is the most famous example of the latter but similar issues exist in parts of Bosnia). From Sarajevo to Skopje, and Kosovo to Cyprus, a significant number of polities in the region remain riven by fundamental questions concerning their political and territorial integrity.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Inequality in Southeast Europe

The region of Southeast Europe (SEE) has been faced with exceptionally challenging social, economic and political transformations in recent decades. One such challenge is the high level of income inequality. However, despite economic inequality’s potentially dire repercussions, not limited to poverty and social exclusion, a decline in economic growth or even social conflict, it has not occupied a prominent place in SEE governments’ policies and programs. As forces such as technological change and globalization are bound to increase economic disparity even further, it is high time for governments in the region to adopt policies to combat inequality.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Religion and Secularism in Southeast Europe

Southeastern Europe is a genuine cultural mosaic. Despite the claims of nationalists, no polity in the region is truly homogeneous; ethnic and religious communities intersect and blend together all across the region and have done so for centuries. Even in the wake of the 20th century, one marked in the region by bouts of inter-communal and sectarian strife, the region is still, in many respects, defined by its diversity.



Political Trends and Dynamics: The Digital Frontier in Southeast Europe

A specter is haunting Southeast Europe — the specter of digital transformation. At least, that it is the hope by many in Europe and the region itself. Still largely defined by (the remains) of socialist (post) industrialism, Southeast Europe’s economic and social transition towards the digital frontier has been marked by incremental and irregular movement.



Political Trends and Dynamics: Gender in Politics in Southeast Europe

2017 was a major year in the advancement of women’s issues and women’s causes, indeed, one of the most significant in decades. The #MeToo campaign, and the campaigns which preceded it, cast into sharp relief the endemic culture of sexual assault and abuse that permeates much of the professional world. And while the focus was primarily on Hollywood and the media and entertainment sector, conditions are, if anything worse, for working women outside the limelight.



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