Europe on the web, in cinemas, on the radio, in schools, universities and public events. For a whole year it is going to take the lead on Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso. To respond to the crisis, with new force and ideality. An editorial
Tell Europe to Europe: this is the name we have given the European project that is going to see us committed for the whole of next year. Indeed, contributing to the debate on Europe has been one of Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso’s objectives since its beginning.
At the beginning, OBC’s raison d’être was that of reflecting on the consequences of the war in Europe and on the support to the rebuilding of the Balkans. With time, the situation has gradually improved and gone from humanitarian aids to discussing democratic consolidations and harmonizing the legal systems.
Croatia is going to become the Union’s 28th member state. However, depending on where they started, faced with the perspective of European integration, in the past few years the other Countries of the region have also made progress in the path to democratization.
Though dominated by economic, technical and legal issues, the EU’s enlargement process has played a key role in the overcoming of the ‘90s wars and in the region’s stabilization. It remains a fundamental political horizon for the whole of the Balkans. This should come as no surprise, as for South-Eastern Europe too it would mean accessing the historical process of overcoming war and building a common political space, from which it was de facto excluded up until the end of the ‘90s.
It is of this Europe that the media speak very little, unless souls are stirred by the fear of new migratory lows or the political instability characterizing it comes under the spotlight again. For some Balkan Countries with fragile economies and administrations choked up by corruption, the road to European integration is undoubtedly still burdensome. Nonetheless, the whole harmonization process slowly continues out of the spotlight, supervised by the European Commission Enlargement Directorate General and monitored by the Commissions of the European Parliament.
It is certainly complex dynamics and, as such, it is considered work for “authorized personnel”. But it cannot be ignored that the EU’s enlargement to the East has been an extraordinary geopolitical phenomenon for our continent. As reported by the ESI center of studies , it is amazing how, in the last 20 years, not one best seller has come out to liven up the debate on the European reunification.
On the other hand, one of the main aspects of the EU’s democratic deficit is, indeed, the fact that the debate on our institutions and policies – among these, enlargement – has so far been poor.
The European integration is not an easy process: it entails handing over sovereignty and sharing duties. The richest EU members with mature democracies import part of the problems of the weakest Countries, even though they benefit from enlargment in terms of prosperity and security.
The Balkan Countries out of the Union, though, deal with the consequences of the economic dependence on the Euro zone, as underlined by Dimitar Bechev. And if these economies had been undergoing a strong growth till 2008, they were then highly affected by the crisis: the shock for the drop of foreign investments, reduced access to credit, a drop in remittances have had heavy consequences.
The economic situation we are presently living in crushes us on the circumscribed debates but, in the Balkans, very few miss the parallelism between the crisis affecting the EU today and the one that affected Yugoslavia in the ‘90s. And if we can learn something from the past, it is that in Europe no one comes out of a crisis on their own or without re-launching that common project we have so benefited from until today.
Through Tell Europe to Europe and with eleven partners in four different Countries, not only on the web but also on the radio, in university classrooms, training courses and, finally, in cinema, Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso is going to make a greater effort to bridge the democratic deficit and encourage the discussion on the Balkans’ and Turkey’s European integration.
Also thanks to its ever growing number of readers, OBC is going to continue to work for the building of a Europe of citizens, fostering the dialog, also on-line, between organizations and people on either side of the Adriatic. Indeed, the debate in Europe needs many, to be kept alive.
This publication has been produced with the assistance of the European Union. The contents of this publication are the sole responsibility of Osservatorio Balcani e Caucaso and its partners and can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union. The project's page: Tell Europe to Europe.