CISBalk Hosts Two International Experts

Two international experts on the Balkan affairs Dusan Reljic and Lazar Kekic have been guests of the CISBalk last Tuesday.

Dusan Reljic, senior research associate from the German Institute for International Affairs, has shared his thoughts about contemporary foreign policies of Russia, Turkey, the European Union and the US towards the Balkan region.

“As the economic crises hit the old continent, the European Union is not any more perceived as a good economic model,” Reljic said.

“However, unlike other external actors in the South Eastern Europe, like the USA and Turkey, only the European Union offers integration and prospect of future equal status,” he added.

Speaking about other external actors Reljic stressed that Russia still plays important political role, but focuses more on other policies, citing increased Russian influence in energy sector of SEE countries.

Commenting on relationship with Turkey, he said that Turkey tends to overestimates its soft power in this part of Europe, arguing that most of the people in the region do not see Turkey as a friend or a source of aid.

Reljic predicts that the USA presence in the region will diminish, as the US shift its focus on Asia.

Second lecturer, Laza Kekic, regional director of Economist Intelligence Unit, presented the findings of the annual democracy report which marked 2012 as a stagnation year.

Global democracy neither advanced nor reiterated. State of democracy deteriorated in 40 counties, in 54 it improved, while it remained unchanged in 73, Economist’s reports reads.

“Just over one half of the world’s population lives in democracy of some sort, although only 11 per cent live in the so called ‘full democracy’,” said Kekic.

The biggest increase in democracy index took place in Libya, but democracy in that region still remains a highly uncertain prospect.

The democratic index is based on scores of 60 indicators in 5 different categories: electoral process and pluralism, civil liberties, the function of government, political participation and political culture.

As a result report finds four types of political regimes: full democracies, flawed democracies, hybrid regimes and authoritarian.

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Event Date
2 April 2013