Wider Europe, Summer 2011
June 7, 2011
Serbia and Kosova: Talks Need Political Targets
Excerpt: "Kosova’s leaders need to take greater charge of the EU-sponsored talks between Belgrade and Prishtina if they want to gain advantage from the process, much like the Serbian authorities. Pressure has clearly been applied on Prishtina by the office of Baroness Catherine Ashton, the EU’s High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, to engage in dialogue with Belgrade and thereby give proof of EU success in conflict resolution. However, there is also a sense in both Belgrade and Prishtina that the dialogue is given insufficient attention by Brussels and the results are likely to be meager, hence the appointment of a relatively junior mediator in the process rather than a senior EU official...."
Kazakhstan: Seeking Stability in an Unstable Neighborhood
Excerpt: "Kazakhstan emerged as a state twenty years ago in an unpredictable security environment with a persistent threat of violence as the Soviet Union disintegrated and a number of previously subdued ethnic disputes threatened to plunge much of Central Asia into prolonged conflict and chaos. Similarly to most other Soviet republics, Kazakhstan possessed a limited political elite, facade institutions that served Communist rule, and a tradition of Soviet centralism that permeated policy and mentality. Unlike in Central-Eastern Europe and the three Baltic states there was no period of institutionalized democracy in an independent state that the country could draw upon as a model or inspiration to build its institutions after the collapse of communism and Sovietism in the early 1990s...."
Southeast Europe’s Growing Role in EU Energy Security
Excerpt: "The most recent political upheaval that has been sweeping North Africa and the Middle East, has brought once more to the EU’s attention the necessity of having stable energy supplies. To further complicate Europe’s energy situation, a nuclear safety review for EU’s powerhouse Germany, spurred by the Japanese nuclear leakage at Fukushima (precipitated by an earthquake and tsunami: phenomena that are unlikely to endanger Germany), has influenced Merkel’s government to shut down all of its nuclear power plants by 2022. Being Europe’s largest energy consumer, Germany will become further dependent on gas, with no clear reliable source. With the oil and gas cutoffs imposed by Russia on its neighbors at various times during the last decade, it was hoped that supplies from North Africa, Caucasus, and Central Asia could soften the blow and serve as alternative sources. However EU’s energy security vulnerabilities have again been highlighted as countries in Southern Europe are starting to feel the impact from the North African turmoil..."