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Serbia at risk of authoritarianism?

02-05-2019

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of ...

Among the Western Balkan countries aspiring to EU membership, Serbia is seen as a frontrunner in terms of its democratic institutions, level of economic development and overall readiness for accession. However, in November 2018 opposition politician, Borko Stefanović, was beaten up by thugs, triggering a wave of protests that has spread across the country. Week after week, thousands have taken to the streets, accusing Serbian president, Aleksandar Vučić, and his Serbian Progressive Party (SNS) of authoritarian rule, attacks on independent media, electoral fraud and corruption. Although the protests only started recently, they highlight worrying longer-term trends. Press freedom has been in decline for several years, particularly since Vučić became prime minister in 2014. A large part of the media is now controlled either directly by the state or by pro-SNS figures. Independent journalists face threats and even violence, and perpetrators are rarely convicted. In the National Assembly, the governing coalition uses its parliamentary majority to systematically block meaningful discussions of legislative proposals. In protest, the opposition started a boycott of plenary debates in February 2019. The tone of verbal attacks by SNS politicians and their allies on independent media, the political opposition and civil society is often virulent. Criticising government policy is framed as betrayal of Serbian interests. The aim seems to be to marginalise critical voices while concentrating power in the hands of the SNS-led government. Elected to the mainly ceremonial role of president in 2017, Vučić nevertheless remains the dominant figure. If Serbia's drift towards authoritarianism continues, it could become a major obstacle to EU accession, for which 2025 has been mentioned as a possible date.

Climate change [What Think Tanks are thinking]

05-04-2019

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on 28 March urged governments worldwide to come to the UN summit on climate in September 2019 with concrete plans to boost action against global warming. The call followed the publication of the annual report on climate change by the World Meteorological Organization, which warned about the dire consequences of the continued rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the same month, hundreds of thousands of students and pupils in 120 countries ...

The United Nations Secretary General, Antonio Guterres, on 28 March urged governments worldwide to come to the UN summit on climate in September 2019 with concrete plans to boost action against global warming. The call followed the publication of the annual report on climate change by the World Meteorological Organization, which warned about the dire consequences of the continued rise of greenhouse gases in the atmosphere. In the same month, hundreds of thousands of students and pupils in 120 countries have sought to draw politicians’ attention to climate change by walking out of classes to stage repeated street protests. This note brings together commentaries, analyses and studies by major international think tanks and research institutes on climate talks and wider issues relating to climate change. Earlier publications on the issue can be found in a previous edition of 'What Think Tanks are Thinking' published in November 2018.

Tunisia: Progress achieved and prospects for the social dimension

30-11-2017

In 2011, following the outbreak of protests – known as the Jasmine Revolution – which toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime, Tunisia embarked on a path to democratic transition and socio-economic transformation, emulating the reforms and governance practices of established liberal democracies. Nearly eight years on, the country has made significant progress, including in the social sphere, and has emerged as a regional leader in institutional reform. However, to avoid jeopardising the ...

In 2011, following the outbreak of protests – known as the Jasmine Revolution – which toppled President Zine El Abidine Ben Ali's regime, Tunisia embarked on a path to democratic transition and socio-economic transformation, emulating the reforms and governance practices of established liberal democracies. Nearly eight years on, the country has made significant progress, including in the social sphere, and has emerged as a regional leader in institutional reform. However, to avoid jeopardising the stability and progress achieved, further reforms are needed.

Indonesia: Security threats to a stable democracy

24-10-2016

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

Indonesia is a stable country which has undergone a successful transition to civilian democracy. However, there are still concerns about the military's continuing strong influence. There are also a number of internal and external threats to stability, although these remain fairly low-level, for now.

EU policy towards Belarus

05-09-2013

The EU maintains a policy of critical engagement with Belarus, including imposing sanctions. Nonetheless, on 24 June 2013, the Council suspended the EU travel ban on the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makey, to facilitate diplomatic contacts with Belarus.

The EU maintains a policy of critical engagement with Belarus, including imposing sanctions. Nonetheless, on 24 June 2013, the Council suspended the EU travel ban on the Belarusian Minister of Foreign Affairs, Vladimir Makey, to facilitate diplomatic contacts with Belarus.

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