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  • Author: Ljubica Djordjevic
  • Publication Date: 04-2021
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The paper analyses the texts of the constitutions of Bosnia and Herzegovina, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Serbia as a basis for exploring how these states deal with the (ethnic) diversity and balance between civic and ethnic concepts of nation. The four countries offer an interesting spectrum of different approaches, caused by different social contexts: the main feature of the approach in Bosnia and Herzegovina is the category of “constituent peoples”; Montenegro has opted for a civic concept; North Macedonia tries to balance between multiculturalism and a binational state; and Serbia juggles the concept of the nation-state combined with comprehensive protection for national minorities. The analysis shows that the constitutions struggle to various degrees with the balance between the civic (political) concept of a (supra-ethnic) nation and the ethnic (cultural) concept of nation(s), and, in essence, fail to contribute to interethnic interaction and wider social cohesion. Although it is clear that the recognition of specific group identities and accommodation of (minority) rights is essential for pursuing peace, stability, diversity and genuine equality in each of the four analysed countries, it is also evident that imbalance favouring the ethnic concept of nation and failure to establish stronger institutional links of common citizenship, inevitably leads to parallel (one could even argue “segregated”) societies where different groups simply live next to each other but do not genuinely interact, which is detrimental to social cohesion and social stability and prosperity in the long run.
  • Topic: Nationalism, Minorities, Ethnicity, Community, Identity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans
  • Author: Ljubica Djordjevic
  • Publication Date: 11-2018
  • Content Type: Research Paper
  • Institution: European Centre for Minority Issues
  • Abstract: The paper examines local mechanisms for interethnic dialogue which have been established in Kosovo, Macedonia, and Serbia, with the main question concerning why they have remained ineffective for such a long period of time. The focus lies on local councils (Serbia), commissions (Macedonia), and committees (Kosovo) established in the respective laws on local self -governance, as specific institutional mechanisms for both participation of national minorities in municipal affairs and dialogue among communities residing in a municipality. In all three countries these bodies have been institutionally set as consultative bodies attached to a municipal assembly which deals with the issues relevant for national equality (Serbia), relations between communities (Macedonia) or respect for rights and interests of the communities (Kosovo). The main purpose of their activity is to address recommendations and opinions , primarily to the municipal assembly. They should serve as a channel for smaller communities to express their needs and interests, and as a forum for interethnic dialogue in a municipality. Yet, although legally established almost 15 years ago in Serbia and Macedonia (2002) and 10 years ago in Kosovo (2008), these bodies still remain more of a form than a content. Legal vagueness, lack of municipal support, inactivity, poor transparency and democratic legitimacy are just some of the weak points which cause their po or performance.
  • Topic: Governance, Minorities, Ethnicity, Local, Identity
  • Political Geography: Europe, Balkans