Though the Western Balkans are making progress to membership in the EU, politics in the region diverge from the script laid out in Brussels. International watchdogs and local civil society raise concern about democratic backsliding. The rule of law is shallow, the media fall under political control, and parliamentary opposition fails to hold powerholders accountable.
This roundtable will explore the challenges to democratic development in the Balkans and address the question of whether citizens and bottom-up mobilization can compensate for the tilt to authoritarianism and the deficits and blindspots of EU conditionality. It will feature Florian Bieber, professor of southeast european studies and director of the Center for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria; Jasmin Mujanović, a political scientist and fellow at the EastWest Institute; Jelena Subotić, associate professor of political science at Georgia State University; and Milada Vachudova, associate professor of political science at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill. The discussion will be moderated by Dimitar Bechev (CSEEES Fellow).