Academic journal article European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities

Serbian Political Heritage and Its Influence on the Capacity Building in Environmental Policy1

Academic journal article European Quarterly of Political Attitudes and Mentalities

Serbian Political Heritage and Its Influence on the Capacity Building in Environmental Policy1

Article excerpt


This paper analyzes the construction and capacity building of environmental policy in post-communist Serbia. It will be argued that Serbian political heritage and limited democratic experience lead to weak political-economic progress, lack of administrative, ecological knowledge and weak civil society. The first part covers Serbian historical and political heritage, breakdown of the Yugoslav state and civil war. It will also be covered the process of Europeanization as the influential tool where different mechanisms to the EU influence the democratization outcomes of the new formed states. In the second part, Serbian environmental capacity will be analyzed and it will be suggested that environmental problems require economic, political and social responses from different government institutions and that Serbia experienced considerable political instability. Closely will be covered political, economic and social conditions that bought to these unfavorable circumstances.

Keywords: environmental policy, EU enlargement, political capacity, Serbian political heritage

1. Serbian Historical and Political Heritage

In order to examine the Serbian historicism and political background it would be proprely to present Serbian historical circumstances. Situated in the Balkan Peninsula the country was between East and West, concrete it was ruled by Orthodox Byzantium, Catholic Austria and the Islamic Ottoman Empire where different cultures and religious merged.

Serbia has been object of international political competition for centuries, as the country is of commercially and military fundamental importance. Therefore, European and Eurasian powers have longstanding interests in the region.

The arrival of the Serbs to the Balkans in the 7th century established several states that formed Serbian Empire in the 14th century; however, Serbia emerged from over 400 years of Turkish colonial rule. From the emergence of the first national liberation movements among Christian subjects of the Ottoman Empire in the early 19th century the region has been chronically unstable European sub-region (Nation, 2004). After the World War I Serbia formed Yugoslavia with South Slavic people and the country existed in different forms until 2006 when the National Assembly declared the independence.

Although the area is one of the most diverse in the world with distinctive ethnic, linguistic and confessional groups, the climate of ethnic and religious intolerance that allowed conflict has been in existence for decades. Precisely since the late 19th and the begginning of the 20th century conflict acquired a distinct ethnic, national and religious character. Furthermore, the Turkish novelist Ottoman Uskub states that hate between peoples condemned to coexist has become the destiny of the Balkans (Reinhardt 2001, pp. 47 - 51), the region that can be assumed as distinctive physical and cultural zone possessed of what Maria Todorova (1997) calls historical and geographic concreteness.

Yugoslavia had for many years served as a source of stability in the Balkans by providing a framework for positive cohabitation between diverse ethnic groups. The communist authorities claimed that South Slavs and other nations living in the region managed to unite upon solid foundation only because of the political guidance and had done so under the ideological premises of brotherhood and unity (Pavlovic 1992, pp. 155 - 124). Tito's Yugoslavia enjoyed advanced relations with the EC and had been based upon Western (primarily American) financial assistance. It can be suggested that communist party had ability to maintain social and political peace among constitutive countries with different nationalities.

However, when Tito died in 1980, the last trace of country's unity disappeared. The nine-man Presidency of the Socialist Federal Republic of Yugoslavia replaced the president and in this period the country faced serious economic difficulties and effectiveness of decision making institutions and procedures came into the question. …

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