Posts From Luke Bacigalupo

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Europe Politics

Greece ends Macedonia name dispute

On 25 January, the Greek Parliament ratified the Prespa Agreement, thereby ending a 28-year-long dispute over the name of Greece’s northern neighbour. This heralds a new start in Greek-Macedonian relations, but it also has important international implications, including for the NATO and Russia.

Europe Politics

Serbia takes to the streets

Since November 30, anti-government protests have been held across Serbia, including seven in the capital city of Belgrade. Thousands of people have attended. Previous protest campaigns against the current government have failed to bring real change. Will these protests be any different?

Europe Security

Kosovo: Creating a full army out of its security force

Last December, the Government of Kosovo declared that it is turning the Kosovo Security Force into a fully fledged army. This development greatly concerns Serbia, which still maintains that Albanian-dominated Kosovo is Serbian territory.  

Europe Politics

Macedonia’s missing Prime Minister

On 13 November Nikola Gruevski, the ex-Prime Minister of the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), sought asylum in Hungary after his appeal against a prison sentence for corruption failed. His escape and asylum bid will have significant consequences for both FYROM and Europe.

Europe Politics

Ukraine-Hungary: Beyond passports and languages

Relations between Hungary and Ukraine are at a low point. Diplomats have been expelled from both countries following arguments of Ukraine’s language law and Hungary’s issuance of passports in Ukraine. The dispute has implications that go far beyond the two countries’ bilateral relations.

Economics Europe

Can Kosovo’s tariffs on Bosnia and Serbia last?

On 21st November, Kosovo imposed a 100% tariff on all goods produced in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia, increasing the 10% tariffs that were imposed on 6th November. The tariffs contradict the Central European Free Trade Agreement (CEFTA) of which all three territories are signatories. Kosovo has issued similar tariffs before and regularly claims that its products are not treated equally in other CEFTA members’ markets, but it is also seeking to use tariffs for political purposes.

Europe Politics

Serbian visas as diplomacy

Serbia has ensured that its passport holders have visa-free access to a wide range of countries, from Belarus to Indonesia. Many new visa waiver agreements have been signed in the past 5 years, but the most recent agreement, with Iran, was cancelled after one year alone. The failure of the Iran agreement highlights the unique role that visas play in Serbian diplomacy.

Europe Politics

The Orthodox schism: religion as a political instrument

On 15th October, the Russian Orthodox Church announced that it had severed  ties to the Patriarchate of Constantinople after the Patriarch declared that he would grant the Ukrainian Orthodox Church autocephaly, meaning independence from the Russian Church. Until this declaration, the only Orthodox Church in Ukraine that was officially recognized by other Patriarchates was administered from Moscow. While this may seem at first glance to be primarily a religious matter, it is in fact deeply political in nature.

Europe Politics

Bosnia and Herzegovina: Elections, but to what end?

Bosnia and Herzegovina held Presidential and Parliamentary elections on October 7, 2018. An ongoing dispute about the electoral law has left the country unable to legally form a government. Despite this, election results indicate the current state of affairs in the country.

Europe

Kosovo and Serbia: is a land swap a real possibility?

Both President Vučić of Serbia and President Thaçi of Kosovo have recently mentioned a land swap as a way of resolving their territories’ long standing dispute. So what would a land swap involve, and how likely is it to happen?