People Get Ready

Laura Rozen thinks that the broadcast of a graphic video from the massacre at Srebrenica may mark a tipping point in Serbian public opinion and pave the way for the arrest of Ratko Mladic and his extradition to The Hague.

She quotes an international justice listserv:

B92’s Danijel Bukomirovic, speaking in Dutch on NOS Journaal at 20:00 CET, suggested between the lines the Serbian government had had a hand in the surfacing of the ‘executions tape.’ The dire economic needs of the country make EU accession talks the only option for a better future, but oppositon amongst a majority of the poulation against the ICTY’s demands for the extradition of indicted war criminals stands in the way. A mood swing amongst a public in denial of the Srebrenica massacres would pave the way towards the extradition of Ratko Mladic…

This is part of what’s at stake with EU enlargement, and indirectly with the constitutional treaty.

Prospects of EU membership are quite literally transforming societies in Eastern and Central Europe. They are making changes, making sacrifices. In Serbia, they are facing up to war crimes committed in the name of the Serbian people. In large part, it’s all for a chance at the prosperity that is presumed to go with membership. This is a massive exercise of soft power in the Union’s direct neighborhood.

But the Union has tasks and responsibilities, too. They don’t amount to societal transformation, unlike ECE–and now Southeastern Europe. In fact, the vast majority of the Union’s citizens won’t notice them at all.

One of those tasks is to prepare the Union itself for new members. That means institutions that work. For many years now EU (or EC or whatever) leaders have spoken as if the organization was coterminous with Europe. Over the next decade, that will gradually become true. EU members have claimed the mantle, they must be prepared to wear it. And that means keeping the door open for additional enlargements.

The new members in Central and Eastern Europe worked hard to be ready for membership. Southeastern Europe is working hard to be ready for membership. Will Western Europe work even a little bit to meet its responsibilities?

8 thoughts on “People Get Ready

  1. Oh please. You have no idea whats being transformed , if anything. Your simply playing that intellectually facile holocaust card. ‘Accept the constitution or else.’

    And all this on the heels of the constitutional trouncing. Is FFOE ever going to grow up?

  2. One thing which interests me about the appearance of this video, and the subsequent arrest some of the members of the paramilitary group portrayed in it is the timing. Is this just coincidental,?

    The Observer has a long piece on the history of the tape.,6903,1499516,00.html

    It seems it was given to the Serbian authorities on May 25, but they didn’t act until someone forwarded to the International War Crimes Tribunal the following week. Clearly Sunday’s vote may not be far from people’s minds. It would not be surprising if people who have been pussyfooting around for years suddenly start to act. This was certainly the hope which Carla del Ponti seemed to express when she ‘thanked’ the Serbian authorities for what they are now doing.

    So, yes, ironically, the French vote last Sunday, which was not of course about enlargement as such, can bring tremendous pressure in some places for people to clean up their act.

    In this context don’t miss this action by enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn:

    “In the wake of the two ‘no’ votes in France and the Netherlands, doubts have emerged Europe-wide about the future of the enlargement process. Talking to reporters on 2 June, Enlargement Commissioner Olli Rehn said that “rumours of the death of EU enlargement policy are evidently exaggerated”, and declared that the process is bound to continue “by underlining the need to stick to the criteria of accession to the last letter and better communicating to our citizens the overall balance sheet of enlargement”.

    “Rehn has also confirmed that the Commission will send formal warnings to candidates Bulgaria and Romania as these countries are lagging behind in implementing the required judicial reforms”.

    “In Romania, the main issues are corruption and border controls, the enforcement of state aid controls, and the implementation of environmental laws. In Bulgaria, the concerns centre around judicial reforms, agriculture, environment, intellectual property rights and the free movement of services.”

    I was going to post on this last week, but as you have probably noticed, I got caught up in other matters.

  3. Transformation is meant in the clearly defined sense that it is used here

    the relation to Southeastern Europe as, for example here

    the comparative disadvantages of sticking with Nice are here

    It’s good to see, though, that I’ve struck a nerve by pointing out that the current EU members have obligations to future members.

  4. The EU is not up to it yet. This is bad, but nevertheless true. We cannot sacrifice internal cohesion for the sake of south eastern europe. It would cause a backlash in the long run. It is worse for Turkey. Ex-Yugoslavia in the long run has a chance, but the EU must first rethink itself.

    Furthermore, the EU ruling part of a member’s territory as a force of occupation is impossible. We’d have to first solve the Kosovo problem. And probably it is not realistic to think you can solve Kosovo without touching Bosnia.

  5. “The EU is not up to it yet.”

    This is, unfortunately, probably the case. But note that a lot depends on the kind of outcome we get at the summit. Britain is comitted to deregulation and enlargement. This has been the view since the days of Ms Thatcher.

  6. Britain is comitted to deregulation and enlargement.

    Can’t have both, at least with respect to Turkey and eventually Ukraine. In fact a rollback in services is pretty much inevitable.

  7. I thought that Mladic and Karadic (spelling?) were widely believed to be in Bosnia not Serbia – so is it the case that Mladic is in fact in Serbia?

    As for changing attitudes …. this weekend Duna TV devoted much of its programming to the Treaty of Trianon and its injustice. I believe Duna is widely available in Romania, Doug 🙂 What many in Hungary call Erdelyi was, up until Trianon, part of Hungary for 1000 years – if one is to believe Duna and what Hungarians are taught at school on this issue. EU enlargement will solve the problem but it remains a fractious issue.

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