The Belgrade and Sarajevo offices of the Heinrich Böll Foundation, together with our editor Miloš Ćirić, have invited relevant voices to reflect on what was achieved over the past decades in the fields of documentation, memorialization, and processing of recent history.
The analytical commentaries of this issue discuss the prospects for a just green transition in the Western Balkan countries and their particular contexts of structural injustices in the societies and transition legacies. The fundamental economic and technological changes for a decarbonisation of the widely coal dependent economies in the region need to be accompanied not only by another attitude to nature and biodiversity but also by a new set of social relationships and innovations in governance and civic participation.
This issue of Perspectives is about women. Their rights and struggles for gender equality, which have existed for generations in the Western Balkans, are presented by authors who are themselves part of the feminist struggles.
The EU fails anew to defend European values in the Balkans. Raging destructing ideologies, which have forged ahead during the 1990ies, now bounce back into the EU and endanger the cohesion inside the Union and its very foundations.
The conflicts, social and political turmoils we have witnessed in the western Balkans in the last three decades were, in the minds of many leaders and participants, centred around collective identities whose differences allegedly could not be settled in a nonviolent way. And still, more then 20 years after the wars, patriarchal, homophobic and exclusive tendencies are dominating in the region, shaping a climate of intolerance, of exclusion, of the radical negation of all things humane and rational.
This issue of Perspectives is dedicated to climate change mitigation in the Western Balkans, because of both the global need to limit global warming but also because mitigating climate change, as the articles show, goes hand in hand with development both in terms of economic growth and in terms of health, wellbeing and societal development. With this context in mind, the articles before you shed light upon some of the commonly overlooked aspects of it but also point to solutions which are good starting points for any future changes in how we think of energy, development, and public good more broadly
On this issue of Perspectives, you will find stories written by citizens in the true meaning of that word. They describe what the “right for the city” means to them. Why they perceive their activism as fighting for a common rather than an individual right, and why they choose to fight for one of the most precious yet most neglected of human rights. Reading them, one learns also much about the perfidious ways those in power limit people’s right to the city.
The international community, especially the EU and its member states, seems clumsy and even over-burdened in light of the recklessly proceeding patronage networks in the Balkans: The approach of local ownership which has been propagated for a long while is dangerously ignoring the real balance of power in those countries. How could citizens deal with very diffuse networks, if there are no intact correctives, no free, no independent justice?
Any international intervention has crucial limits: It can change the rules of the game, but it cannot empower local players. The articles collected in this issue of Perspectives Southeast Europe tell stories about the current challenges of international intervention in Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Macedonia and Serbia.
Approaches to understanding the meaning of accession to the European Union vary significantly among the post-Yugoslav countries. For some the process has been an important driving force for changes in their legal and institutional systems.