Europe: Soft Power Is No Power

Joost Lagendijk, Huffington Post, 13.5.2013.

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It would be an understatement to say the European Union is going through difficult times. Most of its member states are stuck in an economic crisis that many Europeans blame on austerity measures enforced by the EU, perceived as a faraway, bureaucratic entity that has spun out of control and is out of touch with the concerns and hardships of ordinary Europeans. In many countries, Eurosceptic parties are booming in the opinion polls, calling for either a full withdrawal from the EU or at least a stop to giving the EU more powers. Pro-Europeans have a hard time defending their vision of a more integrated EU -- according to them, the only way for Europe to get out of the current crisis and be prepared for the challenges of the 21st century.

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The big difference between Kosovo and Republic of Srpska

Jelena Milić, Al Jazeera Balkans, 26.4.2013.

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The visit of two BiH Presidency members, Chairman Nebojša Radmanović and Presidency member Bakir Izetbegović to Belgrade, during which they met with the President of Serbia Tomislav Nikolić, remained, in Serbia, in the media shadow of the recently reached agreement between Belgrade and Prishtina.

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Serbia-Kosovo Deal Should Boost the EU’s Western Balkans Policy

Stefan Lehne, Carnegie Europe, 23.4.2013.

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The agreement reached between Serb Prime Minister Ivica Dačić and Kosovar Prime Minister Hashim Thaci on April 19, 2013, is certainly a big deal. It is set to establish a power-sharing arrangement in the north of Kosovo with authorities that are acceptable to both sides—up until now, the Serb-majority northern territories were run by authorities supported by Belgrade, but they rejected Pristina’s rule. The agreement will enhance local self-government through an association of Serb-majority municipalities and institute new arrangements for the police and the judiciary.

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A breakthrough at last

Economist, 20.4.2013.

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“HABEMUS PACTUM!” tweeted Vlora Citaku, Kosovo’s minister for European integration. Serbia and Kosovo had just reached a deal. It came on April 19th after ten grueling rounds of negotiation between the prime ministers of the two countries under the personal supervision of Baroness Ashton, the European Union’s foreign policy chief (pictured above).

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