The spring issue of the Romanian Journal of European Affairs gives us the opportunity to look at interesting topics related to: the Europeanisation of the Western Balkans, with a focus on Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH), the security community theory applied in the BiH, the cooperation and competition in the European Parliament, the risks entailed by the absence of the European parties in the European politics, the reform of the Common Agricultural Policy, the Romanian public and media perception on the Schengen exam.
The Ambivalent Role of the EU in the Western Balkans – “Limited Europeanisation” between Formal Promises and Practical Constrain
Iordan Gheorghe Bărbulescu, Miruna Troncotă
It became a shared opinion among European policy-makers to state that without a serious commitment from the European Union (EU), the Western Balkans (WB) will find itself increasingly isolated from the unfolding developments around it and this may endanger the stability of the entire continent. The scope of this paper is two folded: first, to examine the role of the EU in the WB with a focus on democratic institution-building; second, taking Bosnia-Herzegovina (BiH) as a case study, the article aims to determine whether there is a need for a new theoretical framework in order to more accurately define the specific process of the Europeanisation in the WB. In this regard it proposes the term “limited Europeanisation”. The main theoretical aim of the article is to identify some clear-cut criteria of this phenomenon in the last 14-year evolution of BiH in relation with the EU.
Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, democratisation, Europeanisation, institution building, Western Balkans
Building a Common State Army Forces in Post-War Bosnia-Herzegovina: Assessing its Peace-Building Perspective
When the war in Bosnia ended in December 1995 with the Dayton Agreement, the armed forces in the country were divided along the ethnic lines. However, in 2005 the country’s politicians agreed on defence reforms that led to merging former rival armed forces into a unified army of BiH as a condition for Bosnia to join NATO. Thus, today unified BiH army is making small but significant contributions towards security maintenance both at national and global level. In order to explain efforts of Bosnian politicians to bring the country into the Euro-Atlantic structures and send their troops into multi-national missions we have used the security community theory coined by Karl Deutsch. Thus, NATO-related reforms have strengthened security and peace-building attempts among the former warring ethnic groups. Also, the country’s participation in multi-national peace missions abroad has been a crucial commitment to the world security and peace. Thus, today as a NATO aspirant Bosnia has practically become a country that exports security.
Keywords: Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bosnian Common Army, Euro-Atlantic integration, Multi-national peace operations, NATO, Peace-building, Security
Cooperation and Competition in the European Parliament: A Game Theoretical Interpretation
In this paper the author analyzes the nature of the legislative process which takes place within the European Parliament by studying the bilateral interactions among its relevant decisional groups, i.e. the parliamentary groups. In this sense, the author uses a methodological approach inspired from game theory, describing these interactions in the form of non-cooperative games similar in structure and function to the “negotiator’s dilemma” model proposed by Lax and Sebenius. Through comparing at a theoretical level the optimal strategies employed by parties in national parliaments with a majority-supported government with the optimal strategies employed by groups in the European Parliament the author concludes that the level of bilateral cooperation in the EP surpasses the one existent in national legislatures as cooperation is induced through the systemic relation developed among the groups as well as through institutional and ideological factors.
Keywords: bilateral interaction, competition, cooperation, European Parliament, negotiator’s dilemma, utility function
Can Historical Institutionalism Explain the Reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy?
Historical institutionalism, one of the three variants of new institutionalism, has been largely employed by scholars to explain the development of one of the first policies developed at the European level, namely the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP). Due to historical institutionalism’s claim that policies tend to follow the path set at their creation, it is not surprising that it could easily account for the development of the CAP before 1990s since this was one of the most resistant policies set by the member states of the European Union. The main challenge for historical institutionalism is to explain the shifts that occurred in this policy due to the reforms agreed after 1990, reforms that are often mentioned in the literature as being crucial. The aim of this paper is to show that historical institutionalism can accommodate the 1992 and 2003 reforms of the Common Agricultural Policy, and from this we can infer that the changes needed to adapt this policy of the EU to the conditions of an ever enlarging Europe will take place slowly, if at all.
Keywords: Common Agricultural Policy (CAP), European Union, historical institutionalism, new institutionalism, path-dependence
Book review: Alina Bârgăoanu, Examenul Schengen. În căutarea sferei publice europene [The Schengen Exam. In Search of the European Public Sphere]
“The Schengen Exam. In Search of the European Public Sphere” focuses on the Romanian public sphere and its connectivity to European issues. The public sphere is interconnected to other essential processes, such as establishing legitimacy, public opinion formation, ensuring representation of all positions and opinions, collective identity formation, and deliberation processes. The author tests the viability of the concept of “Europeanized public spheres” in the particular context of the negotiations for Romania’s accession to the Schengen area of free movement. As result of a research project carried out between 10th of January and 22nd of March 2011 by The Centre of Research in Communication, at the Faculty of Communication and Public Relations (The National School of Administrative and Political Studies, Bucharest), the book addresses the following areas: the coverage of the Schengen subject in foreign mass-media, media coverage and framing in Romania, the public perception on the matter and the opinion of Romanian high profile actors involved in European affairs. Overall, the entire research indicates a predominantly local, national perspective when dealing with the Schengen affair, thus suggesting that the Romanian public sphere is largely disconnected, even isolated from EU trends.
Keywords: communication, democratic deficit, Europeanization, public sphere, Romania, Schengen
Les partis politiques européens : les grands absents de la politique européenne
Almost twenty years after their first legal recognition by the Treaty of Maastricht, the European political parties have not induced, as some political elites expected it, a “new era of European politics”. The 2009 European elections or the current European debates show that these parties remain marginal actors of the European decision-making process. In this context, this article approaches two questions related to the European political parties: first: why have these parties formed and developed if they do not play the role classic political parties do; and second: why aren’t they playing this role? The author argues in this article that the answer to the first question is to be found in the spillover process that has been caused by the growth of European Parliament’s competencies and by the debate on EU’s democratic deficit. As for the second question, both the structure of the European political system and the internal heterogeneity of the European political parties limit their capacity to develop. Thus, it seems that EU’s founding compromise between supranational and intergovernmental positions is the most appropriate explication for European political parties’ capacity/incapacity to establish themselves as “key” European actors.
Keywords: democratic deficit, European democracy, European elections, European political parties, spillover