EU leverage and democratisation in Serbia and Ukraine

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1 Draft: Work in progress. Do not cite EU leverage and democratisation in Serbia and Ukraine By Espen Dahle PHD Student Department of Comparative Politics University of Bergen 1

2 How does the European Union affect democratisation in Eastern Europe and under what circumstances does the EU have a democratising effect? This has been a much debated question in the conditionality literature on the accession process to the EU. This literature has focused on how the EU have either influenced the behaviour of governments or how the EU have influenced the political dynamics between the government and the opposition in the countries which were granted membership status by the EU. Some of these countries have been labelled as electoral democracies or flawed democracies because of their democratic deficiencies. The European Union is seen as having effect on both democratic reforms and governance reforms in these countries (Haughton 2007). The underlying assumption in both these literatures is that to cause domestic change strong enough leverage or active leverage must be put in place by the EU. Leverage is divided in two parts. Passive leverage is the attraction the EU has on the CEE countries without the use of either force or incentives. Second, active leverage is the conditionality system which the EU set up to facilitate economic and political reform in the Central and Eastern European Countries (CEE). Active leverage in both these literatures has been defined as EU s ability to control the accession process of EU enlargement (Vachudová 2005). However, the EU has also the ability to enable the opposition to win elections in countries which are not complying with the demands of the conditionality system. By putting EU pressure on a non reforming government the opposition may use this international critique as an issue in an election campaign and this has, as the case of Slovakia shows, resulted in a new pro European government (Pridham 1999). My argument is that much of the conditionality literature has committed selection bias by only focusing on the European Union s effect on countries which have been accepted as candidate countries. Instead I argue that where the EU has the most profound effect on democratisation and regime reform is when it takes place in countries which are not democracies but competitive authoritarian regimes. The effect takes place with only passive EU leverage and takes place at an earlier stage when the incumbent of a non democratic regime is ousted by a pro European majority through elections because he (among other things) blocs the country s integration into European structures. If this assumption is correct we will find that regimes where the incumbent is ousted from power by pro western forces the new incumbent will conduct reforms necessary to be integrated into the structures of western organisations. The reforms necessary is formulated in the Copenhagen Criteria of These are firstly democratic reforms and secondly governance reforms. This paper is concerned with how the EU affects regime change and reform in non democratic non accession countries and the cases are selected accordingly. Serbia and Ukraine are two cases which had a regime change through an electoral revolution and their political development is presented in depth. My hypothesis is that where there has been a regime change by pro western forces there will be democratic reform. My second hypothesis is that since negative democratic freedoms such as freedom of organisation, free speech and press together with free and fair elections is easier to achieve than whole sale governance reform, governance reform will be slower and more dependent on being placed in the accession framework of the EU. If the accession structures, on the other hand, are not in place reform will be slower or reversed. The reason for this is that it is harder to break up old patronage and rentier 2

3 structures than democratic reforms which to some extent are dependent on non state interference in politics. Even democratic reformers may be dependent on patronage to stay in power. If the theoretical assumptions are correct there will be an alignment towards the Copenhagen criteria in Serbia and Ukraine. I will use democracy indicators from Freedom House and governance indicators from the World Bank to demonstrate the state of affairs before and after the regime change which took place in Serbia in 2000 and Ukraine in I will also process trace the causes of change with qualitative data from literature, documents and interviews. I will also point to how the EU treaty framework between the countries evolved and how this can explain variance between the cases. I will first give a brief account of the conditionality literature on EU accession and how the EU is believed to affect democratisation. I will base my theoretical argument on a modification of Mildu Vachudova s framework on how the EU posses passive and active leverage on state politics and how leverage affects the political competition between government and opposition. My theory is that these assumptions are basically correct but travels further than the initial theory assumes. I will demonstrate that they travel further by applying the theoretical framework on Serbia and Ukraine where the basic assumptions of the theory, namely that the country must be in the EU accession structures, is not met. These cases demonstrate how EU s passive leverage can affect regime reform under a new set of conditions by demonstrating how regime reform is tied to regime change and how governance reform can be connected to countries unilaterally adapting to the EU accession framework. The empirical evidence shows that the soft power or the passive leverage of the EU has been instrumental in securing democratic reform in two competitive authoritarian regimes: Serbia and Ukraine, which through elections had a change of government. The opposition in these countries had as a central campaign issue the return to European standards of democracy and governance as well as EU membership. In both cases of regimes democratic reforms were put through as a result of the change of government. However, the depth of governance reform is dependent on the prospects of membership and the treaty framework between the EU and the new government. In the case of Serbia which were promised applicant status if necessary reforms went through we can also see that the country is advancing on indicators of governance quality. In Ukraine which did not get any promises of membership but was instead included in the European Neighbourhood Partnership together with a series of non democratic and non European regimes the governance indicators does not show the same change over time. 3

4 How the European Union affects political contestation and reform in accession countries One of the main reasons of why the EU has been accredited with political reform in CEE countries is because of the hard conditions which must be met to secure accession to the Union. These are formulated in the Copenhagen declaration of The Copenhagen declaration where the path to accession was drawn up made use of democratic conditionality to secure the right political trajectory for the prospective members 1. This was secured by tying membership to a lengthy bureaucratic process were the CEE countries were monitored on how well they complied to the Copenhagen criteria on first: political criteria such as democracy, rule of law and protection for minorities, second a functioning market economy and third the implementation of the Acquis Communautaire. The EU issued reports on how well the countries complied and these had effect on when and if the countries moved forward in the accession process. The problem with EU conditionality is that even though these incentives and sanctions are applied over a set of countries the compliance of the CEE countries has differed and finding out if and how conditionality has an effect on accession countries has been the central challenge for the conditionality literature. In this literature the independent variable EU conditionality is constant while the dependent variable political and economic reform varies between the laggards and the success stories. Concluding if the EU has had an effect on the country in question becomes more difficult. An answer to this problem has been to try to differentiate between forms of yielding power or phases of yielding power on the accession countries. In a review of the conditionality literature Tim Haughton comes with the following observation: Indeed, the process of joining the EU can be disaggregated into three stages: pre-accession, the accession negotiations and, sandwiched between these two, the decision phase when the EU decides whether to open up accession negotiations or not. I argue that the EU s transformative power varied across these phases, being at the strongest during the decision phase of whether or not to open up accession negotiations (Haughton 2007) p Vachodova divides EU transformative power into active and passive leverage. In her theory on democratic reform in CEE countries after the fall of the Iron Curtain, which were applying for membership to the European Union, Vachudova points to why a set of countries were regressing on their path to democracy while a different set of countries were advancing towards consolidated democracy. She also explains which role the EU played in turning the former group on to a liberal path. In CEE countries without, or a very weak political opposition to communism, the new government after the fall of communism in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia was to a large degree made up of actors from the old regime. These actors did not hold a sincere commitment to liberal democracy and market economy. To be able to hold on to power these actors had to rely on illiberal political competition to win elections and 1 Other IGOs in this region such as the Council of Europe (COE) and NATO also had democracy as a formal requirement. For COE this requirement has not been enforced while for NATO the enlargement process has taken place at the same time with the same states as the EU so it is difficult to entangle an effect on democratisation. NATO did not have a comprehensive monitoring mechanism in place to vet the regimes. 4

5 rent collection to finance patrimonial networks. Political and economic wholesale reform would endanger the political position of these actors and the consequence was only limited reform. The three other countries in her study Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary had a political opposition during the last period of communism. After Communism collapsed this opposition took over and developed the country in a liberal democratic direction. In these countries the former communist parties reformed and continued to participate in democratic political contestation. The political situation in Serbia under Milosevic and Ukraine under Kuchma is in many respects parallel to Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia. In both these countries the former communist elite continued in government under different party labels after the collapse of communism. Both Serbia and Ukraine had only limited liberal economic reform which opened the possibility for patrimonial networks and rentier politics (Thomas 1999) (D'Anieri 2007). EU leverage and democratic reform Under which conditions does the European Union have the power to reform the illiberal group of countries and how is this applicable for Serbia and Ukraine? The advantages of EU membership are enormous for a CEE country. The country does not just get structural funds and access to expertise to develop, it also secures access to the inner marked, with all the legal safeguards this entail, making the country much safer for economic investors (Moravcsik 2005). Even though the incentives are there a country may try to acquire membership without comprehensive reform. That is why for an organisation, like the EU, needs leverage to affect a political system. Vachudova divides leverage into two components: passive leverage and active leverage. Passive leverage is the attraction the EU has on the CEE countries without the use of either force or incentives. Second, active leverage is the conditionality system which the EU set up to facilitate economic and political reform in the CEE countries. The conditionality system is incentive based so that compliance to the EU demands is met by offering economic incentives both in the form of aid, favourable access to the EU marked and EU membership. Non compliance is sanctioned by the removal of the incentives. Vachudova concludes that with active leverage the EU is able to affect the behaviour of the CEE governments. Active leverage starts when the EU is in the decision face of allowing countries to apply for membership and when the membership negotiations proceeds. According to much of the literature on democratic conditionality it is only at this point in time that the EU has enough leverage to make CEE governments reform their policy. Even though it may have been in a country s material interest to join the EU, not every country made the necessary reforms to do so. Vachudova argues that the experience in the CEE 10 countries tell us that passive leverage of the EU was not enough to change the politics of neither the countries with the illiberal incumbents or the group with liberal incumbents. In the period before the conditionality structures were put in place by the EU, three of the countries in her study Poland, the Czech Republic and Hungary developed in a liberal democratic direction. Three other countries: Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia on the other hand developed in an illiberal direction. In this group the passive leverage of the European 5

6 Union did not cause these regimes to reform their economic and political system. Even though EU membership was a valued foreign policy goal, staying in power mattered more for the incumbent. As a consequence painful economic reform was put on hold. Low levels of political competition at home together with minimal monitoring by the EU meant that these regimes could have it both ways. They quite successfully combined illiberal competition as well as fronting a popular policy in the domestic opinion. During this period they also mobilised by appealing to ethno nationalistic sentiments. It only later became clear that these ways of practicing politics did not combine when the EU started using its active leverage after However by the 1995 Romania was ruled by unreconstructed communists in coalition with extremist. Bulgaria was ruled by unreconstructed communist and Slovakia was ruled by national populist together with extremists. This goes to show that even with active leverage over the government the EU did not possess the ability to reform the politics of the incumbent (Vachudová 2005). Even though active leverage did not make politics more liberal in Bulgaria, Romania and Slovakia, active leverage helped reform in two other ways. First, in countries which did not have a history for critical public opinion the illiberal incumbents enjoyed an information advantage over the opposition where they were willing and able to distort how their countries were progressing towards EU membership. In this way they could portray themselves as an EU friendly leadership towards the domestic opinion when they in fact were taking their country in another direction. The EU helped undermine the information strategies of the government. Second, the EU strengthened the oppositional parties and civil society and helped shaping these organisations political agenda. By doing this they secured good relations with the opposition which as it turned out proved to be positive for both parts. The society represents an alternative conduit for the influence of an international organization on domestic politics. Here the international organization can counteract the illiberal rulers free hand in the democratizing polity. That is, it can make the political system more competitive by pursuing information-oriented and institution-oriented strategies to circumvent the government and interact with other domestic actors (Vachudová 2005) p 142. In the 1996 election in Romania, the 1997 election in Bulgaria and the 1998 election in Slovakia these countries had a change of government. The opposition was able to win a majority in the election where EU relations were an important issue during the election campaign. Whether their stand on EU relations were the cause of their victory is difficult to answer. It is however clear that the new government had a new progressive approach towards political and economic reform. The new approach was to reform the state in accordance with the Copenhagen criteria. It was only after the EU started monitoring these countries in the period after 1993, that is in the period Vachudova classifies as EU having active leverage, that the true state of these regimes were revealed and the opposition could use this information in an election campaign. Passive leverage as cause of democratisation In Vachudova s analysis it was only after the accession process had started and the EU could use active leverage that this had an effect on the domestic dynamics of politics. During the period of passive leverage the effect of EU accession on economic and political liberalisation was ex ante unknown for all actors. However, as the EU s toolbox on accession was being developed, put into place and tested across a variety 6

7 of countries it became clear what the boundaries of acceptable behaviour in the CEE countries were. The monitoring process and meritocratic application of the accession framework made it clear that the accession countries would not be let in if they were not fully committed to reform on key issues like democracy. My argument is that passive leverage does indeed play a role, but this role only becomes clear by studying those countries which did not qualify to be part of the EU accession framework. A reason of why only active leverage has been accredited with democratic and governance reform is because the cases which have been studied have belonged to a regime type which were already an electoral democracy and where the EU had active leverage. The democratic change came while the EU was holding active leverage over the accession countries. However, as Vachudova has shown, these countries reformed as a result of a change of government. The EU has been credited with playing a role in this change of government because it aided the opposition by supplying them with political arguments and information. My argument is that the opposition may use the EU integration issue by themselves without the EU playing an active part. The reason for this is that the same mechanisms of reform have taken place where the EU holds no active leverage. By opening up the scope of case selection to competitive authoritarian regimes which is not in the accession structures a change of government to a liberal pro European one may lead to reform. This goes to show that the actual mechanism behind the reform is domestically driven by passive leverage. Serbia and Ukraine were at the time up until the regime change never invited to apply for membership in the Union and subsequently the EU never possessed any active leverage over the countries. However many of the same processes were taking place in these countries regardless of their EU status. If this theory is applicable on Serbia and Ukraine the following conditions should be present. 1. In countries with illiberal democracies or competitive authoritarian regimes the incumbent often uses patronage and rentier politics to stay in power. 2. Political contestation although suppressed is not totally banned. 3. The opposition competes for votes by running on democratic and political reform. These reforms are tied to integrating the country to Western and European standards and structures. They use the success of other CEE countries as an argument to support their policies. 4. The opposition in the competitive authoritarian regimes has a record of oppositional politics and their leaders can not trace a direct line to the old regime. They are therefore not that dependent on patronage and rentier politics as tools to stay in power that illiberal incumbents are and which hampers the reform effort If the hypothesis that passive leverage of the EU plays a role for democratic and governance reform the new incumbents should: 5. Democratise and liberalise political contestation in the polity by holding free and fair election and ending the governments hold on electronic media as well as ending harassment of the opposition. 7

8 6. When in power the new incumbents will unilaterally instigate a process of democratic and governance reforms to converge with European standards formulated in the Copenhagen criteria. 7. If reform is not met with a promise of membership and integration in the conditionality structures this may result in regress because the new incumbent can not deliver on the election promise of European integration and may rely on the old patronage structures to stay in power. Democracy and governance in Serbia and Ukraine For a regime change to be the cause of democratic and governance reform we must establish the state of affairs before and after the change. A central argument here is that the opposition was running on a pro European agenda and that this agenda was a contrast to the incumbent and also that this agenda of trying to implement the Copenhagen criteria was acted on after the regime change. The Copenhagen Criteria includes democracy, rule of law and protection for minorities, second a functioning market economy and third the implementation of the Acquis Communautaire. It is therefore important to inquire whether these countries have changed on these criteria before and after the electoral revolutions in 2000 in Serbia 2 and in 2004 in Ukraine. However, because of the scope of the Copenhagen Criteria I will focus on democracy and governance, and also demonstrate how EU relations between the countries were affected by the regime change. Mapping this change is important to demonstrate how EU s passive leverage can bring about reform. Democracy In the following I will demonstrate that the countries can be classified as competitive authoritarian. Some of the features of a Competitive Authoritarian regime are while political contestation is perfectly legal and the countries have universal suffrage in elections, this is not a hindrance for the incumbent to try to control the outcome of the elections to a certain degree. In countries with low public participation outside elections, weak civil society and weak and fragmented oppositional parties, control over the electronic media as well as harassment of the printed media is a common way to ensure the lack of oppositional support (Levitsky 2002). The recourses of the state is also used for the incumbent s advantage. This is made possible by trying to control the vote of public employees and using state recourses in the election campaign. Serbia and Ukraine is going to be analysed on whether the state of democracy has changed in the countries. I will measure this by applying the Freedomhouse score together with qualitative evidence such as a brief presentation of the state of political contestation in the countries and the quality of the elections. I will also look into the role of the media. 2 In this paper I will use the term Serbia to refer to this country even though the formal name of the country has been different. This is because of the weak Yugoslavian federal institutions and the predominance of Serbian politics within the federation. 8

9 Governance and marked economy Following Vachudova s analysis of illiberal regimes I will present evidence to whether patronage and rentier capitalism existed. These structures give the incumbent an unfair advantage in electoral politics are not compatible with a well functioning consolidated democracy or EU accession. It can be argued that if these structures exist the country will have a low score on the World Banks governance indicators (WGI). These indicators are: Control of corruption, Rule of law, Regulatory quality and Government effectiveness. If a country takes unilateral steps of advancing to EU membership the countries will progress on this scale. Before analysing the cases separately a comparison on democratic change between the groups where the EU had passive leverage (Serbia and Ukraine) and the illiberal group in Vachedova s analysis (Romania, Bulgaria and Slovakia) where the EU had active leverage may be interesting to demonstrate the effect of passive leverage. In the period where EU had active leverage (after 1993) we see there has been an increase on the FH score for both groups. We see that the increase on the democracy score has been just as big for the countries in the passive leverage group. This group has also gone from being competitive authoritarian to electoral democracies because of the lack of free and fair elections. It is therefore appropriate to say they have gone trough a democratic transition. Chart 1: Freedom House democracy scores from Bulgaria, Romania, Slovakia, Serbia and Ukraine The Polity IV dataset shows the same trend for Serbia but only for a lesser degree for Ukraine. A reason for this may be that in accordance to the background report the Ukrainian 1999 presidential election was believed to be free and fair, which it was not (Polity-IV (2007) "Polity IV Country Report 2007: Ukraine." Volume, DOI:. 9

10 The state of democracy and governance in Serbia Competitive authoritarianism, the rise of Slobodan Milosevic and the civil war in the western Balkans is closely interlinked. As chart 1 show, communist rule in the Socialist Federation of Yugoslavia was never replaced with democracy in Serbia. However, Serbia as most of the other ex communist countries started having multi party elections in Even though the formal democratic institutions were there, Serbia stayed firmly in the Not free category up until 1999, the year before Milosevic was ousted from power. We see a change already in The score reflects that the opposition was getting stronger and won the local elections in Serbia in The score also includes the state of democracy in Montenegro which had a change of government to the anti Milosevic coalition in 1997 (Freedomhouse 2002). During the years of Milosevic rule Serbia had two blocks of parties which were divided by their democratic credentials i.e. if the party was willing to sit in a non democratic government. The socialist party, SPS, which was headed by Milosevic, was the successor party to the Yugoslav communist party. SPS policies were both nationalistic and socialist. In an era where many post communist countries were instigating pro marked reform, SPS was a proponent of only limited reform and privatisation. The other parties in this block were the extreme nationalist party SRS, which sometimes ruled in coalition with SPS and sometimes in opposition. The block also consisted of the communist party, Yugoslav United Left (JUL), headed by Milosevic s wife. The pro democratic bloc consisted of the Serbian Renewal Party (SPO), the Democratic Party (DS) and the Democratic Party of Serbia (DSS) as well as several smaller parties. These parties were generally more pro marked but they differed on the nationalist question of whether all Serbs should be united in one state 4. One of the major difficulties of the democratic opposition was how divided it was. 5 The consequence was that the opposition lost legitimacy in the eyes of the voters and was a lesser threat to the regime in the elections (Goati 2001). When the democratic opposition managed to form a cohesive coalition they showed that they had the ability to change the outcome of an election process. The local elections in 1996, where the opposition managed to win in the urban centres, were first cancelled by the regime. The opposition organised mass demonstrations which in the end forced the regime to give in. Milosevic s rule ended with mass protests after the stolen federal presidential election in The opposition joined forces in the Democratic Opposition of Serbia (DOS). The opposition were able to demonstrate that the Yugoslav presidential election was fraudulent and were able to mobilise enough people in demonstrations to topple the regime (Thompson 2004). Elections The quality of the Serb elections varied through the nineties. In the early nineties the election results are believed to reflect the votes cast. However, by the second presidential and parliamentary election in Serbia in 1992 the OSCE election observation mission reported that the election were neither free nor fair (ODIHR 4 One of the more confusing aspects of Serbian politics is how the democratic parties changed their policies on the national issue during the nineties. SPO was in 1990 considered to be more nationalistic than SPS. During the war in Bosnia Herzegovina it was in favour of the International Crisis Group treaty to end the war while the liberal democratic DS was against (Thomas, 1999) 5 This was both due to personal issues between the party leaders and political differences on questions not related to democratic governance. As a consequence one party in the democratic opposition would boycott the election while another would run. This happened in the two round presidential election in Serbia in The first round showed that no candidate from the democratic opposition had won enough votes for the runoff, hence SPS was running against SRS (Goati, 2001). 10

11 1993) P:13 due to the complete control of, and abuse of, electronic media as well as election irregularities favouring Milosevic s SPS at election day. As the regime grew more uncertain of their support in the public they started rigging the elections on a large scale. This was done at the polling station level during the Serbian presidential election in 1997, especially in Kosovo where the ethnic Albanian minority were boycotting the elections and where the lack of voters could boost the vote of the incumbent by ballot stuffing. Even though these elections were not observed by international election observers the result themselves points to large scale rigging 6. The election law were also changed and interpreted to the advantage of the incumbent. One example is the increase of the number of electoral districts immediately before the 1997 parliamentary election in Serbia without the oppositions consent. The consequence was that the rules of the election were uncertain while the outcome was not. During the Yugoslav presidential election in 2000 there was obvious evidence of fraud such as the report of The Official Gazette of FRY stating that number of ballots cast was higher than the number of used ballot papers (Goati 2001). The opposition in Serbia was harassed by the regime. Vuc Draskovic, the SPO leader, was jailed and beaten by the police in 1993 and two assassination attempts were carried out in 2000 (Moore 2000). Zoran Djindjic, the DS leader, was put on trial and sentenced by the regime for accusations of slandering the republic s president. He was also beaten by the police during a demonstration against the clamp down of Studio B, a oppositional TV channel, in 1997 (Thomas 1999). These were by far the only cases. Media The State media during Milosevic s rule was clearly in the incumbents favour. The independent media faced tough working conditions and were subject to harassment. There was not a clear divide between the state media and SPS. An illustration of this is that the SPS politician Milorad Vucelic functioned simultaneously as the head of state TV and the head of the SPS parliamentary group between 1991 and 1995 (Thomas 1999). Media analysis of the amount and partiality of the political coverage at the time of Serbian elections conducted by Serbian social scientists shows that the state media clearly favoured the SPS (Goati 2001). This impression is confirmed by OSCE election observation missions (ODIHR 1997). The non state electronic media were, however, critical to the regime. Studio B, a private TV channel which reached the greater Belgrade area, were able to give a critical coverage until the government stifled it in 1995 claiming the privatisation of the TV station had been unlawfully. The socialisation of the station brought a new leadership, the purging of 20 journalists and a change of focus to entertainment and sport instead of currant affairs. The independence of Studio B was reinstated for a brief period after the opposition won the local elections in 1996 giving them access to the board of the channel and this channels coverage would be dependent on which relations SPO had with the government (Thomas 1999). On the 17 th of May 2000 police took over the offices of Studio B, the oppositional radio channel B 92 and the oppositional newspaper Blic. Governance 6 In certain constituencies in Kosovo inhabited by Kosovo Albanians Milosevic would get a 100% of the votes with a 100% turnout (Authors interview with director of CESID Zoran Lucic). 11

12 Due to the only limited privatisation of the state dominated Serbian economy, political power also came with economical power. The SPS, as the communist successor party, inherited strong economic patronage structures in society which gave them an unfair advantage in electoral politics. Of the privatised enterprises the business owners owed their wealth to the SPS and remained loyal to the party (Thomas 1999). During the 1990s, Milosevic s rule became increasingly Sultanistic. The center of power consisted of Milosevic and his wife Mira Markovic. Milosevic acted like a mafia group in the economy. Those loyal to Milosevic and his wife were awarded with patronage and leading government posts, thus ensuring a high degree of regime control over Serbia s political and economic elite (Thompson 2004) p 164. These structures are reflected in the governance indicators of the World Bank in chart 2. As we can see the values increase strongly after the regime change in Chart 2: Governance indicators Serbia: Serbia and EU relations Due to the civil wars on the Western Balkans stabilising this area is a major foreign policy priority for the European Union. The Serbian prospects for seeking membership have been present though dependent on the fall of the Milosevic regime. The Serbian national question which is connected to the civil wars made effective pro European oppositional politics difficult in Serbia. The reason for this is that even the democratic opposition consisting of DS, DSS and SPO as well as various smaller parties was committed to the idea of a Greater Serbia and sometimes did not support international treaties which the Milosevic regime favoured. However after the Dayton treaty was signed, ending the war in Bosnia Herzegovina, the settlement of the national question opened up for pro European opposition to the regime. 12

13 Since 1988 the Serbian national question has been an issue on the political scene. When the party was created that theme was number one, and the next five places were empty. With the coming of peace it will fall into third place and in the first two will be found quality of life and entry into Europe (Party leader for DS and Future Serb Prime Minister Djindjic quoted in Thomas 1999: 256). This opening was followed by stronger relations between the Serbian opposition and European institutions. In January 1996 DS sent a delegation to the Council of Europe in Strasbourg to discuss Yugoslavia s relations with this organisation. The issue of returning to Europe was also one of the dominating themes when the three opposition parties, DS, SPO and GSS were holding a big rally in Belgrade on the 9 th of March The speeches were held under the blue flag of the European Union. The reasoning behind this symbolism was to create a distance between the European opposition and the Eastern orientation of the regime. The oppositional forces also used alignment to Europe as a theme in the demonstrations following the aftermath of the fraudulent local elections in After the success of the peaceful demonstrations in Belgrade the Serbian opposition was taken more seriously by western governments and were invited for talks with senior ministers. The coalition also presented a political program where EU membership by 2005 was a declared goal (Thomas 1999). This goal was repeated when the democratic opposition again tried to form a coalition in January 2000 after many setbacks (Moore 2000). However, the opposition s relations with the EU had its ups and downs. In connection with the sanctions prohibiting oil shipments Djindjic blamed the EU for not giving any concessions to the Serbian opposition thereby making them look ineffective to the voters (Moore 2000). SPS line on European integration varied. Its actions in government made it impossible to achieve any concession from the EU and the west was frequently used as scapegoat for the country s problems. The Union s policy towards the regime in Serbia during the Milosevic era was to negotiate peace agreements with it to stabilise the Western Balkans and wait for a regime change for further cooperation. On the 15 th of August 2000 the new coalition Democratic Opposition of Serbia launched its new program Contract with Serbia: The program stresses that "we oblige ourselves to renew popular confidence in the state, root out corruption in public institutions, and together embrace comprehensive reforms so that Serbia can return to its rightful place in the community of European states." The program calls on the legislature to bring Serbian law into harmony with European standards within 100 days and institute a program of economic legislation, including currency and taxation reforms (Moore 2000). These goals may in retrospect seem overtly ambitious. It is however clear that the opposition was aiming for a new western course for Serbia where they were going to adapt their own institutions to that of European standards. EU membership has been popular in the Serbian opinion with 86% of the population in favour of membership in the spring of 2000 and therefore a smart policy as the focus of the election campaign (Pantic 2007). Democracy and governance after the Milosevic regime Those who had hoped that the fall of Milosevic would lead to political stability in Serbia were to be disappointed. It did however lead to democracy. The 18 party coalition DOS defeated Milosevic in the federal presidential election where Vojislav Kostunica of the DSS was elected in the first round. Even though the official results 13

14 showed that Kostunica got the most votes in round one, the official result showed that he did not get more than 50% and that a second round was called for. The opposition were by conducting a parallel vote tabulation able to refute this result claiming the election had been stolen. The regime gave in after large scale protests. The next election was the Serbian parliamentary election where DOS also got a majority and Zoran Djindjic was appointed Prime Minister. However after only a year in office the coalition was facing difficulties which were caused by cooperation problems between the leaders of the two largest parties: Djindjic of DS and Kostunica of DSS. These problems were both personal and generated by political differences. On the political level Djindjik favoured rapid economic reform and the integration of Serbia into European and international organisations. Kostunica, a democratic nationalist and proponent of rule of law, prioritised building democratic institutions. DSS left the DOS coalition in The 2002 Serbian presidential election proved to be inconclusive due to less than 50% turnout and it was not until 2004 under the new constitution that the presidency was filled as a result of an election. In 2003 Zoran Djindjic was assassinated by organised crime creating a state of emergency in Serbia and a new parliamentary election in 2003 (Todosijevic 2004). The perpetrators were believed to have its out spring in a gang of ex secret police officials (Pavlovic 2004). Even though SPS did not regain its strength in the Serbian elections, SRS continued to do well both in parliamentary and presidential elections. The former coalition parties in DOS managed to keep SRS out of government even though SRS got the most votes both in the parliament elections of 2003 and SRS also did well in the 2004 presidential election where the new DS leader Boris Tadic won. This goes to show that the political forces which had backed the Milosevic regime were still popular in the opinion of the voters. The strong standing of SRS also goes to show that the new incumbents were running a real political risk to their own rule when they were instigating democratic reforms. Democracy Many of the authoritarian traits of the Milosevic regime came to a close with the regime change. Political contestation could now take place without the danger of government harassment. Maybe the most notable achievement has been the increase in the quality of the elections and the election process, and how fast this change came about. The elections after the 2000 presidential elections have been considered to be free and fair by international observers. The OSCE election observation report from the first Serbian parliamentary elections three months after the fall of Milosevic states: The election was conducted largely in line with accepted international standards for democratic elections. Fundamental freedoms were respected during the pre-election period. (ODIHR 2000) Another sweeping change has been in the media coverage of politics. Milosevic s Law on Public Information which was designed to curb free media was repealed (Bardos 2003). New legislation guaranteed freedom of the media. Even though many of the formal democratic requirements were put into place some less democratic incidents took place. One example was when Djindjic expelled DSS representatives in the republican parliament from their seats on the grounds of absenteeism. There was much debate about the legality of this move with the federal Supreme Court declaring it illegal while the republican Supreme Court found it legal. In the end Djindjic backed down and the representatives were reinstated (Bardos 14

15 2003). Under the state of emergency following Djindjic s assassination some civil liberities such as freedom of press were retracted for over a month. Serbia s relations with the European Union after Milosevic Milosevic s regime fell in October Already in November had Serbia and the EU agreed on the Framework Agreement Federal Republic of Yugoslavia-EU for the provision of Assistance and Support by the EU to the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (Enlargement 2009). Also in November the EU and the governments of the countries in the Western Balkan signed the declaration at the Zagreb Summit on the Stabilisation and Association Process (SAP) preparing these countries for membership through the conditionality mechanism. Serbia was one of the countries invited to take part in the SAP. At this point in time the EU had not formalized its enlargement strategy for Serbia or the Western Balkans. This strategy was put into place on the Thessaloniki European Council in June However, for Serbia to be able to take part in the SAP, which would formalize the accession process, the country had to cooperate fully with the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY). Even though Milosevic was extradited to the ICTY in June 2001 Serbia s bilateral relations with the EU suffered because the ICTY did not declare that Serbia was cooperating fully with the Tribunal. Already in the 2005 Serbia and Montenegro progress report the EU Commission declared that the political part of the Copenhagen Criteria had been sufficiently met and the country was ready for Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) negotiations (Commission 2005). ICTY believed that one of the indicted Bosnian Serb war criminals General Ratko Mladic was within the reach of Serb authorities and the EU subsequently refused to negotiate a SAA agreement with Serbia in However the negotiations resumed in 2007 and the SAA was signed by the Serbian government and the EU in It now awaits ratification by the European Council. En interesting point which goes to show that passive leverage is enough to instigate reform is that the Serbian government is adapting to the Copenhagen Criteria even if it does not have a SAA agreement. Serbia is also implementing the Acquis Communitaire in its own laws(-european-integration-office 2009). EU and Serbian relations have evolved through a series of working groups and programs. Serbia receives financial aid and beneficial trade agreements which are formalized through European Partnership agreements. The EU is also monitoring Serbia s progress on the Copenhagen Criteria. These progress reports show that Serbia is advancing on the various Copenhagen Criteria (COMMUNITIES 2008). However Serbia is still only a potential candidate country and not a candidate country like Croatia. The causes of reform How can it be argued that it was the passive EU leverage and a commitment to implement the Copenhagen Criteria which was a cause for the overall reform? This is difficult to prove and the democratic credentials of the new regime are most likely a cause of its own. The steady advancement on the Copenhagen Criteria and the unilateral implementation of EU standards indicate that this is the case. Also by studying the choices of the post Milosevic regime an argument can be made that the regime would probably have acted differently if it was not trying to maintain good relations with the EU. In the years after the Milosevic regime, Serbia s government have faced a series of challenges which could have jeopardised the democratisation 15

16 and European integration effort. In Serbian politics a salient cleavage exists on the country s relation with western organisations. The nationalist position is represented in the SRS which does not favour giving in to western institutions having had their own party leader Vojislav Seselj extradited to ICTY and favouring closer relations with Russia 7. Regressing on the democratic standards would be tempting in a series of close election raises. Also, favouring less comprehensive economic reform could be popular with the public. The EU s policy of giving the ICTY a veto on the Serbia European integration prospects has also caused unpopular setbacks for the Serbian government. There are also some concrete events were the government prioritised good relations with the EU over popular domestic choices. The extradition of Milosevic and the cooperation with ICTY has been an issue of much controversy in Serbia. Within the DOS coalition Kostunica preferred to charge Milosevic at home. Djindjic on the other hand handed Milosevic over to the ICTY in a process of questionable legality. The declaration of Kosovo s independence in 2008 is also an example where Serbia would probably have acted differently had it not been a part of the European integration processes. Serbia would most likely have taken strong diplomatic measures towards many of its neighbouring countries and EU countries for recognising the Serbian region as independent state. In stead Serbia chose to let the UN decide on the legality of this move. Democracy and governance in Ukraine during the Kuchma presidency Since independence in 1991 Ukraine have resided in the partly free category (Chart 1). It was not until after the Orange revolution in 2004 that the country moved into the free category. Classifying whether the country is a competitive authoritarian or an electoral democracy is difficult solely relying on this score (Diamond 2002). I will claim that it is competitive authoritarian due to the lack of free and fair elections, harassment of the opposition and the strong pro regime media bias. Ukraine s transition from Communism started well and the country was the first of the Commonwealth of Independent states which had a change of government as a consequence of an election (Haran 2003). Unlike the Baltic countries and Poland, Ukraine did not posses a democratic opposition who would take power at independence from the Soviet Union. Instead the old communist elite in coalition with the weak national democratic opposition took power, basing their rule on the old communist constitutional structures 8. Ukraine s first president Leonid Kravchuk, the former speaker in the Soviet Verkhavna Rada saw it as a national priority of building the Ukrainian nation (Kuzio 1998). Leonid Kuchma ran against the incumbent Kravchuk and won the presidential election in 1994 (D'Anieri 2007). In Ukraine the political parties are notoriously weak and have not been able to behave cohesively with regards to splinters or even controlling how the party votes in parliament. Except the Communist party they are centred around a leader figure. 7 Authors interview with Alexandar Martinovic, Deputy Sercretary General of SRS 8 The nationally oriented opposition in RUHK was at this time not certain independence would become a reality. Their support base was in the western Ukraine and they lacked support in Eastern and Southern Ukraine which mainly consists of Russian speaking Ukrainians without the nationally oriented preferences of the west. They were therefore in the tough position were they could try to take power themselves like the opposition in the Baltic s, or they could cooperate with the communist which were now repositioning themselves. 16

17 However because of weak laws concerning party formation and money available from the business sector, ambitious politicians can easily create and successfully run under a new party label. Parliamentary immunity has also been a refuge for business men fearing the tax authorities. A result of the lack of role call voting rules was that the individual MP could vote in secret. This contributed to political corruption and a lack of cohesive party structures (Wilson 2005). It was not until the 2002 parliamentary elections where Our Ukraine did well that Ukraine would get a credible opposition party (D'Anieri 2007). Elections and contestation Kuchma was initially elected in elections which were believed to reflect the preferences of the voters(odihr 1994). After the 1999 presidential election the OSCE no longer found the elections to be in accordance with international standards. The parliamentary elections the year before had been a prelude to this. State control of the electronic media, harassment of the political opponents of the regime, state recourses used to pressure voters, as well as outright election fraud contributed to this negative election observation report (ODIHR 1999). Even though the election report of the 2002 parliamentary election was negative, the opposition consisting of Our Ukraine did get the largest number of votes (ODIHR 2002). The 2004 presidential election was also marred with election fraud. Most notable was the manipulation of the vote tabulation where more than a million votes were added to the result. This gave Kuchma s candidate for the presidency Viktor Yanukovych the necessary votes needed to win in an already close election race (Wilson 2005). Oppositional politics in Ukraine was not without dangers. There have been assassinations of oppositional politicians and critical journalists. Viktor Yushchenko was poisoned and barely survived during the presidential campaign and there have been other suspicious deaths such as the accident which killed the Rukh party leader Viacheslav Chornovil (D'Anieri 2007). The electronic media in Ukraine were to a large extent biased during Kuchma s rule. Even though the country had both state and private TV channels, the link between the regime and the economical elite owning these channels was so strong that it influenced the coverage of politics (D'Anieri 2007). Governance In Ukraine a large sector of the economy was owned by the state, hence the government controlled who to give positions in these companies. The opportunity for patronage existed and was used by the political leadership to stay in power. By controlling who manages the state companies, income from these sectors can be used to buy influence and finance election campaigns. It can also be used to control the vote of the workers in these institutions. The privatisation process in the early nineties made some individuals very rich. Especially in the heavy industrialised Donetsk region was this a fact. The Donetsk clan, as they are known, have been vital in building up the Party of Regions with its leader Yanukovych (Wilson 2005). EU relations Although President Kuchma favoured good relations with the European Union, the authoritarian traits of the regime together with EU enlargement fatigue contributed to a lack of European integration. The country s EU relations were managed through the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) an instrument which does not open up for membership. Other countries in the ENP are the North African and the Middle 17

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