The Role of the European Union in the Promotion of Western Balkan “Stabilitocracies:” Case Study of Serbia
Master of Arts
Department or Program
In recent years, several regional experts have supported the term “stabilitocracy” to describe the current state of the relationship between the European Union and the Western Balkans, and to depict the autocracies with clear democratic shortcomings who staunchly claim their commitment to democratic reforms. A “stabilitocracy” is believed to represent a significant shortcoming of the EU’s vision to expand the Union and get the former Yugoslav states to maintain peace, align on foreign policy issues and join the European market. Granted, with the exclusion of occasional skirmishes and threatening statements from the regional leaders, after a decade-long war that resulted in ethnic divisions and intolerance, the Western Balkans have enjoyed relative peace. The unintentional consequence of the emphasis on stability, however, has resulted in the significant undermining of democratic reforms, allowing autocratic leaders to entrench their rule undisputed. Through the case study of Serbia, formerly the most prominent candidate for EU accession, I attempt to point toward the ways the EU actions or the lack thereof have inadvertently aided the democratic backsliding. In the end, I touch upon the paradoxical security threats of “stabilitocracy” vis-à-vis the Serbian response to the latest Russian invasion of Ukraine.