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Latest Blogs from the Balkans

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01 Jul 15

Language Loss Reflects Changing Identity of Bulgarian Roma

Zornitsa Stoilova

"How come I was born in Bulgaria and I don’t feel Bulgarian?! That’s not right." Yashar Hassan is angry. We are seated in the middle of the market in Stolipinovo, a Roma neighbourhood in the Bulgarian city of Plovdiv with more than 50,000 residents. He is smoking cigarette after cigarette and his voice rises with the temperature of his words.

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30 Jun 15

I Got Serbia to Stamp my Kosovo Passport

Taulant Hodaj

How a Danube cruise that ran aground ended with me becoming a Facebook sensation.

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26 Jun 15

The Romanian City That Can Only Export Luxury

Laura Stefanut

The old lady sitting on a street bench had the elegance of a grandmother dressed for church. She looked intrigued and somewhat amused by my question. After pausing to see whether I was joking, she replied: "You won't find a shopping mall in this city. No famous brands. People could never afford them."

23 Jun 15

Gruevski Does Not Deserve Any More Chances

Florian Bieber

The EU is in a difficult position, its bargaining power is limited in Macedonia and its interlocutor, Nikola Gruevski has a lot to lose: for him, losing control over government is likely to land him in jail.

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19 Jun 15

Of Heroes and Hoodlums

Mikra Krasniqi

One day in March 1999, I was loitering with friends in front of a grocery store in the village of Bardh i Vogel in Kosovo, smoking, gossiping, and trying to kill time when four young men in their early twenties came from a nearby village and told us one heck of a story.

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12 Jun 15

We Chose to be Watchdogs, Not Lapdogs

Dragana Nikolic Solomon

With five women and one man sitting around a table a decade ago, a decision was reached in the spur of a moment without any concrete plan for the future.

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11 Jun 15

From Karl Marx to Sister Teresa

Damir Pilic

There is no doubt that Karl Marx is one of the most influential philosophers of all time. Just one illustration: in a BBC poll in 1999, he was voted “the greatest thinker of the millennium”.

In my personal life, Karl Marx has also played an important role. Without him, I probably would not have been born.

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09 Jun 15

The English artist helping migrants on a Greek island

Kostas Koukoumakas

There is an unearthly silence on the isolated beach in the north of Lesvos, a Greek island in the eastern Aegean. The sun has just risen and the sea is dyed in the colours of dawn.

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08 May 15

Macedonia’s Politics of Victimhood Cheat Citizens

Lura Pollozhani

If the latest protests mark an end to the old politics of ethnic victimhood, we can all finally become citizens.

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29 Apr 15

Look, man, I’ve got certain information

Nate Tabak

If he hasn’t done so already, Heikki Wendorf should watch “The Big Lebowski.” The Cohen Brothers’ 1998 film is not just an American comedy classic, it has a lot of lessons for the rule of law in Kosovo, which can be a tricky business.

02 Apr 15

How to make EU mediation work in Macedonia

Florian Bieber

Since Macedonian Prime Minister Gruevski accused the opposition of plotting the overthrow of the government and espionage and opposition leader Zoran Zaev began regularly releasing “bombs” of wiretapped calls that suggest corruption, abuse of office, electoral fraud and a range of other crimes by the prime minister and his associates, tensions in Macedonia have been increasing steadily. 

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27 Mar 15

Bitter-sweet Impressions of the Balkans

Tanja Fajon

Bosnia and Serbia are both taking steps backwards as well as forwards – but their future prospects look bright.

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25 Mar 15

Albania’s Nationalist Show: All Bark and no Bite

Gjergj Erebara

The pompous ‘joint meeting’ of the Kosovo and Albania governments may suggest nationalism is in the air – but it’s all petty politics designed for domestic consumption.

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26 Feb 15

My Secret Service ‘Diploma’ Shows What Macedonia Has Become

Meri Jordanovska

The folder I received containing my own wiretapped conversations doesn’t just show somebody is messing with our lives; it shows we are seen as enemies of the state in our own country.

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17 Feb 15

Two Cheers For Kosovo Independence Day

Kreshnik Hoxha

There might seem precious little to celebrate on independent Kosovo’s seventh birthday - but building a state was never going to be easy.

Fellowship 2013: Integrity

04 Jul 13

Sporting Chance

15 Jul 13

A New Life

07 Aug 13

Medical Needs

08 Aug 13

Fire from Ice

09 Aug 13

Old Wars and New

13 Aug 13

No Middle Ground

Premium Selection

06 Jul 15

Srebrenica: How to Prove a Genocide

Starting with no more than rumours of a colossal atrocity, investigators and prosecutors recall how they put together a convincing case that the Bosniaks of Srebrenica were the victims of genocide 20 years ago.