From your own correspondent: Pristina

Which means wet feet, deadly cold, mud everywhere.

Apart from the white blanket of snow covering Pristina, I was touched also by the news reported on the most important Balkan newspapers.
Apparently, following the withdrawal of Serbs from the barricades in North Kosovo, the Council sent a clear positive message. A “carrot”, if you allow me this wording.

The importance of this carrot is huge: if by any chance Serbian expectations would be let down, I prospect an escalation of the situation in Kosovo. Even if the decisive support of the majors of Serbian municipalities de blocked a long deadlock, I cannot see substantive political ameliorations of the situations.

I will discuss the issue with some experts I had the chance to contact, here in Pristina.



My point is that the “carrot and stick” policy undertook by the EU since the beginning of the Kosovo barricade crisis allow a series of speculations which, in the end, won’t result in any good, nor for the pro-European Serbian government, nor for the far less pro-European Serbian society, nor for the wannabe Russians Kosovo Serbs.

First, a (still very possible!) negative decision of the Council against Serbian candidature will definitely undermine Tadic power, which will lead to his total defeat in next elections, most probably paving the way to nationalists parties success. So much for Merkel glorification of “multiculty” societies.

Secondly, even if the Council would grant Serbia with the candidate status (rather then frozen pseudo-idiotic half-effective semi-statuses, as Austria proposed…) , no effective steps towards the reconciliation with Kosovo have been made in last weeks. Au contraire the management of the crisis by Bruxelles (Berlin? Amsterdam? Vienna?) lead to an exacerbation of the conflict, which ultimately resulted in last hate speech made by several Serbian politicians.

Thirdly, and most importantly, the EU managed once more to pass for the “bad guy” at the eyes of Serbians. The way arguments in favor of the continuation of the Belgrade-Pristina negotiations, paired with the direct attacks led by several MS leaders to Serbian government managed (once more) to polarize the general impression of the EU, shifting it (if possible) towards a pro-Kosovar position. It does not matter if this is the case, if this is the real position of most EU countries. What matters is the way such position has been communicated to the public.
It seems that no one, nor the EU, nor Serbs, are learning from their past mistakes.

Which leads me to a conclusion: most probably change is guided more by ambition and blind will, then by wiseness.

Fourthly (an in the end), nothing changed in Northern Kosovo. Or, better to say, the IBM (the big “achievement” brought ahead by the Cooper) still remains on paper. I will try to move North, so to get some more informations on the matter.

Apart from everything, I have to communicate you all that the cappuccino in Pristina is extremely good. And when I say extremely, I mean that is the best I ever tasted in my life.

From your own correspondent from Brussels – 1: preparing the first interview

In some days I will have the chance to interview an important international official in the city of Brussels.
For all the interviews I will attend during my research period I am not reporting neither the name of the interviewed nor the institution the interviewed belongs to.

So what else you might find interesting in this blog section?
Yesterday, discussing with a friend about video games, we found out to perceive the same disappointment for nowadays gaming production: the graphics are amazing, it is extremely easy to set up a multiplayer game (and thus to interact with friends and beat them…), but nowadays games (and gamers) lack of “strategy“, of “thinking“, of the “human touch” you could give to your army while playing games like Roma Total War, or similar. Everything is to quick, to fast, direct to the point, missing all the surrounding halo of entertainment, of thinking that an old pixel-style strategy game would give to the mighty patient player of the ’90.

News universe (and, at last, also the diffusion of cultural informations) works pretty much in the same way: if the message is not violent, direct, shocking, it is hard for it to be read by anyone.

This post is not about reminiscences of the past, neither about nostalgia of ’90 video games (I keep on playing those video games…).
This post wishes to warn that you will not find names and revelations about the hidden “bottom-rooms” of the Commission, neither revealing anthropological discovers. But you will find real-time first-hand impressions of a person willing to make his hands dirty.

Impressions on EC Report.
The first impressions about the DG ENLARG annual overview of enlargement policy  including the report on EU-Serbia relations are as vague as the style used by the Commission itself. The most handy documents (the Conclusions and the Communication to EP and the Council) are rough, generalized, non specific.

The far longer (and thus less practical) analytical report is definitely more accurate. For how obvious this might be, it has to be taken in due consideration the impressions left by the aforementioned “handy documents” on the mind of the unlucky reader who does not have the time to pass through the almost 140 pages of the analytical report. I am sure that the means put in place by DG ENLARG to write down this accurate document could have been used to draft a more complete sum-up document, able to give a proper description of the current state of art of the EU-Serbia relations.

Apart from those negative remarks, the quality of the analytical report is very high. It gives a fair (although “westernized”) description of Serbian state structure, legally pertinent, focusing on most relevant issues.

Serbia as a brick.
One of the strongest point of the European Union so far, has been the capacity to put together different local administrations in different countries, thus implementing the so called “Cohesion Policy“. The results of this policy vary from area to area. However it demonstrate the sensitivity of the EU towards the local administrations, toward the differences (and the common features) among bordering regions of different countries.
Reading the analytical report, some might have the impression that Serbian society is thick and uniform as a brick. Even if Serbia has not been granted the status of candidate country (unlike some specialized reviews affirmed), a more accurate description of the various differences among the Serbian is fundamental to the general evaluation of the country. The European Commission should be aware of this.

Despite the fact that the Commission suggested the Council to grant Serbia the candidate status, the general impact of the report would be more adherent to reality (and thus easier to implement) if it would take in consideration the diversified panorama of social and legal institutions in Serbia.
The author is not aware if the Commission put in place such analyses, nor if Serbian authorities, in their continuos supporting EU officials, underlined the regional differences in the country.
That is what I am going to ask for and discover. 

A good morning in Brussels

9:00: our hero manages to wake top and to find the energy to realize there’s nothing in the fridge to feed himself and the Princess. So he has to go hunting something in the neighborhood. Nothing easier.

9:15: after long wandering, our hero manages to find an open supermarket (the perfect place to hunt breakfast, as you know).

9:16: the path of our hero is blocked by a 30-something angry Arabian guy, claiming for the life of a second generation Chinese working as shop assistant in the aforementioned supermarket.

9:20: the hero manages to squeeze inside and chase the breakfast, while most of the people in the shop are staring at the front door, where the Arabian shouts like a crazy.

9:25: while our hero pays for the fruitful beating, the Arabian is surrounded by cops. A wise alcoholic customer, waving an half empty bottle of vodka and buying another one of whiskey, suggest the police to beat him and turn the page once for all.

9:30: our hero makes his way through the exit exactly when the police finally decides to chain the Arabian and drag him to jail.

10:00: the Princess wakes up by the smell of the coffee, the breakfast is already on the table, and our hero claims his price for the successful hunting. A short thought of our hero goes to the guy in jail. But

Good morning, Brussels.