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. 

“From your own correspondent…” Prologue

Apart from my unconditional passion for the Balkans, this blog takes its vital energy from a more substantive issue I am about to describe.

In Jan. 2011 I had the luck to be selected for a thesis research scholarship aimed at sending students abroad to collect findings for their thesis. Being an international relations student, the scholarship was a rare blessing, which granted me the chance to discover even more the rocky and harsh Montenegro. Pairing that intense research with my previous experiences in Crna Gora, I managed get closer to a decent comprehension of value schemes guiding the various social groups politically active on the independent Montenegrin soil.

Given this unique chance, I decided to use it in the best way I knew, i.e. requesting the support of my supervisors, “forcing” them to follow each and every step of my academic experience.
To cut it short, the pious supervisors of my BA thesis had to suffer a certain amount of  emails, in which I carefully described them the then ongoing process of researching, screening texts, interviewing. Every email’s object was: “Dal vostro inviato a Podgorica”, From your own correspondent in Podgorica.

Two years after, the correspondent moved from Podgorica to Bruxelles (some might say it is an evolution. I seriously doubt it). My new field of research will include “control rooms” filled with Eurocrats, posh conferences, spirited aperitivi with political figures.
Two years after, I had to understand that the path towards Orient imperatively passes through Bruxelles. My bridge to the Balkans had to take a detour from the usual path, heading to the European Capital, building a metaphysical (or ephemeral?) branch of my new bridge to Orient.

To put it less philosophical, I am currently researching on my MA thesis, which will investigate upon the possible effects of the superimposition of the acquis communautaire over former Jugoslavian republics’ internal legal systems. I will focus on the consequences for Serbians and Montenegrins, for their values systems, for their traditional institutions and culture.

In order to have a complete picture of the situation, I would not restrict my research in Bruxelles, but I will have the chance to entertain a research period in Serbia, so to corroborate my findings (or destroy them…) directly on the effective field of application of the aforementioned acquis communautaire.

And I will keep you posted.
Your own correspondent in [Bruxelles/ Novi Sad/ Belgrade/ wherever my research will lead me] is once more on the go.