16 Romanian J. Eur. Aff. 56 (2016)
EU-Russia Rivalry in the Balkans: Linkage, Leverage and Competition (The Case of Serbia)

handle is hein.journals/rojaeuf16 and id is 242 raw text is: 

ROMANIAN JOURNAL OF EUROPEAN AFFAIRS                       Vol. 16, No. 3, September 2016


EU-Russia Rivalry in the Balkans: Linkage, Leverage
and Competition (The Case of Serbia)


Galina   A.  Nelaeva,   Andrey V. Semenov'


    Abstract. The article seeks to examine Serbia's EU integration process in the context
 of EU-Russia relations in the Western  Balkans. Serbia's path to the EU  has been  long
 and problematic,  with  Serbia recovering  from economic   turmoil, difficulties in post-
 conflict reconstruction, the destructive floods of 2014, the refugee crisis of 2015, and
 strained relations with its Balkan neighbours. By applying Levitsky and Way's theoretical
 framework  that stresses the importance   of an  external actor in the democratization
 process (the importance of leverage and linkage vis-a-vis the democratizing state) and the
 analysis of linkages/leverage with counter hegemonic states, we argue that in examining
 competing  linkages/leverages, we  must  acknowledge   the importance   of the interplay
 between  powerful actors as well. The events of 2014, which  have  led to a dramatic rift
 in EU-Russia relations, offered Serbia an opportunity to exit the grey zone, as defined
 by Thomas  Carothers, as well as gave the EU  the chance  to deepen  its influence in the
 Western Balkans.
    Keywords:  Serbia, transition, leverage, linkages, EU integration



    Introduction
    On  10 November   2015,  the EU Commission   issued a report declaring that Serbia had
 completed  comprehensive   action plans required for the opening of rule of law chapters
 23 and  24 and  has reached  key agreements   with Kosovo  as part of the normalization
 process, dealt with  under  chapter 35.2 Serbia  started EU  accession negotiations  in
 December   2015.3
    Following  Vladimir Putin's visit to Belgrade in October 2014, a regional conference
 was held for ministers of foreign affairs and finance from the Western Balkan  countries

 ' Galina A. Nelaeva, PhD, Associate Professor, Modern History and International Relations Department, Tyumen State
 University, Tyumen, Russia; Office 403, Lenina str., 23, Tyumen 625000, Institute of History and Political Science,
 Tyumen State University, Russia, E-mail: gnelaeva@mail.ru.
 Andrey V. Semenov, PhD, Associate Professor, Center for Comparative History and Politics Studies, Perm State
 National Research University; Office 301, Bukireva 15, Perm 614990, Faculty of History and Politics, Perm State
 National Research University, Russia, E-mail: andre.semenoff@gmail.com.
 Funding: The authors received no financial support for the research, authorship, and/or publication of this article.
 2 Communication from the Commission to the European Parliament, the Council, the European Economic and Social
 Committee and the Committee of the Regions, (10 November 2015), available at: http://ec.europa.eu/enlargenient/pdf/
 key documents/2015/20151110 report serbia.pdf accessed 6 Feb. 2016.
 'Serbia readies to open first EU chapters', Balkan Insight, (14 December 2015), available at: http-//www.balkaninsight.
 com/en/article/serbia-starts-eu-talks-challenges-lie-ahead-1 2-11-2015, accessed 5 Feb. 2016.


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