Recent progress in the case of the six Western Balkan countries accession to the European Union seems to be a case of one step forward and two steps back – or to use a soccer metaphor, the goal posts are always moving.
This year’s BiEPAG public opinion poll suggests that citizens in the Western Balkan countries begin looking at the promise of a European future through pragmatic lenses.
In the Western Balkans, issues linking trust and democracy acquire particular importance and urgency in the wake of the Covid crisis.
The EU amidst third actors in the Western Balkans
No longer voting for the devil you know? Why the Balkans’ collective action problem might be easier to break than we think
Authors: Tena Prelec and Jovana Marovic Recent electoral outcomes have challenged the notion that elections in the Balkans are not able to bring about change. How has the public responded? It is argued that, in spite of the manifest obstacles for challengers to prevail over incumbents, public opinion is contingent upon the recent experiences in each country. Once shown the way, besides long period of stasis (or even state capture), citizens start believing that change is possible. The findings of the brief indicate that, in relation to electoral participation, the ‘collective action’ problem in the Balkans – characterised as lack of confidence in the possibility of change, leading to disillusionment with the democratic process and individual unwillingness to act to bring about change – might not be as difficult to break as previous research had indicated.