12 October 2018: Does Europe still transform? Insights from the case of Macedonia

Leiden University’s Central and East European Studies Center cordially invites you to attend the seminar

Does Europe still transform? Insights from the case of Macedonia

with Simonida Kacarska

  • Date: Friday 12 October 2018
  • Time: 14:00-15:30
  • Venue: Institute of Political Science, Wassenaarseweg 52 2333 AK Leiden, Pieter de la Court building, room 5.A37

On 30 September 2018 the citizens of the Republic of Macedonia were asked on a referendum to support a recent deal made with Greece on renaming the country to North Macedonia in exchange for unblocking NATO membership and EU accession negotiations. The so-called Prespa Agreement signed in June 2018, if implemented, would remove one of the key obstacles for the Euro Atlantic integration of the country once hailed as a regional frontrunner. Despite traditionally high support for Euro-Atlantic integration in the country, the outcome of the referendum has been inconclusive due to low popular turnout, yet with decisive support for the deal.

The agreement and the referendum come one year after the country experienced a highly complicated turnover of power and a massive wiretapping scandal that revealed large-scale, high-level corruption. Using the EU perspective to put wind in its sails, the new government has committed to reform the judiciary and the public administration, fight corruption and regain the trust of citizens. The question remains, however, whether this is too heavy a lift for what is now a relatively weak EU enlargement process.

Simonida Kacarska

Simonida Kacarska is the director and co-founder of the European Policy Institute, a think tank in Skopje, Republic of Macedonia. Simonida holds a PhD in Politics and International Studies at the University of Leeds. Her research interests are related to the political transformation and European integration of the Balkans. She has held research positions at the University of Edinburgh, the College of Europe as well as the Central European University. Her professional experience also includes lecturer at her alma mater the American University in Bulgaria, and a civil servant in the European integration office of the Macedonian government. She is a regular contributor to national and regional media and consults international organisations, including the OSCE and the Council of Europe. In 2017/2018 Simonida was a Fellow of the German Marshall Fund of the United States and a Policy Leaders Fellow at the School of Transnational Governance of the European University Institute in Florence.