LOST IN DEMOCRATIC TRANSITION ?
The countries of South East Europe SEE are involved in a process of political and economic transition. They share a communist legacy and face a long and troublesome route to Western-style democracy. Many of them have faced violent conflicts and subsequent challenges involving state and nation building. In some countries, authoritarian parties have prevented regime change and impeded democratization. In other countries, the absence of state legitimacy, together with the presence of weak institutions and a fragile civil society constituted obstacles to democratization, not to mention the recent challenges from populist movements, criminalization, corruption and the shadow economy. The processes of democratization and integration into the European Union (EU) are interlinked. Undoubtedly, EU integration is one of the main incentives or external impetuses behind democratization. On the other hand, to integrate into the EU and to become an active and successful member of the EU, SEE countries need to reach a certain level of democratic development.