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Friday, 24 January 2014

Will the opening of EU accession be a game-changer in Serbian politics, and what should we expect?

Jessie Hronesova (St Antony's College, Oxford)

On the eve of Serbia’s long-awaited opening of EU accession negotiations, Milica Delevic and Peter Sanfey from the EBRD started off the Hilary SEESOX Seminar Series by pinpointing the most pressing political and economic challenges lying ahead of Serbia’s European accession path.

Milica Delevic, the Deputy Secretary General for Shareholders Relations of the EBRD, noted that Serbia has gone through a long and tortuous road to membership since the fall of the regime of Slobodan Milosevic in October 2000. There had been some crucial milestones over the 14-year long process of securing Serbia’s candidacy, such as the first meeting of the Consultative Task Force in July 2001, the signing of the Stabilization and Association Agreement in 2007, visa liberalization in 2009, and finally the green light given by the EU in December 2013 to open negotiations on the 21st January 2014.

Monday, 13 January 2014

Q&A with Tryfon Bampilis: The far right in Greece: Dawn or Dusk?

Tryfon Bampilis (A.G. Leventis Visiting Fellow, St Antony's College, Oxford)

What are the facts about the Golden Dawn party in Greece? Is it a neo-Nazi party? What can we expect in the future? These and other very interesting questions were discussed during a seminar organized by SEESOX[1] at St Antony’s College, Oxford that took place on the 22nd of October where A.G Leventis/SEESOX visiting fellow Dr. Tryfon Bampilis presented the preliminary findings of his research. Below is an account of the presentation and discussion in the form of questions and answers.

1. What facts are known about the Golden Dawn party of Greece?

At the Greek legislative elections of Sunday 17th of June 2012, a spine chilling result caught everyone’s attention. For the first time ever in post-1974 Greece, an extreme right wing party secured 6.92% or 425.990 of the votes, which gave it 18 Members of Parliament. In a country torn apart by a post-WWII civil war and with the 1967-74 memory of a military dictatorship, this electoral result looked like an irony of history, one of the darkest hours of Greek democracy. These electoral results were especially surprising as the party had received a mere 0.29% in the 2009 elections and in the meantime had intensified its racist attacks against immigrants in various areas of Athens. The notorious violence of the members of Golden Dawn became even more visible just a week before the general elections when Ilias Kasidiaris, the spokesman of the party, physically attacked two female Members of Parliament during a live morning television show.