Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Thesis or Dissertation - Master in Cooperation and Development
Title Ethnic Minorities in the Balkans, between Exclusion and integration
Author(s)
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2009
URL http://www-3.unipv.it/cds/userfiles/file/Thesis of David Cardillo.pdf
Abstract
There is a geographical zone, in the heart of Europe, that more than any other is characterized by an
extremely varied ethnic and cultural composition, which is the Balkans, and more precisely the ex
Yugoslavia. The memory of the wars that shed so much blood in the Yugoslavian Republics, is still
fresh, and it is an evidence of the extreme difficulty of the coexistence of so many different
communities, and how the continuing frictions had grown a latent hostility from one to another,
which, at the first spark, burst into massacres that are too recent to be forgotten. Each of the former
Yugoslavian Republics still has in its inland a large number of ethnic minorities, whose presence,
even if the conditions at the base of the civil wars have ceased to exist, is still a source of tensions.
With this work, we intend to give a panorama of such issue, by exposing the history of the presence
of the ethnic minorities in the Balkans and explaining the reasons of the discriminations they have
been undergoing, and which remedies are being taken. Because of the slenderness of the space at
our disposal, and the wideness of the geographical area, we will focus our essay only on three
republics (Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia) and two ethnic minorities (Albanians and Roma). This
thesis originated from an internship that we accomplished in Prilep, Macedonia, and in Podgorica,
Montenegro, from August 28 to November 28 2010, working for the Italian NGO COSV on a
project addressed to the integration of the ethnic minorities in the Republics of ex-Yugoslavia. The
motivations at the basis of this essay are linked not only to the internship accomplished, but also to
the interest in the complexity of an area like the Balkans, whose inner dynamics have highly
affected the European history through the centuries. The ethnic composition and the geographical
collocation have made a litmus paper of the face to face between Christian and Islamic world out of
the ex-Yugoslavia, as well as a laboratory whose coexistence experiments had, in some cases, good,
in others, negative results. Therefore, the chance to do an internship focused on the integration of
the ethnic minorities gave us the possibility to get more closely to know a reality, out of which
contrasting signals came, that will be exposed through the pages.
In order to better understand the problems taken into consideration, we decided to get back to the
past, at the roots of the presence of the two biggest non Slavic minorities in the former Yugoslavia,
the Albanians and the Roma. Getting through this history, in the first chapter, we will try to
illustrate which relationships have been built with the Slavic populations, and on which basis they
have developed. We have considered it the only way we could understand the current situation, and
what led to the Kosovo war at the end of the nineties, the biggest factorthat, in the last fifteen years,
have influenced the history and the current affairs of Europe. Afterwards, in the second chapter, we
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IUSS - Pavia
will analyze the countries where the problems of the interethnic coexistence is strongest,
which are Serbia, Kosovo, Macedonia and Montenegro. We will attempt to conduct an analysis of
each of these countries that could be as much complete and objective as possible, with the aim to
put in evidence the major difficulties and the attempts from the local authorities to heal them. The
explanation of the work that the NGO, together with the local partners in each country, is doing in
the Balkans to give a solution to these problems, which success is achieving and which difficulties
is facing, will be the subject of the third chapter. Finally, after having illustrated what the past has
been and what the present actually is, we will try to explain what the future might be, and also what
it should be, according to our humble thinking. In the light of the history we have studied, and the
talks we had with people involved and the work we have done, we believe that the goal of
integrating the ethnic minorities in the Balkans is hard, but not impossible to reach. It takes a lot of
good will, a high commitment from all the parts involved and a big patience, but it is something that
can be made. Our aim is to explain how, and why this mission must be accomplished.
It is not our presumption to clarify all the points of the problem, whose complexity will appear
during the reading of our essay also. Like previously said, the limitation imposed to our pages
hinders us to deepen our study. Nevertheless, it is our hope to make as understandable as possible
those sides of the past that determine the present that the Balkans are living in, and the attempt that
the several actors are taking so that the future may be better. Our maximum commitment is headed
to the achievement of this goal.

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