Faculty of European Legal and Political Studies, Novi Sad.
Demokratie im Stillstand: die geminderte Einflusskraft der Europäischen Union auf Demokratisierungsprozesse
Die Krise der EU hat ihre Kapazität als Demokratieförderer ziemlich reduziert. Die Politik der EU ist auf die Struktur - und Wirtschaftsprobleme fokussiert, und die Demokratieförderung bleibt im Hintergrund. Der EU ist es wichtig, das für ihre Funktionsfähigkeit notwendige Zusammenhalten der Mitgliedstaaten zu sichern, und sie weigert sich, sich bei Abweichungen von den demokratischen Standards in den Mitgliedstaten einzumischen. Viel wichtiger erscheint jedoch die Tatsache, dass die EU ihr Interesse an der Demokratieförderung in den Nichtmitgliedstaaten verloren hat. Das Einflusspotenzial der EU-Erweiterungspolitik, die als zentraler Außenfaktor in der Demokratisierung der Staaten Mittel- und Osteuropa fungiert hat, ist durch die Ungewissheit einer nächsten Erweiterung erheblich geschwächt worden. Die Demokratisierungseffekte der EU-Nachbarschaftspolitik sind noch bescheidener, und sie deuten die Unfähigkeit der EU an, mit den Krisen in den östlichen (etwa der Ukraine) und südlichen (etwa Ägypten, Lybien oder Syrien) Nachbarn umzugehen.
Serbia in Constitutional Limbo: Democracy Without Constitutionalism
The paper addresses the problem of the constitutionalisation of the Serbian polity. The analysis in the paper goes in three parts. Part one examines whether there was a “window of constitutional opportunity” in Serbia after 2000, and we examine which peculiarities of the Serbian democratic tradition have burdened the constitutionalisation process. In part two we explore the weaknesses of the constitution of 2006. We examine the strategy of the constitutional continuity, as well as the procedural and substantive defects of the constitution which have led to its low legitimacy. In the final part we outline the incapability of the constitution to frame the political process, to limit the political power and to channel it into democratic institutions. Almost 14 years after the overthrow of Milošević and the initiation of the democratization process Serbia has not manage to substantially constitutionalize the polity. Despite the adoption of a new constitution in 2006, the bad tradition of façade-constituality was not broken. The over-hasty adoption of the constitution had led to violation of the procedure and to mixed quality of the constitutional provisions. From the very start the democratic legitimacy of the constitution was low, and it showed no capacity to channel the political power. The political players have shown no willingness to submit government actions to objective and impersonal rules. Furthermore, almost every stakeholder perceives the constitution as an interim act needed to be changed, which additionally undermines the authority of the constitution. Under such circumstances, the constitutional issue remains latently opened and the state is in a latent constitutional crisis. This corresponds with the specific para-constituality of the Serbian order in which the constitution is just a façade, and the power is not rooted in the state institutions but in the political party oligarchies. The constitution has not managed to diminish this dualism (nor was this the intention of the constitutional maker) and the democratization process in Serbia got stuck in some form of a pluralistic party state.
Constitutional Court in the Process of Building of a Rechtsstaat
In this paper the author examines the role the constitutional court plays in the democratization process. The constitutionalization of the polity is one of the core elements of the democratic transformation in which the institutional framework for the coupling of the law and the politics is set, and the boundaries of the state’s intervention in the individual freedoms and liberties are defined. Yet the constitution as a legal text is not sufficient for the establishment of a substantive constitutionalism, but it can serve as a façade for a pseudo-democratic order. In order to underpin the rule of law, to prevent the concentration of (political) power, and to protect human rights, most states that have undergone the democratization process have established a constitutional court. Subject to the condition that the constitutional court enjoys sufficient guaranties for institutional stability, legitimacy, and political neutrality, it can be a progressive and stabilizing player in the democratization process. Yet the court must attain a balance with respect to the political effects of its decisions, and not to intervene in the discretional areas of policy-making. Ultimately the implementation of the constitutional court’s decisions depends on the political elite for a rationale for why court acts strategically and with self-restraint. In Serbia the power of the constitutional court to influence the democratization process is burden with some difficulties. There have been constant blocks and delays in the appointment of the court’s judges, with the court becoming fully operational not until 2010. Given the low degree of legitimacy and authority of the Serbian constitution, it is very difficult for the constitutional court to impose the authority of the constitution to the political players. Yet the constitutional court occasionally delivers decisions that influence the transformation process. Nevertheless, the implementation of the court’s decisions is selective.