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September 11 - September 12, 2024
ICSD 2024

September 12 - September 12, 2024
Public Sector Strategies Against Climate Change

September 26 - September 26, 2024
Public Sector Economy Performance: Study Results and Dashboard Launch

October 1 - October 3, 2024
Financial Management and Control of New EU Structural Funds Programmes 2021-2027

October 3 - October 3, 2024
Collaborative Governance: Avoiding Pitfalls and Materialising Promises

October 14 - October 16, 2024
EU Law for Non-Lawyers

October 17 - October 17, 2024
Beyond Borders: Innovating Customs for a Connected World

October 22 - October 24, 2024
Monitoring and Evaluation of EU Structural and Cohesion Fund Programmes

November 6 - November 12, 2024
Cohesion Policy Project Appraisal 2021-2027, CBA, and Economic Appraisal

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Understanding EU Decision-Making

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CALL FOR CONTRIBUTIONS NISPAcee Journal of Public Policy Special Issue: Governance and policymaking in the Western Balkans toward European Union integration

A. Justification


The transition from communism to capitalism and liberal democracy has been shaped and directed by civil war, the rise of nationalist politics, privatization and politicization processes, and EU integration (Uzelac, 2003; Kmezić and Bieber, 2017; Kapidžić, 2020). The Western Balkans countries’ decision to move toward EU integration represents both a pragmatic decision and a strategic juncture for this region. However, the economic decline and tectonic socio-political changes stalled a number of reforms facilitating the emergence of state capture and hybrid regimes (Levitsky & Way, 2010; Kaufmann et al., 2000). These challenges were addressed by initiating the so-called "Berlin Process”, a political cooperation framework between the Western Balkans countries and six EU member states – France, Germany, United Kingdom (member at that time), Austria, Italy, and Slovenia. In addition, the revised enlargement methodology as a key political project,  aims at establishing a credible EU perspective for the Western Balkans. The integration perspective represents the European Union's geostrategic reflex fueled especially by the unpredictable outcome of the war in Ukraine, which would lead to developing stable and predictable relations and ultimately accession of the Western Balkans countries. Despite the EU efforts aimed to stabilize and empower this region, the emerging countries made little progress towards implementing EU-structural reform as part of the wider, Western integration (Belloni, 2009; Huakkala, 2011). Furthermore, the political actors maintained methods from a one-party system and together with the reproduction of nomenklatura, kept a monopoly over the socio-political realm similarly as in other post-socialist countries (Nemec and Reddy, 2021; Nemec et al., 2023). The chronic lack of democratic capacity, the continuous undermining of institutions and the rule of law along with the omnipresence of corruptive practices shaped by the policy of uncertainty and absence of coordinating efforts, affected public sector capacity towards professionalized and service-oriented culture (Džankić et al., 2019). The decision to temporarily cease enlargement in 2014 led to negative developments in the Western Balkans, primarily the rise of stabilitocracy and the engagement of undemocratic third countries s in the region (Panagiotou, 2020; Pavlović, 2016). This constellation together with the current geopolitical dynamics, complicates the already complex relationship between the EU and the Western Balkans countries marked by growing trend of Eurosceptism despite the high rate of support for the EU (Damjanovski et al., 2020).


Indicative themes:
Public policy vs. politics
Developing policy networks
Divergent or convergence forces in policymaking
Engagement of the civil society organizations in policy processes
Public service culture in the Western Balkans
Enlargement policy
The post-COVID-19 Pandemic and governance
Euroscepticism vs. EU integration
Application of good governance standards
The influence of third countries on national policymaking in the Western Balkans

B. Process description

The NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy welcomes individual submissions up to 8000 words (inclusive of references and notes) that discuss, examine, or review the governance and policymaking in the Western Balkans toward European Union integration.

Submission Instructions and deadlines

Call for abstracts deadline: 21st October 2024
Notification of acceptance of abstracts: 2nd December 2024.
First draft submission: 14th February 2025.
Final manuscript submission: 14th May 2025.


Please send abstracts to the Editor of this special issue, Associate Prof. Marko Begović – marko.begovic@himolde.nobefore 21st October 2024. Abstracts should be structured words including research question, methods, results and implications, in English and 300 words excluding the title and authors’ short resumes following journal’s guidelines.

Selected authors will be invited to submit first drafts of their papers to Associate Prof. Marko Begović – marko.begovic@himolde.no – before February 14, 2025. Drafts will be reviewed by the invited editor/s and authors will be invited to revise their papers based on comments and suggestions.

Final manuscripts must be submitted to an online submission system of the NISPAcee Journal by May 14, 2025: https://www.nispa.org/journal.php

All submitted papers will have to pass a regular double blind peer review procedure of the Journal.

Additional information for authors: 

The NISPAcee Journal of Public Administration and Policy welcomes individual submissions up to 8000 words (inclusive of references and notes). 
For the accepted papers, authors shall cover the full open access fee of 650 EUR, and if needed also the costs of language editing; 
Accepted articles are expected to be published in the winter 2025 issue of the Journal (December 2025).