euobserver Introduction Twenty years doesn't seem a lot. Certainly not in the light of European history. RESPONSIBLE PUBLISHER Koert Debeuf EUobserver rue Belliard, 230 - Bte 5 - 1040 Brussels Belgium www.euobserver.com firstname.lastname@example.org CONTRIBUTIONS Koert Debeuf, Nikolaj Nielsen, Andrew Rettman, Elena Sánchez Nicolás, Matthew Tempest, Eszter Zalan LAYOUT Tobias Andreasen ADVERTISING Henner Sorg email@example.com DISTRIBUTION Elie Bizimana EUobserver is a not-for-profit, independent online newspaper established in Brussels in 2000. We value free thinking and plain speech and aim to support European democracy by reflecting the voice of people and by giving people the information they need to hold the EU establishment to account. OUR GOAL European journalism is essential in making European democracy actually function. Today, there is a gap between the decision-makers in Brussels and the people they represent. Our goal is to fill this gap by reporting on how decisions are made in the European Union, and by giving people the possibility of making their voice heard within the European institutions. We do this through our articles, our exclusive news stories, our cross-border investigations, our opinion platform and through our relentless quest for transparency and accountability. OUR REACH The EUobserver is the fourth-most influential news platform in the European institutions. With a small but dedicated team, we succeed in having an impact. Our reporting has made sure that issues were put on the EU agenda, that ordinary people from Europe and beyond have been heard in Brussels, and even forced officials to resign because they did not live up to the moral standards the EU should have. www.euobserver.com Cover Photo European Commission But while we were writing this magazine for the 20th anniversary of EUobserver, we were surprised just how much happened in the European Union in those two decades. Twenty years ago, there was no euro, no Treaty of Lisbon and no European External Action Service. Not only that, the EU only consisted of 15 member states. It was a time before 9/11, before the war in Iraq, before we realised that there probably would never be an 'end of history'. During these 20 years, we have witnessed how the world moved from a unipolar to a multipolar order, with the spectacular rise of China. We saw revolutions in the Balkans, in the South Caucasus, in Ukraine, the entire Arab world and now in Belarus. Europe has been surrounded by wars in Ukraine, Syria, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh. These wars triggered unprecedented migration to Europe. The Union has been hit by a financial and economic crisis, a euro crisis and now a pandemic crisis. Not only has the European Union survived these crises, it came out stronger, more united and more integrated. Despite some setbacks, the magic of European enlargement again turned formerly poor dictatorships into prosperous democracies. In its initial goal to stop war and dictatorship, the European project has been extremely successful - indeed, it won the Nobel Peace Prize for precisely this reason. But it is a goal that needs to be worked continuously, even today. This magazine gives an overview of the major events of every one of these 20 years, and for every event we talked to one of the key players. Some gave us new insights or facts previously unpublished. It makes this magazine a historic document. EUobserver had the privilege of sitting in the front row at all of these events. With a small but independent team of dedicated journalists we have tried to cover these events, and explain what the impact on the lives of European citizens would be. For 20 years, we have tried to provide our readers with objective expertise. We will continue to do so in the 20 years to come. Koert Debeuf & Lisbeth Kirk Join EUobserver.com today. Become an expert on Europe.
From Milošević to freedom – and back again the year 2000 Europe's new century began with the peaceful overthrow of an old monster, Slobodan Milošević – but Serbia is less free today than it was before the revolution, Vesna Pešić said. By Andrew Rettman Europe's new century began with the peaceful overthrow of an old monster: the late Serbian dictator Slobodan Milošević. people entered the parliament building," she said. "I felt very proud," she added. It was called the 'Bulldozer Revolution', after a man drove a bulldozer into Milošević's propaganda HQ, the radio and TV building in Belgrade, on 5 October 2000. "I was scared the military would react, but it didn't. Somebody did a good job. Thank you, whoever it might be," Pešić said. And Serbia's student-led uprising inspired similar ones in Georgia, Moldova, Ukraine, and even as far afield as Kyrgyzstan, in the next few years to come. But in 2020, Milošević's former propaganda chief, Aleksandar Vučić, is now sitting in Serbia's presidential throne. The revolution's leader, Serbia's late prime minister, Zoran Đinđić, has been murdered, and most of his former allies live in silence and fear. And even though Vučić gets red-carpet treatment in EU capitals, "internally, he looks more like the Lukashenko of Serbia," for Vesna Pešić, a former Bulldozer Revolution activist, referring to Belarusian dictator Alexander Lukashenko. "We had more freedom under Milošević than we do now," Pešić said. The 80-year old academic started fighting for human rights in Serbia back when it was still Yugoslavia in the 1970s. And on 5 October 2000, she found herself in a crowd of half-a-million people in front of the parliament, with no army or police in sight. "The whole night was like an anarchic dream, everybody was free to do whatever they wanted ... One of the people Serbs ought to thank, she said, was Đinđić. "He made a deal with the most dangerous elite police formation [the Red Berets] not to shoot people," Pešić said. Another one was the then Russian foreign minister, Igor Ivanov. "He [Ivanov] flew to Belgrade on 6 October, went to Milošević, and told him to recognise that he'd lost elections. The same day, Milošević went on TV and said he'd lost," Pešić recalled. And behind Đinđić and Ivanov, stood the then US president Bill Clinton, the then-15 EU leaders, and Russian president Vladimir Putin. "People were tired of Milošević, especially after the traumatic [Nato] bombardment of Serbia, years of sanctions, poverty, exclusion," she said, referring to Western reaction to Milošević's bloody 1990s wars. "All the international forces joined together to help the Serbian opposition," she said. Milošević's fall left intact the forces that had kept him in office, however. And at 12.23PM, Brussels time, on 12 March 2003, 03 — EUOBSERVER ANNIVERSARY 2020