Home Les bulletins GEAB GEAB 116 Questions about the future / Balkans: a new Euro-Russian bridge or firebrand? 

GEAB 116

The monthly bulletin of LEAP (European Laboratory of Political Anticipation) - 15 Jun 2017

Questions about the future / Balkans: a new Euro-Russian bridge or firebrand? 

Regarding the latest events occurring in the Balkans, the Westerners seem to be winning the game against Russia. Thus, in Macedonia the new government of Zoran Zaev is not far from finding a solution on the dispute which opposed it to Greece and blocked its candidacies for NATO and the EU[1]; Montenegro joined NATO on June 5; and even in the very pro-Russian Serbia, the pro-European Aleksandar Vucic has been appointment at the head of the State at the end of May.

If the ultimate aim is the integration of the Balkans into the EU, the next step foreseen by Johannes Hahn, European Commissioner for Enlargement, calls for the establishment of a Western Balkan Common Market (Albania, Bosnia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia).

All this looks great on paper, but the unsolved problems on the basis of which this strategy was established, and likely to create new ones rather quickly, are numerous. Here is a list of issues which, we hope are on the table of the great strategists of the European Commission and capitals:

. The latest electoral “victories” in favour of the EU were done in force, apparently endorsing personalities and regimes which are rather far from the so-called “European values”. Vucic is an authoritative leader whose victory comes from total media control. Zaev is less unpopular, but the conditions under which he found himself at the head of the State are quite complicated, at the cost of serious concessions made to the Albanian minorities[2]. As for our great Kosovan ally, the next government will deal with charges issued by Serbia and carried by the International Tribunal in The Hague of war crimes against Serbs, Romas and Albanian Kosovans; 

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