Comment 20 Jan 17

Balkan States Eye Their Prospects in Trump Era

Countries in the region are pondering whether they will lose or gain from a Trump presidency – but the end results of this new era are hard to call.

Marcus Tanner
US President-elect Donald Trump and his wife Melania arrive at Andrews Air Force Base ahead of Friday's inauguration. Photo: Evan Vucci/AP

Across the Balkans, people and politicians are waiting to see what Donald Trump’s arrival in the Oval office means for their particular country. Will it go up or down the American and international pecking order?

Broadly speaking, Russia’s friends and sympathizers in Eastern Europe – Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria [to a degree] the Bosnian Serbs and the opposition in Montenegro are salivating at the thought of a Trump-Putin love-in, which they hope will strengthen their hands and allow them to capitalize on ties to the Kremlin.

In the opposing corner, Romania, Kosovo, Albania, Croatia and Bosnia’s Bosniaks are eyeing the prospect of a US-Russia presidential powwow, mooted for a third country, possibly Iceland, with unease.

They all joined, or supported, US-led sanctions on Russia with enthusiasm. None of them stands to gain that much from America’s reconciliation with its old adversary. On the contrary, they fear their old ally America could be about to serve them up on a plate to Moscow.

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