comment 13 Dec 16

The Euro-Atlantic Project is Ending in the Balkans

As the UK and America withdraw from the region, Europe’s ability to use ‘soft power’ to nudge the Balkans in the direction of liberal democracy will further decline, making instability more likely.

Jasmin Mujanovic
BIRN
 
 Members of Bosnia's presidency with German Chancellor Merkel in Berlin in July. Photo: Anadolu Agency.

For all the trappings of European soft power, the post-Yugoslav settlement in the Western Balkans was always primarily the result of the security guarantees provided to the region by three states: the US, UK, and Germany. As of January 20, 2017, two of those three guarantors will for all intents and purposes disappear from the calculus of regional politics in any meaningful sense.

A post-Brexit United Kingdom and a Donald Trump-led United States will no longer be factors in the politics of the Western Balkans. There will be no official announcement of this and American and British aid of various sorts will likely continue to flow.

But it will be directed towards marginalia and take the form of stopgap measures and photo-ops. It will not be directed towards addressing and resolving structural questions of the region’s politics.  

British and American evacuation from the Balkans will leave Germany in a delicate position. Berlin is already under tremendous pressure as the lone liberal-democratic stalwart in a sea of reactionary populists. Virtually alone, Germany holds together the European project in the face of seething financial unrest in Greece, Italy, Spain, and Portugal, and against resurgent Russian power.

Subscribe to Balkan Insight Premium to read the full article.

Please login to your account below if you are already a Premium Subscriber.

Buy Premium Subscription

Our Premium Service gives you full access to all content published on BalkanInsight.com, including analyses, investigations, comments, interviews and more. Choose your subscription today and get unparalleled in-depth coverage of the Western Balkans.

Buy Premium Subscription

If you have trouble logging in or any other questions regarding you account, please contact us

Talk about it!

blog comments powered by Disqus

Premium Selection

serbia-fostered-culture-of-denial-by-hiding-mladic-11-16-2017
18 Nov 17

Serbia ‘Fostered Culture of Denial’ by Hiding Mladic

Author and journalist Julian Borger argues that because Serbia was not penalised for shielding Ratko Mladic while he was on the run, it helped foster a culture of denial of war crimes and genocide.

russia-lures-turkey-from-nato-with-missile-deal-11-17-2017
17 Nov 17

Russia Lures Turkey From NATO With Missile Deal

Turkey’s plans to buy Russian S-400 missile systems alarm its Western allies but form part of an ever-closer partnership with Russia that will have an obvious impact on the Balkans.