Analysis 26 Sep 17

UN Speeches Underscore Balkans States’ Disunity

Balkan leaders’ speeches to the 72nd UN General Assembly underlined their countries’ different - and often opposing - agendas.

Ana Maria Touma
BIRN
Bucharest
Preparations for the UN General Assembly. Photo: Norwegian Mission to the UN/Flikr.

The Balkan countries might share similar views on global terrorism or the migration crisis, but their disagreements over a wide range of other issues, from border and security arrangements to ethnic and political relations, were on show at general debate of the 72nd UN General Assembly, which started last Tuesday and ends on September 25th.

On Thursday, after discussing Syria, Palestine, and Afghanistan, EU diplomacy chief Federica Mogherini gathered Western Balkan foreign ministers for an informal meeting, where she called for joint action at a regional level, “from counter-terrorism to managing the refugee flows,” as she wrote on her blog.

Following this meeting, the foreign ministers of four Balkan countries that belong to the EU – Bulgaria, Greece, Romania and Croatia – vowed on Friday to jointly help the European integration of the other six countries in the region.

But the speeches of the Balkan leaders at the UN General Assembly showed that the region remains deeply divided on numerous issues, and that the Balkan states are still marked more by what divides them than by what unites them.

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