The Balkans as a Source of Security and Stability in Europe Cover Image

The Balkans as a Source of Security and Stability in Europe
The Balkans as a Source of Security and Stability in Europe

Author(s): Livia Plaks, Alex Grigor'ev
Subject(s): Governance, International relations/trade, Security and defense
Published by: PER Project on Ethnic Relations
Keywords: Western Balkans; EU in the Balkans; Balkan Stability; democratic transformation;
Summary/Abstract: The past decade has been a period of momentous change for countries and peoples in the Balkans. Some have newly acquired membership in the European Union, others remain in different stages of the candidacy process, but all are interested in strengthening regional peace and security and creating foundations for self-sustaining democratic societies. The resolution of Kosovo’s status poses a major challenge to the stability of the Balkans. No matter how it is resolved, it will inevitably produce dissatisfied groups. Regional cooperation is crucial in preventing the reoccurrence of violence and strengthening interethnic cooperation. Regional cooperation is also vital to economic development, the key to the region’s ultimate goal of integrating into Euro-Atlantic structures. Major conflicts have ceased in the Balkans, yet they remain embodied in weak institutions, political infighting and parliamentary boycott. The fragility of the present balance is reflected in Serbia’s January 2007 national elections, in which the Serbian Radical Party secured a plurality of the vote; the continuing distrust between Kosovo Albanians and Serbs; interruptions in interethnic dialogue in Macedonia; and persisting ethnic tension in South Serbia. The need for consolidating regional cooperation and the timing of Kosovo’s status prompted the Project on Ethnic Relations (PER), in cooperation with the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the Federal Department of Foreign Affairs of Switzerland, and with the support of the US State Department through a USAID grant, to convene its ninth high-level Balkan regional roundtable in Athens on June 15-16, 2007. This roundtable was also supported by the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation and the Rockefeller Brothers Fund. The discussion was titled “The Balkans as a Source of Security and Stability in Europe” and was intended to provide policymakers from the Balkans, the US, the European Union, the Council of Europe, and NATO with an opportunity to present and exchange their ideas and points of view concerning the region’s current security situation. Our goal was to provide regional leaders with effective and coordinated strategies to accelerate internal and external integration of the region into European institutions.

  • Page Count: 24
  • Publication Year: 2007
  • Language: English