1. bookVolume 11 (2015): Issue 2 (December 2015)
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1857-8462
First Published
01 Jul 2005
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
access type Open Access

The social, political and economic changes in the Western Balkans: Managing diversity

Published Online: 04 Apr 2016
Volume & Issue: Volume 11 (2015) - Issue 2 (December 2015)
Page range: 107 - 126
Journal Details
License
Format
Journal
eISSN
1857-8462
First Published
01 Jul 2005
Publication timeframe
2 times per year
Languages
English
Abstract

This paper gives a retrospective of the events in the Balkans in the last 20 years. Hence, it indicates the problems, the progress and the challenges in terms of respecting and promoting diversity. The Western Balkans has always been a very interesting region with many challenges during different historical periods. If we take into consideration all the differences and diversities in this region, then this shouldn’t strike us as surprising. During history the Balkan region has always been a crossroads of many events, conflicts, changes and destructive occurrences. In order to understand the connection between ethnic and the religious diversity, as well as the future of the Western Balkan countries in terms of Euro-Atlantic integration, we need to provide some information about the political, economic and social changes in these countries during the past, especially in the last two decades.

To get a better understanding of all the processes and events we need to take a look at the 90s of the last century. This period was one of the most important turning points in international relations. By the end of the Cold War there were two blocks within the societies – The Western (capitalist) and the Eastern (communist), and an agreement for the Balkans to be a balance between these two blocks. This fact was important for the promotion of the concept of the nation-state, which refers generally to both of the blocks. However, changes such as the dissolution and breakdown of the USSR and Yugoslavia, as well as the official Eastern bloc fiasco, brought an increase in the individual identity of the citizens living in these countries.

This was the beginning of a new era to be characterized by conflicts, wars, refugees, humanitarian crises, a large number of casualties and injured people, because of the idea that the emerging countries, especially from the Balkan region, should be nation-state countries, i.e. composed of a nation thereby ignoring the ethnic and religious differences or the unrecognized diversity of the citizens of different ethnic groups living in these countries.

The establishment of the Euro-Atlantic integration concept as a key national and state priority of almost every country in this region led to the understanding of differences as an asset, and not as an obstacle for the faster integration to the EU and NATO. This fact undoubtedly contributed to the establishment of the criteria for membership, and in particular to the promotion of the rights and freedoms of minorities as most important for the integration process.

Keywords

1. EUROPEAN COMMISSION, COMMUNICATION FROM THE COMMISSION TO THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND THE COUNCIL, Enlargement Strategy and Main Challenges, 2005-2015, Brussels,Search in Google Scholar

2. Ali El-Agraa, Brian Ardy, The European Union: Economics and Policies, Cambridge University Press, 2011.10.1017/CBO9780511844041Search in Google Scholar

3. Andrew Mold, EU development policy in a changing world: challenges for the 21st century, Amsterdam University Press, 2007.Search in Google Scholar

4. Bekim Maksuti, “Influence of western Balkan states bilateral disputes on reforms and criteria’s for membership in EU and NATO” (approved PhD diss. University of Ss. Cyril and Methodius, Skopje 2009/2013).Search in Google Scholar

5. Blerim Reka, Otmar Höll and Ylber Sela, Institution and Politics of EU, Tetovë: Univesitas, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

6. EU – Western Balkans Summit – Declaration was concluded. Thessaloniki, 21 June 2003.Search in Google Scholar

7. Federiga Bindi, Irina Angelescu, Frontiers of Europe: A Transatlantic Problem?, Brookings Institution Press, 2011.Search in Google Scholar

8. Gazmend Qorraj, Integrating the Western Balkans into the European Union: Overcoming Political and Economic Constraints, European Perspectives – Journal on European Perspectives of the Western Balkans Vol. 2, No. 2, pp 79-92, October 2010.Search in Google Scholar

9. http://ec.europa.eu/enlargement/index_en.htmSearch in Google Scholar

10. International Crisis Group, “The Balkans,” available from http://www.crisisgroup.org/; accessed 08 December 2007.Search in Google Scholar

11. Janusz Bugajski, Barbara Balaj, CSIS Lavrentis Lavrentiadis Chair in Southeast European Studies, Western Balkans policy review 2010. CSIS, 2010 - Political Science, 2010.Search in Google Scholar

12. John O'Brennan, The EU and the Western Balkans: Stabilization and Europeanization Through Enlargement, Routledge, 2008.Search in Google Scholar

13. Milica Delevic, Regional Cooperation in the Western Balkans, EU Institute for Security Studies, Chaillot Paper, no. 104, July 2007 [journal on line]; 15 – 16; available from http://www.iss.europa.eu/chaillot/chai104.pdf; Internet; accessed 15 December 2007.Search in Google Scholar

14. R. Craig, Nation, War in the Balkans 1991 – 2002”, Carlisle: U.S. Army War College, August 2003, 1-2.Search in Google Scholar

15. Sanjay Kathuria, Western Balkan integration and the EU: an agenda for trade and growth, World Bank Publications, 2008.10.1596/978-0-8213-7472-6Search in Google Scholar

Recommended articles from Trend MD

Plan your remote conference with Sciendo