Euro-Atlantic Commitment of Western Balkans

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2016-60-7-37-47

P. Sokolova, Primakov Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO), 23, Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation  (

Abstract. In the article, milestones in formation of Euro-Atlantic aspirations in the Western Balkan states (Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia) are analyzed, the current stage of each country's integration into the EU and NATO is examined. The region represents the case of transatlantic solidarity with regard to security. The EU and the U.S./NATO share main strategic goals in the Western Balkans: to guarantee Kosovo's independence, to maintain the unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina, to keep the whole region on the Euro-Atlantic track not allowing strategic partnership of any Western Balkan republic with Russia in the situation of Russia–EU/U.S. confrontation over the Ukrainian crisis and sanctions. The region is an illustrative example of the EU/NATO burden sharing in security area. While the EU has gained its strength and become an experienced actor in principal peacekeeping operations in the region, NATO/U.S. still keep their role as major security guarantors to the most Western Balkans countries. The Ukrainian crisis has intensified the EU/NATO politics in the region and highlighted various degrees of Western Balkan states’ solidarity with the anti-Russian course: on one hand, Serbia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Macedonia have not joined Western sanctions – Milorad Dodik, the President of Republika Serbska, even praised Russian unification with the Crimea; Croatia, on the other hand, entirely associated itself with the EU/U.S. position. Europeanization has had an overall negative effect on Russian posture in the region, having considerably complicated the maintenance of its three-fold policy, namely: energy, identity and security. Although it is important to mention that the rising level of Euroscepticism in Serbia and Bosnia, accompanied with Russian activity, has intensified their humanitarian links and cooperation with Russia in the security field. Still the progress in Europeanization is a crucial factor for the Western Balkans stabilization. Peace and stability have not been fully achieved yet. Macedonian unrest may be a signal of general security situation worsening in the Western Balkans.

Keywords: Western Balkans, Europeanization, EU, NATO, U.S., Russia 


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For citation:
Sokolova P. Euro-Atlantic Commitment of Western Balkans. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2016, vol. 60, no. 7, pp. 37-47.

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