Despite the coronavirus pandemic, 2020 could be a crucial year for the Western Balkans. For over twenty years, the region has been stuck in a never-ending transition. Politics, economics, and geopolitics are still falling prey to old and new sources of instability. With the path towards the EU integration still uncertain, today many governments are marked by autocratic stances and international actors strive for a bigger say in the region. NATO is expanding to the Balkans, but regional security still depends on foreign soft power and influence. And while recipes for economic transition focus mainly on foreign direct investments that often lack transparency, Balkan societies are losing their citizens to substantial emigration.
What are the factors contributing to the Western Balkans instability in the age of Covid-19? Will the region be the ground for renewed geopolitical competition? How can the Balkans exit the transition and find a sustainable balance between all these tensions?
Table of Contents
1. After the Nineties: A Never-Ending Political Transition
3. Making Inroads: Competing Powers in the Balkans
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21 May, 3 p.m. (CEST)