Challenges of Western Balkan Countries on Their Road to EU Integration
Keywords:Europe, Balkan Region, conflicts, cooperation, integration.
AbstractWestern Balkans is one of the regions that has experienced the worst and the longest transition after the Cold War. The dissolution of Yugoslavia at the beginning of 1990s was associated by destructive interethnic conflicts, by local and regional wars, and also by political and ethnic accidents. Western Balkans is also closely related to Europe politically and economically. The historical period to be considered in this research is the post-Cold War period, after the immense changes in central Europe, and the southeast Europe, i.e. the Balkans. The international factor has actively intervened in the Balkans. The international presence is both military and civil. Various international mechanisms have played a determining factor through direct activities in the region. The process of dissolution of former Yugoslavia has fragmentized the Western Balkans in many spheres, starting from the border changes to demographic changes. This process also resulted in creation of new states that changed the geopolitics of the region. The fragmentation was caused by many factors: historical, political, economic, military, geopolitical, and strategic. Also, this development was determined by the political concepts that are leading the region in respect to EU integration. The development of the regional political process has now conditioned and oriented the Western Balkans towards integration in Euro Atlantic structures. Knowing that these countries have as a strategic aim the full membership in the EU, I can say that this makes the process more dynamic and faster, because we are dealing with a process that entails the same principles and same values that are closely related to regional interests. Regardless of the same orientation on values and geopolitical interest, the Western Balkans is currently in a fragmentized level in regards to EU integration
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