Seize the geopolitical moment: the Western Balkans and European security

European Defence Studies

Peace, Security & Defence

Picture of Paul Taylor
Paul Taylor

Senior Fellow for Peace, Security and Defence, Friends of Europe; author or “After the Ice”, “Crossing the Wilderness”, and “Murky Waters”

In the former Soviet space, we have more or less frozen conflicts. In the Western Balkans, we have frozen solutions

In the new geopolitical Europe shaped by Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, the Western Balkans are an object of heightened competition. There is an urgent need for fresh momentum in the EU’s integration of the Western Balkans. Yet, growing indifference in most western EU member states to the enlargement and accession of the Western Balkans, coupled with disillusionment throughout the Western Balkans, hinders any significant progress. The EU must end its neglect of the Western Balkans and seize the geopolitical moment to hasten their accession process.

In Friends of Europe’s latest study, Senior Fellow and journalist Paul Taylor examines what the EU and the Euro-Atlantic community need to do to advance the economic and political integration of the Western Balkans into Europe, provide bigger incentives for reforms and prevent a drift into potential armed conflict from ethnic nationalism and corrupt governance.

Informed by interviews with experts from national governments, the EU and NATO, international organisations, the military, academia and civil society in Europe and the United States, this publication offers a series of recommendations to the EU, NATO, France and Germany, and the Western Balkan governments on reviving the European integration process.

This study is the 11th in the European Defence Cooperation series, following ten similar studies on FranceGermany, the United KingdomPolandItalytransatlantic defence cooperation, the Arctic, the Sahel, the Black Sea and space.

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