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Western Balkans Futures

Western Balkans Futures

Foresight-based project on trajectories for the Western Balkans
Barbora Legényová Tomáš Strážay

About the project:

The countries of Western Balkans face multiple geopolitical, economic, humanitarian and social challenges. Although a slow but steady process of NATO enlargement is present, none of the WB countries is yet close to the EU membership. Global actors use that as an opportunity to increase their influence on Europe. Basic security concerns, handicapped political process, informal dependencies, unclear perspectives and global developments bouse the region in different directions. COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated the level of uncertainty, with vaccination becoming another hot political issue. The EU’s tactics towards the region assume increased leverage, political accountability and credibility, and it will not remain unnoticed by global and regional contestants such as Russia, China, Turkey or Saudi Arabia.

EU’s values-centered conditionality does not necessarily correspond to the political and economic interests of local elites. Hence, there is a need for an exploration of the possible trajectories for the Western Balkans considering the EU’s priorities, other players’ power projection and pandemic-related developments. The mapping of potential trends and potential outcomes for the Western Balkans, as well as including the V4 perspective into the debate, will uplift the discussion on the importance of the region for the West, in particular, EU and NATO. By means of Central European cooperation, we hope to ensure that the best recommendations are developed and heard in the EU and the U.S.

The “Western Balkans – Exploring Trajectories for the Region” project is supported by the International Visegrad Fund and is part of a broader effort called “Western Balkans Futures” aimed at elevating and extending the debate around the future of Western Balkans.

The project entails the publication of the “Scenarios for the Western Balkans 2030″ report based on the scenario-building workshop with experts from Western Balkans and Visegrad countries that took place on 9-10 September 2021.

The project is supported byInternational Visegrad Fund.

The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.

Articles:

Podcasts:

  • Bosnian Political Crisis (part of the “Summit for Democracy” episode), with Miloš Šolaja, University of Banja Luka (BiH), and Marta Szpala, Centre of Eastern Studies (PL)
  • Elections in Serbia (part of the “Autocrats Sustain Power in Serbian and Hungarian Elections” episode), with Aleksandar Vasović, Reuters (SRB)

Online discussions:

Leader of the project:

Visegrad Insight

Partners:

Albanian Institute for International Studies
Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society
EUROTHINK – Center for European Strategies
Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade
Prague Security Studies Institute
Slovak Foreign Policy Association