Is It Possible to Achieve Political Stability in the Balkans?

Similar Posts

This post is also available in: Türkçe Русский

With the breakup of Yugoslavia, many states were established in the Balkans. These states are ethnically quite heterogeneous. These publics, who own their historical heritage, make it difficult to ensure political stability in the cosmopolitan states in the region. In this context, one of the most important issues in the region is Serbian nationalism. Because Serbs still haven’t given up on their dream of “Greater Serbia”. From this point of view, it can be said that Serbs pose a threat to the sovereignty of the states in the region by taking various steps to connect to Serbia in the regions they live in.

Following the developments in the Balkans closely after the Russia-Ukraine War, Russia maintains the historical legacy it received from the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics (USSR) in its relations with Serbia. This situation, which creates political instability in the Balkans, causes various tensions in the relatively small states in the region. In a period when the integration of the Balkan countries with the European Union (EU) is in question, it is clear that neither the global powers nor the states in question do not want such instability. For this reason, the parties take various steps to speed up the process by eliminating the negativities in the EU integration process.

The influence of the Balkan countries is too important for Europe to be ignored, even if it does not play a leading role in the international system. Because it is obvious that energy supply and sustainability are important for the European state, most of which depend on Russia for energy. European countries, which want to break the energy trump held by Russia, are looking for new energy ways through the Balkans as well as returning to their own resources and sustainable energy sources.

In this context, the EU does not hesitate to apply diplomatic pressure for the solution of any negativity that may occur. Because, the President of Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Milorad Dodik, who squeezed Bosnia and Herzegovina with independence and Russia card at every opportunity, was asked to impose sanctions with the decision of the European Parliament, and it was foreseen that the influence of Serbian nationalism in the country would decrease relatively.[1] In addition, emphasizing democracy and prosperity in every platform, the EU aims that all of the union countries act in common with the EU’s foreign policy, both in their foreign policies and security policies, against possible threats. However, the union, which wants to prevent a problem from occurring inside before acting together abroad, in this context also demands from Serbia, which is a candidate country, to strengthen its EU orientation.[2]

It is obvious that the interests of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) and the EU overlap in the Balkans. Although the states in the region are economically interconnected, military security is more provided through NATO. In the current situation, although Russia has not made a move to shake the balance in the region, in the last instance, NATO will need to make its military power felt for the continuation of cooperation between NATO and the EU.

Within this scope, the United States is trying to prevent all kinds of movements that will pave the way for the emergence of any opportunity to expand Russia’s maneuver area through the Serbs, both diplomatically and militarily. Within this framework, Airborne Warning and Control Systems (AWACS) aircraft were deployed to Romania.[3] Although the reason for the shipment is shown as monitoring the operations in the eastern flank of NATO, it is understood that the main reason is a step towards ensuring the security of the region and intimidating Russia.

NATO, which also held talks with Bosnia and Herzegovina on scientific and technological cooperation, announced that the membership process of Bosnia and Herzegovina would be accelerated.[4] Thus, the alliance, emphasizing that peace will be achieved by preventing tensions in Bosnia and Herzegovina, has made its presence felt in the region more than enough.

On the other hand, Serbian nationalism is not just Bosnia and Herzegovina; It also threatens Kosovo. For this reason, the attitude of the Pristina administration is very clear. Kosovo has met with United Nations (UN) officials and conveyed that it will never accept the Association of Serb Municipalities.[5]

In the whole process, after Austria declared that it was ready to send soldiers in the face of the threats posed by Serbian nationalism, another step against Serbia came from Ukraine. Because the Kyiv administration invited Serbia to ban the channels that made Russian propaganda and called the volunteers to war.[6]

Serbia, on the other hand, got closer to Hungary in order to set a barrier to Kosovo’s EU membership. As a matter of fact, Budapest has declared that it will veto the said membership. For this reason, it is necessary to state that Serbia has friends such as Russia and Hungary, although strategies aimed at restraining Belgrade are implemented. Despite this, it can be said that the initiatives of the EU and NATO have reduced the tension in the region.

As a result, the Balkans stands out as one of the geographies where the rivalry between EU-NATO dual and Russia continues. However, recent developments in the region indicate that the influence of the West has increased. However, it can be argued that Serbian nationalism will continue to pose obstacle to stability.

[1] “Avrupa Parlamentosu Kararı: Milorad Dodik’e Yaptırım Talep Edildi”, Aljazeera,, (Date of Accession: 17.01.2023).

[2] “Avrupa Parlamentosu Kararı: Sırbistan AB Dış Politikasına Uyum Sağlayacak”, Tanjug,, (Date of Accession: 17.01.2023).

[3] “NATO AWACS Uçakları Romanya’ya Ulaştı”, Aljazeera,, (Date of Accession: 17.01.2023).

[4] “NATO AWACS Uçakları Romanya’ya Ulaştı”, Aljazeera,, (Date of Accession: 17.01.2023).

[5] “Kosova, Sırp Belediyeler Birliği’ni Asla Kabul Etmeyecek.”, Exit News,, (Date of Accession: 17.01.2023).

[6] “Ukrayna, Belgrad’ı Savaş İçin Gönüllü Toplamayı Bırakmaya Çağırdı”, Aljazeera,, (Date of Accession: 18.01.2023).