2020 - KEY CHALLENGES TO MAINTAINING PEACE AND SECURITY IN THE WESTERN BALKANS

Jean-Charles LARSONNEUR (France)

11 August 2020

In the almost two decades since the end of the large-scale use of force to change the territorial political reality in the Western Balkans, much has been accomplished. The majority of the states of the former Yugoslavia are now firmly entrenched in the Euro-Atlantic institutions. With the exception of Serbia, the region is entirely comprised of NATO Allies or aspirants – the latest being the incorporation of North Macedonia earlier this year, and the peace and stability of areas with lingering tensions is actively guaranteed by NATO in cooperation with partner organisations such as the European Union, for example, in Bosnia and Herzegovina within the framework of Operation Althea. Every state in the region is also either now a member of the European Union or aspiring to be. Further, the region is surrounded by members of both institutions, binding the region with the economic, political, and security institutions and linkages serving as the foundation of democratic norms anchoring stability and prosperity in the greater area. Though some barriers to entry are higher than others, as a whole, the region is decidedly looking to the Euro-Atlantic community for its future.