Strategic Analysis Think Tank with the financial support of the Ministry of Foreign and European Affairs of the Slovak Republic launched a new project entitled „Analysis of political dynamics in the Western Balkans in the light of current geopolitical challenges – a new strategy for the Slovak Republic„.
The aim of the project is to prepare an expert analytical study that will serve as a political baseline for a new approach of the Slovak Republic to the Western Balkan region and (selected countries of) the Eastern Partnership in the context of the new geopolitical challenges and EU enlargement.
The Western Balkan region is currently at an imaginary impasse, as EU enlargement does not seem to be progressing, inter-state conflicts persist, and inter-ethnic tensions threaten the stability of several countries in the region. Geopolitical and economic challenges make the region particularly vulnerable to the possible consequences of the ongoing conflict in Ukraine.
The polarization of societies in the countries of the region has increased, significantly fuelled by pro-Russian disinformation actors and their local proxies, which has reduced cooperation of the countries of the region on the issue of joining the European Union. Public support around the region for their accession to the EU, with a few isolated exceptions (Albania, Kosovo), is declining – fastest in the largest country in the region – Serbia. Moreover, the promise of the European Union to include countries such as Ukraine and Moldova in its structures, potentially also Georgia, may affect the dynamics and motivation of the Western Balkan Euro-integration process. Given these new geopolitical challenges, the Slovak Republic needs a new strategic approach to the Western Balkans region to clarify and possibly update its foreign policy interests in relation to the region and, ultimately, to think strategically about how to adapt its diplomatic and other activities to current developments in the region.
The study will aim to assess and compare the dynamics and perspectives of the Euro-integration processes of the Western Balkan countries and (selected) Eastern Partnership countries, thus contributing to the political debate on EU enlargement, bearing in mind the foreign policy interests of the Slovak Republic. Also, the study will identify prospective areas of cooperation with the Western Balkan countries and (selected) Eastern Partnership countries that require special attention from the EU integration process and Euro-Atlantic structures views.