Slovakia and the Western Balkans in 2023: A Year of Turbulence

The year 2023 can be described as a year of turbulence both in Slovakia and in the Western Balkans (WB6). While the early elections of September 30, 2023 in Slovakia led to the formation of a new government that is changing the country’s foreign policy, the Western Balkans came as close to a “hot” violent war as they have ever been since 1999. The armed incident in Banjska in the north of Kosovo1 on September 23–24th was a reminder of the fragility of peace in the region and how easily it can be disrupted by actors pursuing narrow agendas that could indirectly damage the peace process in a broad sense. The region is on the brink partly because of the escalation in tension that led to violence in Kosovo in May, June, and then September 2023 but also because the Serb leader Milorad Dodik has continued to “play with fire” in Republika Srpska in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH).

The article is part of the Yearbook of Slovakia’s Foreign Policy 2023, which is a unique project of the Slovak Foreign Policy Association that has for the past two decades been successfully contributing to the development of the tradition of the regular evaluation and analysis of the foreign policy of the Slovak Republic in the given year and supporting the cultivation of the foreign policy debate. The Yearbook serves for the exchange of opinions, knowledge, experience, positions and arguments to improve the quality of decisions in the area of foreign policy to best serve the interests of this country.

The author of the article – „Slovakia and the Western Balkans in 2023: A Year of Turbulence,“ is our President and Founder –  Jan Cingel.

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