JOINT 94th ROSE ROTH AND GSM SEMINAR REPORT
THE WESTERN BALKANS: TRANSITION CHALLENGES, EUROPEAN ASPIRATIONS AND LINKS TO THE MENA REGION
SARAJEVO, BOSNIA AND HERZEGOVINA
21-23 March 2017
Several Western Balkan countries are in the midst of a serious political and economic crisis which is complicating their relations with the European Union (EU) and NATO. But there are problems in the West which have spilled over into the region. The financial crisis, the rise of populist and even anti-democratic political movements in the West, uncertainty about US foreign policy priorities in the wake of Presidential election, Brexit and an EU identity crisis and its moratorium on enlargement all have had adverse implications for the region. While the prospect of Euro-Atlantic integration remains the primary impetus for reform, the EU is in the midst of an “identity crisis” which, in the eyes of many in the region, seems to have made prospects for accession more remote, thereby opening up opportunities for nationalist and sectarian movements to block reform, undermine accession efforts and reignite long-standing tensions throughout the region. These tensions were made very apparent during Federica Mogherini’s recent visit to the region.