Western Balkan Countries Joining The Eu Politics
The leaders of European Union always insisted on the fact that the map of European Union won't be full until the Western Balkan countries would join the European Union. Under the Western Balkan countries Brussels mentioned Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Montenegro, Macedonia and Albania. Slovenia, which was also the member of Yugoslavia until the 1990s has already joined the European Union and does not want to be associated with the Balkan region. Croatia is mentioned to be the following country of the region that would join the European Union and Zagreb planned to join the Union yet in 2007. The negotiations about the entry to the European Union got to start at the 17th of March 2005, but the foreign affairs ministries of EU postponed their beginning. The integration of the Balkan region into the European Union seems to be already discussed question, the negotiation processes started and the applicants are ready to provide the reforms. European Union is already deeply involved in different social, political and cultural processes in Balkan region: "The European Union is today actively involved in conflict prevention and stabilization in the Balkans. It has fostered regional initiatives aimed at stabilizing the region and promoting democracy and prosperity. These initiatives are based on experiences and lessons from international crisis management and are the first serious attempt to replace the previous, reactive crisis intervention policy in South Eastern Europe with a comprehensive, long-term conflict prevention strategy. In this paper I intend to examine the European Union strategy of encouraging regional integration in South East Europe" (Mejlina Modanu, 2003). The collective meeting held in Greek Thessaloniki (2003) revealed the interest of the European Union in the Balkan Peninsula. The members of the meeting, representatives of European Union and the republics, which were the members of former Yugoslavia and also Albania discussed perspectives of further integration process of this region into united Europe: "The western Balkan countries have now realized that they have responsibilities towards each other and that they have many challenges in common, some of a cross-border nature. They see now the considerable benefits of increasingly close regional cooperation - political understanding, economic and social prosperity. This new resolve to address issues of common relevance in a cooperative manner is reflected by concrete progress on the ground" (European Comission, 2005). The first steps were made in Greece and to see the result of this meeting we could observe already.
History changes far more quick than politics does, which the same time is changing quicker than the institutions. The wars on Balkans and their after effects have taken by surprise the plans of the European Union dealing with the international process: "The wars in FRY greatly disrupted trade in all Balkan countries. The slow pace of transition, political instability and the effects of war have delayed economic growth and the integration of the Balkans in regional and international trade initiatives. However, precisely because of these region-wide consequences of the wars, there is major interdependence among the SEE countries today" (Mejlina Modanu, 2003). They made a stress on the peculiar role of the western alliance, and especially the European Union as a peace guarantor and security of the Balkans as well as promotion of the democratic reforms within the region. The real long lasting success in Kosovo could be provided only by the perspective of the Balkans integration with the already developed part of Europe. The lost countries of the South - Eastern Europe are transformed into formal and non - formal protectorates, which also supposes deep involvement of the European Union in the providing the security in the whole region: "The promotion of order in the Balkans (within the context of a larger European context) has been the central policy concern of states and international organizations since the early 1990s. The existence and the persistence of the conflict seemed to challenge the new possibilities for security and stability in Europe. It is very much in response to the Balkan crises that the EU had to develop its order-promotion identity. In the wake of the Kosovo crisis this identity was transformed into committed policy-making both towards the region as well as its larger external relations. This was reflected in the understanding that the countries of the Balkans no longer represented a distant abroad but potential candidates. This shift of policy suggests that the accession, association and partnership activities of the Southeast European states can extend the EU's order to the region by initiating the development of a nascent security community in the region. The justification for such supposition derives from the history of trust-promotion among the member states of the EU. The establishment of order in the region is made out in the promotion of security community practices in Southeastern Europe through the socialization by and in EU-initiated activities. It is significant that at the current stage, the EU involvement in the Balkans is actively engaging regional state elites in activities that intend to bring their decision-making in line with promoted standards" (Milan Kavalski, 2004).
It goes without saying that significant involvement of the European Union needs significant political involvement and massive influx of the costs for the reconstruction and further development of the countries in Balkan area. The European Security Pact is the solution dictated not by economical but rather political, strategic and moral reasons. Central Europe with their experience of democratic and economical transformation could and must provide the positive income in the reformation on the Balkans. But the current situation on the Balkans could be described in such a way: "Therefore, the current state of affairs in Southeastern Europe can be described as the establishment of an elite security community. It is a type of a nascent security community that promotes a framework for strategic interaction between the EU and Balkan state elites, through which the EU advances its interests and values, while building regional consensus on the objectives of policy-making. The EU's power of attraction (i.e. coercion) maintains a broad agreement on the fundamental rules of such contractual relations. The interaction among elites within this context promotes the transfer of Euro-Atlantic standards to their policy-making. In such pattern of relations, Balkan state elites are bounded by the norms of prescribed behavior (which includes regional cooperation) or risk punishment. Thus, the experiences from following prescribed patterns of behavior inform the decision-making process and modify its framework towards expected habits and policy outcomes." (Milan Kavalski, 2004). Taking into account all the factors we should understand the urgency of the changes in Balkans. They were providing real threat to the European security being so severe destabilization area, which is located tightly to the borders of European Union. It is not surprising that the process of stable and consolidating democracies would be stopped. But we should not forget that the most perspective candidates such as Bulgaria, Slovenia, which are located in the area, have joined the European Union, the same time it should be noted that the other countries met. The direct involvement of European Union in the solution of the Balkans' problems caused rethinking the strategy of its enlargement. It goes without saying that strategic position of European Union and its interest on the Balkans is still very high, as too many efforts were undertaken to regulate different problems: "The EU has played a large role in state-building and conflict-prevention measures, but it suffers from a credibility problem for not having intervened effectively in curbing ethnic violence when it first broke out in the Former Yugoslavia in the 1990s" (EES and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2004). The Balkans are in the priority interest of European Union and the unity of Central European countries understand what role the Balkan peninsular is playing for the whole Union, being the core point in the integration to the East, providing the same time strategic area for further activity of the Union. It goes without saying that the role and the presence of the Union in the Western Balkans. Nowadays European Union is trying to apply the policy of increased political and security integration as the core interest of the Union is to prevent further conflicts between the opposite sides in the Western Balkans as it creates real threat to the security of the European Union. The same time EU does not want to slow the process of economical integration. But it should be noted that for quite a short period of time the Balkan countries got to solve a number of the significant problems - the heritage of the nearest past. The last decade of the 20th century and the beginning of the 21st century every country located in the region experienced severe conflicts and every of the countries regulated these problems differently. That is why contemporary political and economical situation in these countries as well as social sphere are significantly different from each other and there were a number of the problems in the middle of the first decade in 21st century: "Nevertheless, problems still exist, most notably in high unemployment rates, huge trade deficits and in the fact that, in some places, the informal sector represents as much as 50 percent of the local economy. To help the region climb out of this situation, Fisher offered a general prescription of increasing foreign aid, foreign direct investment (FDI) and trade. Foreign aid has been quite high in the region, but as the violence is quelled, international actors must begin shifting aid from conflict management and refugee support to institution building" (EES and the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik, 2004). It goes without saying that the reforms and changes the life facilities in the Balkan region for better became possible because of significant involvement of the European Union and it should be noted that nowadays the life in the Balkans have been significantly changed: the reforms have already started, the measures to prevent the corruption and organized crimes are undertaken, the connections, broken by the conflicts are renewed. It goes without saying that the economical interest of European Union in the region is obvious: ". But prior to improving product quality, regional trade within the western Balkans needs to expand, so that products that are not necessarily competitive in EU countries can find regional markets.
Article name: Western Balkan Countries Joining The Eu Politics essay, research paper, dissertation