Multiple Failures in the Western Balkans

Paper presented Prof. Dr. Mustafa TürkeşDepartment of International Relations,Middle East Technical University, AnkaraMultiple Failures in the Western BalkansAbstractThis paper analysis the policies adopted and implemented by major powers in the Western Balkans. In the last 30 years, the Western Balkans, Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, and Serbia faced a dual integration problem; external and domestic integration. This paper shows that policies hitherto put into practice by the EU and the USA transformed the difficulties. The policies adopted by the national actors in the Western Balkans on the domestic integration process delivered no satisfaction with a sustainable position either. I argue that the EU pursued a “neither total exclusion nor rapid integration” strategy toward the Western Balkans. However, the USA treated the region from its strategic point of view. It placed Western Balkans within the European security architecture, thereby attributing a role to the EU that has never entirely shouldered. I argue that the policies adopted and implemented by the EU and USA reached a level of unsustainable position. The EU failed to offer a sustainable prospect for full membership, while the USA refrained from providing necessary funds for developmental investments. Such a lack of developmental investment in the Balkans opened up an avenue for Russian and Chinese penetration in the region through structural acquisition. Chinese and Russian structural investments sought to empower their economic and political interests. It thus turned into a process of great power competition in the Western Balkans. Some may mistakenly be assumed that such competition may be beneficial for the Western Balkans. Contrary to this assumption, I argue that multiple failures result from external Great Power competition, coupled with domestic integration failures. It is a vicious cycle of numerous failures. The paper concludes that unless there is an apparent revision of the policies at international and national levels, such complex shortcomings may result in the transformation of the problems rather than solving any of them.Keywords: Western Balkans, Multiple failures, EU policy, US policy, domestic and external integration tendencies.


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Citation Formats
M. Türkeş, “Multiple Failures in the Western Balkans,” presented at the T.C. İSTANBUL GELİŞİM ÜNİVERSİTESİ ULUSLARARASI UYGULAMALI SOSYAL BİLİMLER KONGRESİ IGU-CON USBK-2022 10-11 MART 2022, İSTANBUL, İstanbul, Türkiye, 2022, Accessed: 00, 2023. [Online]. Available: