NATO AND THE WESTERN BALKANSA GUIDE FOR THE MEDIA AND GENERAL PUBLIC
The North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) is set to finalize theAlliance’s new Strategic Concept this week at the Lisbon Summit (19-20 November). The current Strategic Concept was fashioned in April 1999,heavily influenced by the Alliance’s interventions in former Yugoslavia.Since then, NATO troops have helped keep the peace in the region,Western Balkan countries have contributed hundreds of troops to theInternational Security Assistance Force (ISAF) in Afghanistan and the promise of NATO membership has spurred the countries of the region toadopt security and political reforms that will hopefully consolidate their nascent democracies.But all is not well in the Balkans. A series of problems from incompletereforms and unconsolidated democratic institutions still plague theregion. Political gridlock in Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), the ongoingname dispute between the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia (FYROM) and Greece,Kosovo’s ambiguous status and the implications for Serbia are manifestations of the region’s persistent divides. Even the prospect of NATO membership has not prevented the deteriorationof relations and deepening of divisions between ethnicities, elites and publics throughout theregion. As a recent
New York Times
op-ed put it, “The Balkans can still be lost.”
This guide is a primer on the state of relations between NATO and the WesternBalkans. Our research team
The Athens Working Group: Transforming the Balkans
is part of the Hellenic Center for European Studies (EKEM), a think-tank under theauspices of the Greek Ministry of Foreign Affairs based in Athens. This guideinaugurates
The Athens Working Group's
second year, having been founded in 2009 as part of the US-GREECE TASK FORCE, a partnership with the Center for Strategicand International Studies (CSIS) based in Washington, DC. Our researchers areavailable for comment and analysis to the media.Following the Lisbon Summit we will be releasing a policy report on our website(ekemprogram.org/csis).
NATO and the Western Balkans Hellenic Center for European Studies (EKEM)
New Strategic Concept, Old Challenges Athens Working Group: Transforming the Balkans
This guideoffers theinternationalmedia and thepublic a primeron the state ofrelationsbetween NATOand theBalkans.