Nothing new from the Balkans, but hope is not lost

BY SELIM IBRAIMI -INSTITUTE FOR SECURITY STUDIES AND DEVELOPMENT (ISSD)

Poverty, corruption, clientelism, nepotism and political/ interethnic instability continue to hold the Balkans’ future.
Corrupt politicians in Kosovo, Albania, Macedonia, Serbia and Bosnia have strengthened their positions in  ethnic based communities and with the risk to be difficult to overcome the negative trends mainly based on the bad practices of governments and politicians.

In Kosovo, current political and government leaders, tried to suspend a previous ruling on the Special Court.

In Macedonia, the pro-European coalition partners also tried to cause a new crisis through the Health Ministry, which in last month has become a business deal of coalition parties.
The pro-Western prime minister Zoran Zaev has been almost trapped and still unknown whether he will continue to be aloof to the elements within the government for a new coalition composed by two major parties, Social Democrats (SDSM-former socialist party of Macedonia) and the Democratic Union for Integration (DUI). The new internal game between the Prime Minister Zoran Zaev, the leader of the Democratic Union for Integration Ali Ahmeti and Ziadin Sela , the leader of Alliance for Albanians (AA), goes in favor of Russia’s foreign policy objectives for the Western Balkans.

However, the consequences for the coalition’s breakthrough at this crucial moment for Macedonia would not pass without even touching the Social Democrats themselves.The international community at this stage of the big changes around Europe has to maintain the balance of security in Macedonia by trying with substantial reforms and independent courts to transform Macedonia into a better future for all.

Washington at this moment is not interested in the new adventure of coalition partners in Macedonia. For the U.S., the coalition has a lot of work to do. Now that the positive climate goes on, factors that are interested in internal frustration are precisely the policy leaders who are trying to cause unrest and insecurity in Macedonia. The prime minister should not be part of this political war between DUI and the Alliance for the Albanians. Perhaps the next election will shape the true winner in the Albanian bloc.

Serbia continues the double policy between Washington and Moscow. Foreign investment has boosted the government’s appetite for new revisions and opportunities to buy modern Russian arms.

Bosnia with old wounds remains hot spot. The EU and U.S. as a guarantor of peace and stability have expressed concerns about the future of the Federation.

Bosnia has almost been knocked down by irresponsible politicians and at the same time, causing a new migration and rise of national poverty.

In Albania the political class has not moved at all from the scars of the past.
Opposition deputies were revolted by the election of the new Prosecutor, causing tensions in parliament.
Independent justice just like in other Balkan countries is still far from Albania.

The Berlin process is seen as a path to integration into the EU, but all this will depend on local actors, because in times of global insecurity, the process of transforming the region into a place of perspective is not so easy.

The EU without support from the U.S. and the UK will find it difficult to continue the new initiatives in the region. Their implementation will take time and new generation of leaders.
By the end of the decade, the Balkan states are still dealing with the problems of the late 19 -20th century.

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