The New Political Dynamics of Southeastern Europe

Wednesday, January 23, 2008
12:00pm-1:30pm
1219 International Affairs Building

Presenter: Gordon N. Bardos
Assistant Director, Harriman Institute

Discussant: Alex N. Grigor'ev
Executive Director, Project on Ethnic Relations, Princeton, NJ

The Balkans are undergoing their most profound period of change since Slobodan Milosevic's overthrow in 2000. Some changes--such as the expansion of the EU and NATO to several countries in the region and the promotion of regional free trade agreements--have been positive. Others, however, have potentially destabilizing effects. These new developments--the creation of new states, the changing of borders, the withdrawal of the U.S. military presence in the region, E.U. indecision over when the Western Balkan countries will be admitted into the union, and the return of Russia as a major player in the region--are increasing strategic uncertainty in the Balkans, and are taking place within an overall regional context of economic depression, the sub-optimal performance of democratic
institutions, and the contested popular legitimacy of a number of these states.

Bardos will discuss these new developments,as well as analyze a number of issues international policy must deal with in the coming years as it tries to maintain forward momentum in the region's democratic transition: the utility of consociational versus integrative political mechanisms in multiethnic Balkan states, the advantages and disadvantages of strict policies of conditionality as applied to the Balkan countries, and the importance of expanding the EU and NATO into the Western Balkans.

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