A glance at the map of Europe reveals that there is strangely no European Union in a corner called the Western Balkans.
Although Serbia, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania, and Bosnia and Herzegovina have pledged to join the group one day, they seem to be steadily moving away from the EU, rather than getting closer, every year.
A recent study by IAI—— Institute of International Affairs – Indicates that in the new seven-year budget, the amount of funds allocated under the EU’s Pre-Accession Assistance Instrument (IPA) has actually been reduced.
In addition, the trade deficit in the Western Balkans (EU companies active in the region repatriate profits) is greater than the amount of aid, which does not include the massive loss of human capital caused by immigration.
In addition, the gap between the rich and the poor between the region and its EU member countries Croatia, Slovenia, Bulgaria, Romania, Greece, and Hungary is widening.
The additional EU funds for post-pandemic recovery will allow these EU countries to receive 11 times more funds per capita than the six Western Balkan countries.
In the Western Balkans, between 2021 and 2027, each state will receive 500 Euros per capita, while Croatia’s per capita income is about 5,100 Euros and Greece’s 5,700 Euros.
These figures speak for themselves. While advocating cohesion, the EU is also implementing ghettoization.
In this case, any promise to open the door to new members sounds hypocritical, because the goal post is moving and the distance from the elusive finish line is increasing.
An old joke that really explains the collapse of communism is: “They pretend to pay us and we pretend to work.” In the Western Balkans, people might say, “They pretend to want us to join, and we pretend to be ready.”
This situation seems to be in line with Serbia’s agenda. The local dictator does not want to join the European Union because his loyalty lies elsewhere.
It also plays geopolitical games in the hands of circles in several countries, from bringing foreign state actors to the region to assuming Border redraw And build Greater Albania.
You break it, you own it.
Instability in the Western Balkans may exceed that in the region. Under the leadership of President Joe Biden, the United States is unlikely to serve as a military police in the region again.
The EU does not have many options. Either it makes full use of its main tool-its soft power-or it needs to monitor the weaknesses of the African continent in a tough way.
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[Edited by Josie Le Blond]