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Balkan futures – Three scenarios for 2025

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What will the Western Balkans look like in 2025? Will we witness Republika Srpska declare independence, a worsening of relations between Kosovo* and Serbia, and the rise of ethnic tensions across the region – or will we celebrate Montenegro and Serbia joining the EU, with good reason to hope that the rest of the region will soon follow?

This Chaillot Paper presents three contrasting scenarios for the horizon of 2025 – best-case, medium-case, and worst-case. Each scenario takes account of the impact of underlying megatrends (trends that are unlikely to change by 2025) on the future trajectory of the region: the scenarios do not just spell out what 2025 could look like, they also explain how decisions with far-reaching consequences taken at critical junctures (called game-changers) will shape this future between today and then. They therefore serve not merely as a description, but also as a roadmap outlining the different options available.

*This designation is without prejudice to positions on status, and is in line with UNSCR 1244/1999 and the ICJ Opinion on the Kosovo declaration of independence.