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Western Balkans

The countries of the Western Balkans are geographically surrounded by EU member states, and the EU’s general approach towards the region is characterised by stabilisation through integration.

The conflicts which blighted the region in the 1990s posed an existential challenge to the Common Security and Foreign Policy (CFSP) and in 2003, the EU went beyond its declaratory statements and launched the first ever Common Security and Defence Policy (CSDP) mission, EUPM, in Bosnia and Herzegovina and subsequently, the first military operation, Concordia, in the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia. Currently, the military operation EUFOR Althea in Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Union’s largest mission to date, EULEX, in Kosovo, provide tangible illustrations of the EU’s continued commitment to ensuring peace and stability in the region. Furthermore, the objectives of the Union and the work of the High Representative are also supported by the European Union Special Representatives (EUSRs) in Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

On 1 July 2013, Croatia became the 28th member state of the European Union. In 2012, Montenegro opened the accession negotiations, followed by Serbia in 2013. In June 2018, the European Council agreed to conditionally open the accession negotiations with Albania and the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia in June 2019. The prospect of EU membership remains open to the potential candidates: Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo.

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    01 September 2000

    The recent developments in Serbia are indicative of a change in the political makeup of the country. The regime is becoming more repressive. A spate of highly publicised assassinations has sparked wider debate about the ability of the regime to maintain order. Many military officials refuse to obey orders or are switching camps, especially in Montenegro.

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    01 June 2000

    The transatlantic defence community drew divergent conclusions from NATO’s Operation Allied Force in Kosovo. Many observers asserted that the operation showed the European allies to be irremediably behind the United States in applying decisive new forms of advanced technology warfare.

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    01 June 2000

    Among the institutions which emerged during the crisis management phase in Bosnia-Herzegovina and Kosovo, the so-called Balkan Contact Group turned out to be the innovation with the greatest impact on European institutional structures.

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    01 May 1998

    This Chaillot Paper is innovative on more than one count. It is a multi-authored, multinational and centripetal analysis of a very specific issue, the complexity of which deserves a multifaceted, analytical approach of this type. For some, it may even constitute an exercise in political correctness.

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    01 December 1997

    Concerned as they are by the many crises occurring on their very doorstep, the European public, politicians and analysts seem hardly to recognize other conflicts in Europe that have not happened and need not happen. Crisis prevention and peace-building have been sidelined by conflict management and peacekeeping.

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    01 October 1997

    The war in Bosnia has witnessed a broad swing in the moods of the "international community" and of European nations particularly. In the wake of the end of the Cold War and of the victory in the Gulf War, expectations run high at the outbreak that collective security would have been able to deal with regional disturbances.

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    01 October 1994

    The Yugoslav crisis, posing for over three years now a challenge to the crisis-management ability of the international community, it has influenced the restructuring of post-Cold War security relations and has complicated Western Europe's development of a Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) and search for a new role in international affairs.

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    01 March 1994

    As a member of the first team of research fellows at this Institute, from 1990 to 1993, Nicole Gnesotto made an invaluable contribution to the Institute's work. After leaving the Institute, she kindly agreed to write a paper on developments in former Yugoslavia. We are glad to publish this essay which, in a stimulating and original way, raises a number of important questions on the lessons to be learnt from the developments in former Yugoslavia and Western policy reactions.

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