Speaking with Dimitris Verikios on Alpha Radio’s “Geopolitical Games” programme, Ioannis Armakolas analyzed the problems that have been created by the lack of a guaranteed prospect of EU membership for the Western Balkans. This void, he argued, goes a long way towards explaining the current crisis in the region, the most worrying of the last two decades.
“The EU does not seem to thoroughly understand the complications that would ensue from the further destabilization of the region. It has been complacent, because it does not believe anything extreme will happen […]. Overall, I think that the EU has not demonstrated much awareness of how difficult the situation has become in the region over the last 20 years,” he noted. He also emphasized that there is no room for “alternative plans” in the region.
On the issue of Bosnia, he said that “[Bosnia] has been left to its own devices for many years, which has allowed the Serb secessionist movement to grow. And we know what happens when the Serbs try to part ways with the rest of the country: we saw it happen in the 90s, with the wars […]”. He went on to note that possible tensions could only be avoided in the wider region when there are “political prospects, economic development, interconnectivity, and strong leadership from the EU and the US”.
He ended by explaining the problems created by the reproduction within the EU of stereotypes regarding the countries in the region, and provided examples of the significant changes that took place in other states which faced similar problems before joining the EU. He also explained why Greece needs to exercise consistent and coherent active diplomacy in the Western Balkans, too.
You can listen to the interview here, in Greek.