A European policy for the Balkans?
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The Balkan countries were formed from the dissolution of the former Yugoslavia (Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia, Montenegro, Slovenia and FYROM, Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia) as well as Albania, Romania and Bulgaria. The Balkans pose a double challenge for the EU: they are both a "backyard", a neighborhood that must be controlled and stabilized and also the test of the CFSP and ESDP. Indeed, the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in 1991 demonstrated the failure of the EU to work for peace despite the European Political Cooperation and the emerging CFSP. The High Representative for CFSP, Javier Solana, summarizes the importance of the Balkans for the EU: "the Balkans are upon us and the security of Europe depends on their stability. They are also a way to test the CFSP. In the Balkans as elsewhere, the European Union must prove itself. "
Having demonstrated its inability to find an adequate political response and military intervention in the Balkan crisis in the 1990s, the European Union has developed a comprehensive policy for the region, focusing on the economic partnership and providing perspective of association and the end of European integration to the Balkan countries.
The current policy of the European Union appears enhanced (political influence and visible actions). The objectives of stabilizing the "Western Balkans" (Croatia, Albania, Serbia Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina), however, are incomplete while the integration prospects remain uncertain.
European policy for the Balkans was marked by the initial inability of the EU to provide a crisis response from the breakup of the former Yugoslavia in the 1990s, but the Union has gradually set a comprehensive policy for the region.
The EU could not intervene effectively to ensure the stabilization of the region in the aftermath of the breakup of Yugoslavia
In the early 1990s, the European Union failed to respond to the crisis (for example, Germany in January 1992 recognized Croatia and Slovenia, before other EU members). Then the Bosnian conflict and the Kosovo crisis marked a deletion of the EU against the United States and NATO.
During the 1990s, the EU action has been non-existent and the European commitment was insufficient to address the conflict. Since 1991, the Community and the Union have deployed an observer and supervision mission, which has become an essential tool for information and action by the EU in the region (ECMM and EUMM on December 22, 2000, was composed of 120 international monitors and 75 local employees, and headquartered in Sarajevo and it operates in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Serbia and Montenegro, Albania and FYROM).
Despite the many decisions taken in the CFSP, the Community has failed to find a solution to Yugoslavia because of internal dissent (Germany favors self-determination and recognizes the early independence of Croatia and Slovenia while France remains committed to the integrity of the former Yugoslavia, Greece opposes the recognition of the new republics, in 1994 it introduced an embargo against Macedonia ). The U.S. intervention will be crucial to stabilize the region: the United States are part of the "contact group" with Russia and some European countries (France, Great Britain, Germany, Italy), which met in April 1994 so that the Serbian government could make a break with the Bosnian Serbs.
The active U.S. diplomacy facilitated the signing of the Dayton Accords (November 1995) which put an end to the Bosnian conflict in Bosnia and Herzegovina is now composed of two entities: Republika Srpska and Muslim-Croat Federation. NATO Implementation Force (IFOR and Stabilization Force, SFOR) ensures the implementation of agreements on the ground.
Tags: Dayton Accords, Balkan crisis, Bosnian conflict