2020 could be a crucial year for the Western Balkans.
For over twenty years, the region has been stuck in a never-ending transition. Politics, economics, and geopolitics are still falling prey to old and new sources of instability. With the path towards EU integration still uncertain, many governments in the region are marked by autocratic tendencies, and international actors strive for a bigger say in the region. NATO is expanding to the Balkans, but regional security still depends on foreign soft power and influence. And while recipes for economic transition focus mainly on foreign direct investments that often lack transparency, Balkan societies are losing their citizens to substantial emigration.
What are the factors contributing to Western Balkans instability in the age of Covid-19? Will the region continue to be ground for renewed geopolitical competition? How can the Balkans leave the transition phase and find a sustainable, balanced path onwards?
ISPI. The Italian Institute for International Political Studies (ISPI) is an independent think tank dedicated to being a resource for government officials, business executives, journalists, civil servants students and the public at large wishing to better understand international issues. It monitors geopolitical areas as well as major trends in international affairs. Founded in Milan in 1934, ISPI is the only Italian Institute – and one of the few in Europe – to place research activities side by side to training, organization of international conferences, and the analysis of the international environment for businesses. Comprehensive interdisciplinary analysis is achieved through close collaboration with experts (academics and non-academics alike) in political, economic, legal, historical and strategic studies and through an evergrowing network of think tanks, research centers, and Universities in Europe and beyond.