From the CIAO Atlas Map of Europe 

email icon Email this citation

CIAO DATE: 11/00

Challenges to Security in the South East Europe

Radovan Vukadinovic

October 2000

Copenhagen Peace Research Institute

1. Introduction

Ever since their creation, the states in this area were experiencing problems with their security. They were feeling the rivalries existing between great powers, they were exposed to their political manipulation and were used as little pawns in great games. At the same time, these countries were seeking foot-hold in alliances with great powers, which, in most cases, never worked. The mechanisms and institutions of the international relations that should be leading to security, such as balance of power in international relations, diplomacy, or creation of alliances, did not bear positive results. On the other hand, all of these states were to weak to even consider some sorts of their own models of security, built by themselves, that would enable them to counter the external powers.


2. Experiences with security in the South East Europe

During the Cold War era, the Balkans became a sort of tampon zone in relations between the two blocks. Although present in the Balkans through their members, the two leading powers—USA and USSR—held that the most important line of confrontation is the one dividing the two German states. The, so called, central front was a priority, while the Balkans was left to a controlled development within the two blocks, with two non-block states.

Maintenance of balance in overall relations in European space implied the stability in Balkans, where each of the two great powers had a possibility of controlling their own allies. Yugoslavia was left with a leading role in the non-alignment policy, and Albania, after its friendship with China ended, entered a gray zone of minor interest.

The fall-apart of the bi-polar system of international relations has cast a completely different light on the Balkans. It became clear that this region was unable to build its own security system and that the dissolvment of the balance between the two blocks resulted in a security vacuum. Differing from some other parts of Europe, the Balkans has never created some normal geopolitic configuration that would enable for emergence of some commonly accepted central factor with its geopolitic periphery. In some other regions such a center is a focal point to which the peripheral states gravitate in their efforts to receive some economic, cultural, scientific and other benefits. Since in this case the states were either gravitating to powers that are out of their own geopolitical space (Germany, France, Russia), or were encumbered with problems that were preventing any intensive mutual communication, the centre of the Balkans never really existed.

During the Cold War era, the Balkan member states were integrated in the structures of the respective blocks, and as such were representing the periphery in relation to the leaders of the alliance. Yugoslavia, as a non-aligned state, with considerable international activities, did not succeed in becoming a geopolitical center of the Balkans.

Dissapearance of the Warsaw Treaty and dissolvement of relations in the Eastern Europe resulted immediately in security disintegration in the Balkans. Lack of some central force that could be instrumental for stability and development was further strengthened by accelerated disintegration of Yugoslavia, which only contributed to the spread of Balkan security vacuum.

The end of Cold War clearly showed that this region was filled with crisis, with no mechanism or any pivotal point that could act in the direction of their resolving. The Cold War era, with relatively minimal security-political forms of overall cooperation in the Balkans, has left all of the Balkan states standing alone in search for their positions. It was easier for Greece and Turkey, since both countries continued their normal relations with the NATO. Bulgaria and Romania were left without security granted by the Warsaw Treaty, or even more so by the USSR. Albania has lost its internal security, while Yugoslavia started to disintegrate under its internal crisis and wars initiated by Milosevic's regime.

The traditional differences: civilisational, religious, political and economic have prevented creation of some institution that could be used as a mediator, or as a crisis management center. Differing to some other European regions (Central Europe, the Baltic) where the new democracies have relatively quickly found their bearings and succeeded in building starting mechanisms for their gathering and joint actions, the fall apart of the Warsaw Treaty and the end of the Cold War found Balkan states unprepared. And when new democracies in Balkans started to contemplate their security they were primarily interested in breaking out from this region and linking themselves with the NATO, seen as the guarantor of their new security.

New political forces, elected in democratic elections, have gradually started to emerge on political scenes in Balkan states, as well as in the states of the former Yugoslavia. They were also unable to build any forms of mutual cooperation in the field of security. For some of them (Romania, Bulgaria) the issue of internal political relations was essential, while the new states in the territory of former Yugoslavia were faced with so many new problems, brought by the war, that some joint consideration of security issues was out of questions, at least until the international community stepped in with first serious instruments for crisis resolving (Washington Treaty in 1994., and Dayton-Paris in 1995.).

The wars in the territory of the former Yugoslavia found the European Community quite disoriented. Unprepared for such action, the EC, later the EU, strayed in its efforts to find a solution, which enabled the internal conflict to turn into a full-scale war in the centre of the European continent. Unsuspectedness of such a development, as well as different political interests and traditions of relations, instead of a unique European policy, resulted in various approaches and attempts to restore security in this area, through EU, OSCE, and finally, the UN.

Instability in Balkans and the significant security vacuum had their impact on creation of some new political approaches by several powers that had a longer tradition of relations with this region. Within this new development Germany, France, Russia and Turkey were seeking for new footings for promotion of their interests, or restoring or maintaining their positions. On the other hand, American policy, initially leaving the resolving of the conflict in former Yugoslavia to the Europeans, gradually started to take over the initiative and finally became the most significant arbiter and key factor in solving of the security problems in the Balkans.

Unsolved ethnical issues, that led to conflicts, and later to the war in former Yugoslavia, made Europe realize the complexity of the divisions and the problems arising from it. At the same time, Europe was swept by huge wave of refugees, transferring parts of security problems out of the Balkan region itself. Although initially there was a belief that it will not happen, this transfer of crisis and its development had some impact on the European security as well, which led to a more prompt European reaction towards stabilization of the situation.

Religious divisions were also soon incorporated into national policies of the newly independent states in the territory of the former Yugoslavia, and, at the same time, gave way to speculative calculations on various new axis that could be formed based on the religious similarities. Besides this, the engagement of the Catholic, Orthodox and Muslim support opened way for a stronger proliferation of both political and religious forces (Islam), as well as for searching for allies outside of the Balkan space.

All these retrograde political and religious developments had their reflection on the economy as well. Fall-apart of the socialist system, followed by the transition, have made positions of all new democracies in Balkans more difficult. For Albania, Romania and Bulgaria this transition from socialist economy to free market economy was too fast and too painful, and for new states in the territory of former Yugoslavia the war with its consequences also contributed to economic decline. Of all countries of the region today only Slovenia has the, more or less, same level of the GDP as before the war. Economic positions of all other countries of the region have significantly deteriorated. This has, of course, resulted in economic unattractiveness of the whole area for foreign investment, which sees stability as one of the basic preconditions for its engagement. Therefore, it might be said that the overall geo-economic interest for this area has significantly decreased.


3. Challenges to Security

After the energetic engagement of the international community, which resulted in the Dayton Accord, Royamont Initiative, the EU's Regional Approach, the SECI, Stability Pact, and finally fall of Milosevic, it appears that the possibilities of new challenges to the security have been eliminated from the Southeastern Europe. The number of significant international factors present, as well as the presence of military forces in the Balkans - whether through SFOR, KFOR or NATO - should all lead to a conclusion that eventual break-out of some larger conflicts is impossible, moreover, that even some other forms of insecurity are almost totally under control. Of course, all this conditioned with acceptance of Mr. Westendorp's announcement that the international community will keep its presence in Bosnia and Herzegovina for a generation, which time frame should certainly be applied in Kosovo as well. Within such long range coordinates, and given such quantum of military presence and political commitment to staying in this area, the security in the Southeastern Europe might have a chance to succeed.

a) Systematizing Attempt

In an effort to systematize possible challenges, it could be started from the division on military and non-military threats. All the situations threatening with the outbreak of military conflicts could be included in the first group of challenges. These could include: Greek-Turkish relations, further disintegration of Yugoslavia, creation of the Kosovo State, or emergence of Greater Albania, and similar. It is apparent that these goals could be hardly achieved without the use of military force, as well as that some of them could lead to further escalation of confrontation on regional scale.

Thesae military threats should, by all means, include the unfinished process of conventional arms control within the CFE, which demonstrates the fact that the connection with the remaining European space regarding the conventional arms control has not yet been fully established, as well as that the Balkans has not yet been fully incorporated into the European system. Although this fact can be compensated by the existence of the Annex II. of the Dayton Accord, it would have been better if a comprehensive system, that would be linked to the OSCE system, was built.

Of course, these military challenges should be viewed, at this moment, conditionally as well. Given the presence of numerous military forces of the international community, it would be difficult even to imagine an outbreak of some military conflict, regardless of the strength of any participating country. The international community has a sufficient military power deployed on the grounds to stop any attempt of a military conflict in its roots, and the direct military action against Serbia has clearly shown that NATO will not allow for any continuing warfare in the Balkans.

Therefore, it may be said that the non-military challenges are far more numerous and threatening. All the conflicts that were not solved so far can be included in this group of challenges, regardless whether these arise from history, ethnicity or religion, and which all have their territorial expressions. Further, the problems connected to the economical development, that are experienced all over the region, relating either to the common transitional difficulties, specific national solutions, or as a consequence of economical devastation of the central state of former Yugoslavia: Serbia. Such non-military threats, either by a political decision or by insisting by the political leaderships, can easily cross the line and become military ones.

Having in mind the fact that the line separating military from non-military challenges is a very thin one, maybe the existing challenges in the Balkans could be divided by taking into the account all of the dangers that might lead to instability, regardless of their military or non-military character, and than list them as challenges that could jeopardize the security and stability. Within such a classification the following division could be drawn:

b) Traditional Balkan Conflicts

The richness of different religious, economical, political, military and ethnic factors that Balkans is endowed with, opens space for numerous possible conflicts as well. Some of them have their distant historical background, and have become an inseparable part of particular national determinations and are to large extent influencing present positions of particular states.

Although nowadays this types of conflicts, regardless of the length of their tradition and their national background, are largely subdued due to the presence of the international community, their existence, nor the possibility of their revival, should not be completely ignored.

Greek-Turkish conflicts regarding the territorial demarcation in the Aegean Sea and conflicts over the Cyprus 1 are the result not only of the different concepts of the political leaderships, but are also grounded in distant historical events and their evocations in both nations. In spite of their membership in NATO, the two countries were unable to solve these questions and every new incident is resulting in mobilisation of all national forces for protection of country's interests and positions. The South Wing of NATO was feeling these problems arising from the Greek-Turkish relations for years now, and in spite of all the efforts to build upon the European and trans-Atlantic common denominators, was not succeeding in diminishing them. Turkish striving for an EU membership was for a long time resolutely blocked by Greece, and even in their different positions in regards to the wars in the territories of the former Yugoslavia both countries have demonstrated their national ideas inherited from the past.

In Turkey they are aware of the fact that Turkey is a bigger and stronger country, but the integration of Greece into Europe offered a strong "joker" to Greece, which can repeatedly be used in order to demand for adjustments in Turkish behaviour to be made. Having in mind the depth of the crisis in their relations, as well as un-readiness for changes in their perception of each other, it is apparent that such a situation will last, and that only some day, when Turkey becomes a EU member as well, and than maybe, all the tensions in their mutual relations will disappear.

Conflicts between Albania and Yugoslavia regarding the Kosovo can be included in this category of traditional tensions as well. During the days of friendship and cooperation, immediately after the II. World War, when both countries were within the group of countries of the peoples' democracy, both sides were claiming that this issue is un-important. Even more so, in the light of the plan to create a Balkan socialist federation, along with Bulgaria, both countries were to set an example for other countries. But, after the Informbiro Resolution of 1948, the Enver Hoxha regime became the most eager one in its attacks against Yugoslavia, in context of which the Kosovo issue was used as well. After Stalin's death mutual relations were normalized once again, but have never reached the level of relations with other East European countries, and the Kosovo issue was re-emerging on various occasions within their mutual relations. But isolated Albania lacked the strength, as well as interested allies that would support it's claims. Only after the fall-apart of socialism, and Berisha's rise to the presidential office, the question of Kosovo was openly re-positioned in the center of political action. In a sort of an attempt to divert the attention from internal problems, Berisha was advocating for gathering of all Albanians in one country, and started calling for the internationalization of the Kosovo issue. Brutal Milosevic's regime, expressed through it's policy of genocide, has opened the space for the internationalization of the Kosovo issue at first, as well as for engagement of various international organisations and mediators, and later, by abandoning the negotiations in Ramboullet, for the NATO military intervention.

The present situation, very specific in many of its elements, led to the deployment of the UN, i.e. NATO and Russian forces in Kosovo, to the return of Albanian refugees, to the exodus of Serbian and other non-Albanian population from Kosovo, creation of KFOR as principal military, political and police force, and final exclusion of Kosovo from the Serbian state systems (monetary, energetic, transport, economic, educational, etc.). Although both the West and the Russia recognize the fact that the Kosovo is an integral part of Yugoslavia, not even a trace of this thesis can be seen in this situation. On the other hand, the West is resolutely expressing its opposition to any secession of Kosovo and changing of borders. The obsession with the dangers that the change of borders can represent is still present, and is especially accented in the easily flammable Balkan territories. The basic idea is that of a controlled stabilization of situation and creation of a possibility for multi-ethnic life. According to President Clinton, the most important thing is "to preserve the democracy, self-determination, freedom, and that in these countries (meaning Balkan countries) be no ethnic, religious or racial persecutions, regardless of the national borders". 2 This is, of course, a very reasonable approach, but the question is to what extent will this satisfy Albanian population that views the expulsion of Serbian authorities and Serbs as their freedom. It remains to be seen how many of non-Albanians will return to Kosovo. Finally, UCK's position regarding this issue will also be significant, since now this is the organisation that is able to control large part of Albanians and appears as their political leadership in fulfilling the desire for a total secession from Yugoslavia.

If this would succeed, than certainly a new set of questions would be opened. Namely, would an independent Kosovo become an independent state, would it become a part of present Albania, or wold it be a beginning of a process of emerging of a Great Albania in which certain other parts populated by Albanian majorities would also be included (parts of Macedonia and Montenegro).

In any case, the issue of Kosovo, and by that the Albanian-Serbian (Yugoslav) relations as well, will continue to be a problem that surpasses regional significance. The international engagement, 3 as well as all other efforts aimed at restoration of stability in these areas makes the issue of Kosovo a problem of wider international character, a problem that will continue to test the willingness and abilities of the international community to act within the context of the new world order.

The collapse of Milosevic's regime and election of new Yugoslav president Kostunica has open new possibilities for the solution of Kosovo s problem in the future.One should be tighjt with democratic changes in Belgrade and gradual building a democratic society in Kosovo giving a chance for establishing wide autonomy in the frames of new Yugoslavia, being organized as a wider federation /Serbia,Montenegro,Vojvodina,Kosovo/. But the majority of Albanians in Kosovo would reject such a solution and they will claim that in the lack of its own state the international proctorship is more acceptable.

Turkish-Bulgarian dispute, although greatly subdued in recent times, remains present. In a situation where over 800.000 Turks (Pomaks) live in Bulgaria, who were forcefully "bulgarized" during the previous socialist regime, it is difficult to establish normal relations over-night. And as the fundamentalism of Muslim provenience is in different parts of Balkans often being mentioned as one of the most significant threats, in all communities where the Muslims are present there is a distrust regarding their true commitment and inclusion into the frameworks of the state they live in. In calculations operating with the Muslims in Balkans as destabilizing factor, and with fears of emergence of fundamentalistic forces in these areas, Bulgaria with its considerable Muslim - Pomak population has an important place. Nevertheless, the results achieved on internal plan regarding the incorporation of Pomaks into Bulgarian social, political and economic life are encouraging for future development of relations. Even more so given the fact that Bulgaria has clearly committed itself to the European path, which includes a strong necessity of respect of human and minority rights. 4

Relations between the Romania and Hungary, due to the position of Hungarians living in Romania, were at certain post-Cold War times quite tense. In Ceausescu's times the policy of national homogenization demanded that all Romanian citizen demonstrate their loyalty to the nation, i.e. the state. A large Hungarian population in Transilvanian areas had a strong sense of national identity and the fall of Ceausescu's regime was expected to create better conditions for their lives in Romania. Although there was no chance that Romania would cede Transilvania back to Hungary, in various circles among Romanian Hungarians, as well as in Hungary, attempts were made on obtaining a status of full autonomy, which would then lead to demands for self-determination. Romanian authorities were firmly against such course of events, and in some highly tense phases of Hungarian-Romanian relations the situation was even seen as an example for future deployment of European forces. It is interesting to mention that then-Secretary of the WEU, Van Eckelen, was pointing to this situation as possible test for the WEU action.

This did not happen, and both states have demonstrated some restraint. This restraint was primarily a result of the EU pressures, which made it clear to both states that there will be no closer relations with the EU for them, unless they solve the question of normal relations between the two neighbouring countries. Also, both countries were influenced by their desire to become the members of Partnership for Peace. This all led to signing of the agreement on bilateral relations, which, in part, regulates the issue of Hungarian minority in Romania. 5

On the other hand, Romania has also certain interest for relations with Moldova. According to the first expectations by Romanian political circles, a state that was created of Socialist Republic Moldova after the fall-apart of the Soviet Union—Moldova—was to unify itself with Romania. As that did not happen, certain discontent was noticed in Bucharest, illustrated by statements that Moldova was formerly Romanian territory and that it would be only natural if the two countries would unite. But, as in Moldova, along with the population of Romanian origin, live Ukrainians, Russians, Turks, Jews and Bulgarians, it was apparent that eventual unification with Romania would mean a beginning of new dramatical events. As a result of fears that Moldova will become a part of Romania, Ukrainian and Russian population have created the Transdnestar Republic in the south of Moldova, in 1990., which still exists today.

At the present situation Romania is absorbed in its internal problems, which will obviously be very difficult to solve, unless the country quickly speeds up its pace towards the Europe. At the same time this is the principal reason for putting all demands that could give rise to some nationalism far behind, for it is clear to majority of political forces that Europe would not tolerate such a development. Romania, finding that its inclusion into the first following group of future NATO members is in its best interest, and having the Associating Agreement with the EU already in place, holds Europe as its priority, which in practice limits the possibility of action for those nationalistic forces that would decrease the volume of autonomy for Hungarians, or demand some territorial changes. Besides, the new Moldovian independence is becoming a commonly accepted fact, and the Moldovian political structures are far from seeking any unification with Romania, which is, economically, not a very attractive option. Moldova is nowadays expecting much more from the SECI and eventual approaching the EU, since this is viewed as the only way for its development and for overcoming the economic difficulties.

c) New Balkan Traumas and New Independence

The break-apart of the federal state - Yugoslavia - has influenced the emergence of some new disputes, as well as strengthening of some previous animosities among certain nations in this area. It is certain that numerous disputes will continue to arise from these problems, as well as that the international community will have to continue with careful monitoring of the behaviour of the new states.

Relations between Croatia and Serbia have their roots in their common life in two previous Yugoslav states, as well as in the war that erupted after the fall-apart of Yugoslavia. By the Dayton Accord, and especially by the Agreement on Normalization of Relations between the two states (1996.), a process of gradual normalization was started. Question of Prevlaka remains an open dispute, where Croatia views only it as a security issue, while Yugoslavia demands the change of borders in its favour. There are also questions connected with the return of refugees and numerous property issues. Finally, an issue of restitution of war damages suffered by Croatia could be opened as well.

Although the relations between the two countries have entered a phase of certain "cold peace", it is being apparent that the time and the instruments of the international community will influence the development of better relations. It is understandable that between the two countries that lived within the same state for several decades numerous links and connections existed, ranging from personal to economic and cultural, links that will continue to exist and develop. Naturally, some changes, democratization among the first, should occur first, as a precondition for development of better relations - which should this time be founded on mutual interests, rather than on some pan-Slavic illusions or "brotherhood and unity". The very moment when interest becomes a basis for development of good neighbouring relations, these two countries will demonstrate their readiness for establishment of European type of relations.

Changes of regimes in Zagreb and Belgrade are now opening door for a proper normalization of bilateral relations. Stability Pact would give also a chance for a wider contacts in all areas, but still due to the recent traumas coming from the war, one should not pushed too fast for a better relations. They have to come gradually as a result of a common interest of both sides parallel with setting of some still open issues / question of legacy of former state, official Serbian apology for the war in Croatia, strict obedience of Dayton for both countries etc.

Disputes between Croatia and Slovenia, although not of some considerable volume, are felt in bilateral relations of the two countries. Present demarcation in the Bay of Piran is not satisfactory to Slovenia, and represents an issue generating some other, sharper, political accents occasionally to be heard on both sides. It is to believe that this question can be solved relatively easily, as well as the problems connected to the Kr_ko nuclear plant and restitution to Croatian clients of the Ljubljanska Banka. It is obvious that a creation of a better political climate, as well as certain graduation in political positions of both countries would contribute to overcoming of these problems. But even at this point, these issues are not of such nature that could lead to some significant tensions in the area.

Macedonian-Greek dispute emerged as a consequence of the fall-apart of Yugoslavia and creation of an independent Macedonian state. Greek side has immediately rejected Macedonian statements of large number of Macedonians living in Greece, and has at the same time found - in Macedonian flag, as well as in some constitutional provisions dealing with the protection of Macedonians abroad - justification for resolute Greek rejections of the new state. Analysing the creation of Macedonia foremostly through a prism of Greek-Turkish relations, one of the more serious reasons for Greek concern was a question of further development of Macedonian-Turkish relations. Any new installment of Turkey in the Balkans is something that the Greek state would like to prevent at any cost. 6 But, the initial mobilization of national charge on both sides gradually gave way to easing of tensions. Greece has finally lifted off the blockade, by which Macedonia was completely cut-off in the south, an agreement on changes to be made on Macedonian national flag and some provisions of the Constitution was reached, while the question of the official name—the Republic of Macedonia—remains opened.

It can be expected that the Kosovo crisis, and the changes in Belgrade, along with all other consequences, will have a positive impact on Macedonian-Greek relations, since they both have interest in peace in the Balkans, and by that in overcoming of the existing disputes among them.

Macedonian-Bulgarian relations are also very complex. Although Bulgaria was the first country to recognize independent Macedonia it does not recognize the existence of Macedonian nation, opening a possibility for interpretation that Macedonians are actually Bulgarians. This could, in some other circumstances, and if Bulgaria would have some other possibilities and abilities, result in some additional dangers for Macedonia. Especially in situations where Macedonia would become absorbed in some internal problems (for example, an attempt of separation of western parts of Macedonia populated mostly by Albanian minority). But, as the international community is firmly present in Macedonia, with the goal of establishing an integral peace in the whole area, it is apparent that such Bulgarian aspirations could not succeed. Besides, Bulgaria also sees its future within the Europe, therefore the EU would have sufficient resources to eliminate this dispute with minimal efforts.

d) Potential points of crisis

If a cluster of new disputes contains issues that are not threatening with some serious disturbances, especially after the NATO action in Yugoslavia, a set of opened questions and potential new points of crisis looks quite different.

Among these the questions related to further development, and even survival, of Bosnia and Herzegovina is a dominant one. Formula of one state, two entities and three nations should satisfy all existing interests in the best and most democratic manner. Nevertheless, if one would try to imagine such a development in some other environment, and having in mind the recent war in Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as other historical experiences - the state ones and national ones - than such an outcome might become very questionable. 7 Optimists, who believe that after the war and all the suffering, certain critical mass that supports the peace, development and stability has been created after all, find that the international presence, as well as willingness to keep it for a longer time, is a crucial component of the future stability. And it is the very question of the length of international presence, that acts both as a controller and a protector, within which the possibility of preservation of this model should be viewed.

If the forces of the international community, which signifies political, military and economic engagement - which should, in time, lead to the creation of a new, democratic society - remain present in Bosnia and Herzegovina long enough, than it could be expected for this model to work. In such a case the return of refugees and displaced persons could be achieved, as well as creation of pre-conditions for a multi-cultural existence and certain mutual prosperity. Of course, the key question is how long? Three, or five years would not be long enough, while a decade or two should be optimal.

In another, extremely pessimistic alternative, all aforementioned hypothesis would fall apart at the very moment when this time period would be shortened, or if the international community would rapidly withdraw from Bosnia and Herzegovina. In that case the three-sides formula would dissolve, and conflicts over the rights to return, over the territory, revenge and similar would begin, with all sides seeking allies for their cause abroad.

A country that has been radiating in-stability in the Balkans for past ten years was representing the most serious challenge to the Balkan security, and still remains the biggest opened question. SR Yugoslavia, in times after Milosevic, is having lot of problems on all sides. Montenegro is on a brink of separation, Kosovo can be practically written-of for Serbia, Sand_ak is demanding autonomy, as well as the Hungarians who were also supported by nationalistic political forces from Hungary in their aspirations for a full secession from Yugoslavia.

Milo_evi_'s regime, which was only capable of surviving, and was feeding itself, on crisis, and which has, at the same time, lost every war it initiated, brought challenges to the very territorial survival of SR Yugoslavia.

In this dramatic breaking of Yugoslavia the international community, so it seems for the time being, is not willing to go all the way. Montenegrian proposal of creation of an alliance of two states - Montenegro and Serbia - was not endorsed neither in Washington, nor in Western Europe, nor in Moscow. Kosovo is also still a part of Yugoslavia, and assurances are given that it will remain so. Sand_ak and Vojvodina could maybe be granted some level of autonomy, but it would be difficult to envisage the international community supporting their full secession from SR Yugoslavia. The World would foremostly like to see democratic changes which took place in Belgrade, and creation of the grounds for subsequent, democratic solutions of all other problems. It is expected that within a democratic Yugoslavia problems related to the union with Montenegro, as well as the autonomy of the multi-ethnic Kosovo, Sand_ak and Vojvodina could be solved. By this the question of changing borders would be avoided, since no one is keen on opening it, and which would most probably result in new, long lasting tensions in the Balkans.

The question remains what are the forces that should carry-on these democratic changes and open the doors for democratization? It is also apparent that such a democratization would not be limited to Serbian borders, but rather should spread all over the region in a form of a universal process of build-up of civic societies, elimination of war criminals, respect of human and minority rights and acceptance of European codes of behaviour. Even if we are getting closer to such solutions, it is to slow.

Territorial and minority issues, unless a high level of democratization and Europeization of the Balkans is achieved, will continue to present a significant problem in the life in these areas, and a constant challenge to security. Not a single territorial or minority question in the Balkans has been completely solved so far, and following the recent war it is obvious that it will be even more difficult to solve them.

The question of Albanians, that live in Albania as well as in Kosovo, Montenegro, Serbia, Macedonia and in Greece, remains unsolved. Will it be enough to guarantee the human and minority rights in this case, or should a creation of a unique Albania be enabled?

Milo_evi_'s policy has further complicated the Serbian question. That policy resulted in a large number of Serbian refugees from Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Kosovo, that were practically forced to live in one country. Their return is slow and in many cases questionable, which leaves the question opened. Maybe an universal Europeization of the Balkans is the only solution to this question as well.

The same can be applied to the Macedonian national question, since part of Macedonians live in Bulgaria and Greece.

For the advocates of small national states, the Muslim question should also be put on the agenda, since a large number of Muslims live outside of Bosnia and Herzegovina (Sand_ak).

Therefore, when listing all these potential challenges to security, it must be concluded that within the present circumstances it is easier and, at the same time, more difficult to solve this issues. It is easier since the Balkans ceased to depend exclusively on the actions of the Balkan actors and their "ways" of solving problems, and more difficult due to the fact that during the past decade there was so much bloodshed and suffering in this area that is difficult to ignore or forget. Therefore all these opened challenges may be controlled only by careful acting of the international community, its efforts on understanding both historical and present relations, and its willingness and commitment to keep its presence in the area for a longer time. Since as long as the forces of the international community are stationed in the Balkans it would be hard to imagine any outbreaks of conflicts, even attempts on achieving of some national aspirations by force. This is, certainly, encouraging, but at the same time it is burdening the international community with many obligations in its views regarding the further development of this part of Europe.

e) New Challenges to the Security

In classical sense, the new challenges to the security in this areas arise from the geostrategic position of the Southeast Europe, from a permanent lack od resources needed for the organisation of a modern and efficient military force, from in-existence of stronger bilateral and/or multilateral alliances (apart from the Partnership for Peace) and from attempts to create pre-conditions for multilateral linking, i.e. NATO membership, as soon as possible.

This projection is also the basis on which almost all of these countries, with the exception of former Milosevic's Yugoslavia, see their future security - which should also guarantee as fast as possible inclusion of whole region into the European and trans-Atlantic integrations.

Along with these classical issues that represent threats to the security, or traditional challenges that are connected to the deployment and use of military force, there are also new forms of challenges emerging. Transition from socialist system into a capitalistic one, accelerated opening of the whole area of Eastern Europe, as well as the activities of organized criminal forces, have all led to the situation in which the Southeast Europe is also becoming fled with different kinds of new challenges to the security. New immigration patterns, terrorism, arms and drugs trafficking, prostitution and enormous spread of organized crime, are parts of such non-traditional challenges that are to be felt more and more.

New immigration patterns present a significant issue in these areas which are situated at the cross-roads of several regions (East European, Russian, Balkan, Middle Eastern) and where practically every country experiences problems connected to the un-controlled immigration. Regardless whether they are used as transport channels, mostly to the West, or as targets for attempts of illegal entries, immigration is characterized by a number of social and economic problems. Large profits are being earned on "smuggling" people from various countries, where organized groups have already been created for conducting such activities. Part of the immigrants are being used by the mob as a cheap labour force or for prostitution. In a situation where all countries of the region lack the financial means for effective border controls, possibilities for new immigration channels are being opened.

Terrorism has its long lasting roots, especially in the Balkans, and may easily find strongholds in national and ethnic conflicts, as well as in the consequences of just ended war conflicts. Minority groups, if unsatisfied with their status, or strengthened nationalistic movements (as was recently the case with Serb rebellion in Croatia) may easily become a pray for the organizers of terrorist activities.

But along with that situation there is always a question of outside support which makes the fight against the terrorism even more difficult. Unsolved national questions may always serve well as the basis for inclusion of outside elements, either connected to some state, or to some groups of organized crime that will use the situation for its own advantages.

Arms and drugs trafficking is growing rapidly after the Cold-War system of relations was dissolved. Geographic location of this area, as well as the wars fought in the territories of former Yugoslavia, have all created an opportunity for a whole wider zone surrounding it to draw extra-profits from trading with arms. The arms embargo, which has proven itself, for the n-th time, as un-efficient, has only increased the price of arms that were supplied to all warring sides. In that way huge extra profits were made, and regardless of the fact that the wars are over now, the whole Southeastern Europe will continue to feel the consequences of that for some time to come. Simultaneously with the arms trafficking, the channels for drugs have been opened. In many cases channels for drug trafficking were in place in this area even before the recent events, as part of transit routes across the Southeast Europe, but a large part of its increase can be linked directly to recent wars. A question of finances needed for the arms was relatively easily compensated by drug trafficking or by securing its transit, which all added to problems of the Southeastern Europe as the region of local producers, international trafficking routes, as well as of increasing number of domestic users - addicts.

A wave of prostitution that has swept the area of Southeastern Europe can also be linked to the fall-apart of the socialist system in the East, to the new freedom of movement and travel, transitional crisis and failures, and to the wars in former Yugoslavia. Large number of prostitutes from the East, mostly from Ukraine, Russia and Romania, in their efforts to get to the West, stay in these areas for some time. In an environment of un-regulated social relations, with possibility of blackmail and extortion, many of them become victims of organized crime and their merciless exploitation. It is believed that at this moment there are over 1.000 prostitutes in Bosnia and Herzegovina, mostly from the East, that are generating profits for all kinds of criminals, as well as for some corrupted government officials.

Spreading and strengthening of the forces of organized crime is certainly one of the most significant security risks in the Southeastern Europe. At the same time, it represents the principal threat to political stability and economic development. Exploiting the chaos, insecurity, lack of proper organization and in-existence of the Rule of Law, the organized crime groups have established their strongholds in Southeastern Europe, created links with highly ranked political officials and parts of the military establishments. Such an interlinkage of these relations, in the times of very slow transitional processes, results in an emergence of special interest groups, strengthens the polarization of internal forces and leads to a radicalisation, and what is especially dangerous, constantly undermines the confidence of citizen in the possibility of establishment of the Rule of Law principles.

Different national mobs (Russian, Turkish, Italian, Albanian and Serbian) are able to find and agree over mutual interests relatively easily and have sufficient space for their activities. To large extent the Turkish mob controls the area of Bulgaria and partly Macedonia, Russian mob was traditionally strong in Bulgaria and today is strongest in Serbia, Italian in Montenegro and Albania, while Albanian organized crime becomes more and more international with diversified network stretching from Albania and Kosovo to Western Europe. Arms and drugs trafficking, gambling, money laundering, purchase of real estate, attempts in sale of nuclear technology and materials, have all flourished during the war times, which was especially felt in the territories of former Yugoslavia.

Internal crisis in Albanian state led to an enormous growth of Albanian mob, which presently appears almost stronger than the state authorities. Prostitution, arms and drugs trafficking, cigarettes contraband, transport of immigrants, and oil trade are just some of Albanian mob businesses, which is all spreading in the direction of Kosovo now. This represents a threat of Kosovo becoming completely included in the territory controlled by Albanian mafia which would make the process of certain appeasement of the situation and international activities even more difficult.

These activities conducted by the groups of organized crime have already achieved the multi-ethnic character, and with some exceptions, the area of their operation is whole Southeastern Europe. By eliminating the mechanisms of state control and protection, the mob is representing one of the largest sources of overall crime and corruption which undermines the internal relations within a society, impairs the possibility of foreign investment, and of economic growth and institutional development of democratic forms of government throughout the area.

The forms of cooperation among the states of the region in fighting against the crime were mostly bilateral or through the Interpol, but that is not sufficient. Romania has, for example, initiated the creation of a center for research and fight against the organized crime, Bulgaria has launched a campaign against the crime and corruption, and the international community is advocating for the same to be done in Bosnia and Herzegovina. Separate actions of the sort can be detected in other countries as well. But all this combined has a very limited effect on eliminating the crime. It is being obvious that these countries are facing a completely new situation, whish is taking a high position on the list of non-traditional challenges to the security in the Southeastern Europe. Although it could be argued that this is a development characteristic for all post-socialist societies, it must be added that in the Southeastern Europe, due to the recent wars in the region, the situation is much more complex. What must be increasingly exercised is a firm standing and action of the state bodies against joint activities of political officials and organized crime, creation of pre-conditions for joint activity on regional level with founding of mutual centers, systems and even joint police forces, fastest possible inclusion of Southeastern Europe into existing European systems which would help the stabilisation of the area and, at the same time, add to elimination of all those forms of corruption and crime which have become one of the characteristics of the region.

If security of this region would be compared to the situation in some other parts of Europe, it can be stated with certainty that the challenges to security will continue to have their domestic, as well as universal grounding. By that the demands of international community and local forces, under the condition that that they truly aspire towards Europe, must become much more dynamic and engaged. Only by such systematic efforts will it be possible to overcome the existing situation and create the necessary pre-conditions for integration of the Southeast of Europe into the Europe.


4. South East Europe as a Part of European Security Architecture

Inclusion into the European security architecture 8 is seen in the South East Europe as a great opportunity for creation of a new security situation in this area. This especially for the countries that are not the NATO members and which are trying to get closer to Euro-Atlantic institutions, and to achieve their major goals through presently developing European security network: accession to the European Union and the NATO.

Greece, as both the EU and the NATO member, acts as a principal generator of new European ideas and initiatives aimed at closer gathering and further development in the area, while Turkey is seeking to capitalize on present favourable situation and its NATO membership to achieve the full EU membership. Bulgaria and Romania are strictly holding to the Partnership for Peace, are active in Balkans cooperation and are trying to fulfill their obligations for EU accession in full. Besides this, both countries, and especially Romania, wish to create an impression that they belong to the group of countries that may achieve the full NATO membership during the first circle of NATO enlargement.

Most problematic relations towards the new European architecture may be found in the Western Balkans. The, so called, unstable stability is a result of the post-war situation and firm presence of international forces in this region. At the same time, the principal cause, and the generator of instabilities in these areas, Federal Republic of Yugoslavia after Milosevic still radiates new threats and challenges, either those linked to its own parts (Montenegro, Sand_ak, Vojvodina, Kosovo), or those relating to the unstable and very turbulent internal political situation in Serbia. This creates a situation where a key issue is tied to the possibility of controlling events in Serbia and to the particular moves which new regime might make in some other parts: Montenegro and Kosovo. Combined with the unstable situation in Albania, such development might create additional challenges for this part of the Balkans, which all has a reflection on a fragile Macedonian stability, very sensitive to the developments in the neighbourhood.

If Yugoslavia is defined as the center of the crisis and instability, than it is understandable that the initiative for development of national security systems that would be leaning on European security architecture is being launched by the countries surrounding it. Slovenia is participating in the Partnership for Peace for some time now, and is hoping to be among the first countries to join the NATO. Croatian new policy has led the country into the Partnership for Peace and is hoping to maintain such a tempo, seeing the NATO membership as its strategic goal as well. Both Macedonia and Albania are participating in the Partnership for Peace. Bosnia and Herzegovina, a country consisting of two entities, is undergoing a phase of strong international efforts aimed at decreasing its military forces, and at the same time, through brining closer together all three national components (Croatian, Serbian and Bosnian), to build a unique military that could then very soon be included into the Partnership for Peace.

Taking the present situation into account, efforts of all these countries to accelerate the accession to the NATO and to tie their security to a wider European security architecture, due to the situation in Yugoslavia, can be clearly seen.

Association, stability and cooperative security are nowadays the most commonly used syntagms in these part of Europe. Each of those reflects the outside views on the region, but also strivings of these countries to achieve stability through a faster associating, that could in turn lead to the cooperative security. But after experiencing recent wars, ethnical cleansing, waves of refugees and economic prices paid so far, all these countries realize that they are unable to build a cooperative security through their joint actions alone, rather that it has to be supported by outside factors.

In present situation, this support is seen primarily in political positions of the international community and its military presence in the area. These are the elements seen as factors that could help building the new security in the region.

Due to existing difficulties, as well as a constant danger that the development might result in new instabilities, the countries of the, so called, West Balkans there are committing themselves differently to some institutional structures of the new European security. They are actively participating in the OSCE but without any illusions on significance of this mechanism, especially since it was seen in the action on the ground. Much more importance is being paid to category of Euro-Atlantic institutions, signifying accession to the EU and the NATO, and thus becoming a part of well developed European space. Due to this, relatively poor attention is being paid to the issue of relations between the NATO and the WEU, or to the development of the EU's CSFP. In a desire to find a mode for leaving the West Balkans behind, seen as a necessary nuisance, these countries are trying to mark their own way to Europe as soon as possible.

This makes clear that even attempts on creating some forms of regional security, that would be a cooperative one, at this moment, would have very slim chances of succeeding. Almost all of these countries were seeing in Yugoslavia a danger, or threat to their own security, and were aware of the fact that their forces, even if combined with forces of some other countries from the South East Europe, could not guarantee their security in the case of new instabilities. Therefore, this formula on accession to Euro-Atlantic institutions is seen as a concrete answer to their attempts on reaching security.

The forms of regional security, be they seen in a wider context of the Stability Pact, or some narrower, that would call for creation of a free trade zone in the territories of the former Yugoslavia, opening channels for communication and exchange of ideas, people and capital, are not receiving any stronger support for the time being. This very important part of cooperative security, actually its precondition, is seen as something that is being forced upon these countries from abroad and that is not sufficient enough to satisfy the needs of majority of countries. On top of this, there is also a fear that such collective approach could slow down the progress of some countries on their way towards Euro-Atlantic structures, and in Croatia, for example, the fear that through such linkings, allegedly, some new form of Yugoslavia could be recreated is still present. 9

Viewed in a perspective, it could be concluded that the outside factors in the Balkans will advocate regional cooperation as a concrete proof of ability for closer approach to Europe, while the countries of the region will independently, or maybe through some bilateral efforts, try to break out from such frames and find possibilities for faster accession to Europe. 10 Applying the instruments available, especially its military presence, the international community, foremostly the EU countries, will be the ones dictating the direction and the tempo of the approach to Europe. Within this, the approach to the architecture of European security will be conditioned primarily on the assessments of behaviour of individual countries of the region and their contribution to the development of regional relations.

The example of "new" Croatia may be used as a significant illustration of possible changes, and of the ability of international community to rapidly and swiftly change its views in case of positive democratic changes. This is certainly the most important international value of changes in Croatia, changes that should show to Croatian neighbours all the possibilities that would open to them as well if they follow this path. Even the developments in Serbia were influenced with Croatian example and the way how easy was to make a firs step in transition of regime.

The unstable stability that has emerged in the areas of the South East Europe, controlled by the international military force, is certainly better then wars and ethnical cleansing. But, since this process is unfinished, it is apparent that some time will elapse before these countries access European architecture, and that without definite solution of the Yugoslav question, which is connected with emergence of the new democratic regime in Belgrade, there are no chances for resolving of potential crisis, nor for development of some cooperative regional security that could lead the whole region to the Europe.

Looking in the future of the SEE one could expect:



Note 1: Official Turkey adds to these the question of the Turkish minority in the Trakia region arguing that the Greek side reject to recognize the ethnical identity of over 150.000 Turks.
Foreign Policy of Turkey, Ankara 1998, pp. 16. Back

Note 2: President Clinton during a conversation with journalists in Sarajevo, Feral Tribune, 09. 08. 1999. Back

Note 3: For more on that, see: Kosovo and NATO: Impending Challenges, Washington 1999. Back

Note 4: Ts. Tsvetkov, Bulgarian Security Policy: Alternatives and Choice, Groningen 1999., page 33. Back

Note 5: A. Agh, The Politics of Central Europe, London 1998., page 157. Back

Note 6: D. Triantaphyllou, "The Greek Approach in the Balkans", The Southeast European Yearbook 1997-1998, Athens, 1998., page 212-214. Back

Note 7: For example, see: M. O. Hanion, "Bosnia: Better Left Partitioned", Washington Post, April 10, 1997.
H. A. Kissinger, "Limits to What U.S. Can Do in Bosnia", Washington Post, September 22, 1977.
J. J. Mearsheimer, "The Only Exit From Bosnia", New York Times, October 7, 1997.
R.N.Haas, The Reluctant Sheriff: The United States after the Cold War, New York 1997.pp.124-125. Back

Note 8: The concept of security architecture belongs to the descriptions frequently used in various meaning. We understand this as a "set of institutions which fulfil a security function, and the way in which their mutual relations are arr ged". W. Kostecki: Europe after the Cold War: The Security Complex Theory; Warsaw, 1996. pp. 166-167. Back

Note 9: This was a traditional Tudman's fear which is deeply rooted not only in the ranks of Croatian Democratic Union but is also shared among other Croatian political parties. Back

Note 10: R. Vukadinovic, Sigurnost na jugoistoku Europe, Varazdin 1999. pp. 174-175. Back