The collapse of Yugoslavia twenty-six years ago unleashed brutal wars and a humanitarian catastrophe. Today, the delicate order in the Balkans is threatened yet again. Serbia aspires to join the European Union, yet also seeks to strengthen its ties with Russia, despite the current strains on the relationship between Moscow and the West. Relations between Kosovo and Serbia are tense. Unable to embrace necessary reforms, Bosnia is on the edge again, while Macedonia and Montenegro suffer from deep divisions. Continued recovery and peace in the Balkans will require sustained Western engagement and the prospect of EU integration. However, Europe is not in the mood for enlargement, and its authority in the Balkans is weakening. Meanwhile, Russian influences and radical Islamist ideology are spreading in the region.
The Wilson Center is hosting experts and academics to discuss the challenges in the Western Balkans and the policy options for preserving the region’s fragile order and recovery.