This book provides a detailed understanding of how different types of engagements impact upon the reform and EU integration of the Western Balkan region. It examines the influence of Russia, China, Turkey and the UAE in the region and analyses the range of existing links.
Contributors offer an academic and multifaceted perspective of the role of external and non-Western actors in the region that goes beyond, on the one hand, the tendency of some Western decision makers to perceive all engagement by third powers as a sinister threat and, on the other, the view of regional governments of all external involvement as a boon coming at a time of Western neglect and reduced foreign investments. By looking at the importance of Russia, Turkey, China and the UAE in the Western Balkans, the book sheds light on one key arena of global competition, offers new insights on the strengths and weaknesses of Euro–Atlantic integration and advances our knowledge of foreign policy and its economic, social and security dimensions for small and medium-sized countries.
It will be of interest to academics, postgraduate and research students, and think-tankers with research interest in IR and Southeast European Studies. European decision makers will also gain an insight into the extent of non-Western influence in the region.
"Academics and policy makers are increasingly interested in how Russia, China and Turkey are seeking to shape the Western Balkans. However, there has been little by way of systematic or comparative analysis of their involvement and how they each pose a challenge to the wider processes of Euro-Atlantic integration. This volume is a very timely contribution to our understanding of how these key international actors are seeking to exert influence in this important, but still unstable, region." - James Ker-Lindsay, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK
"The Western Balkan countries have once again become a playground for wider global politics. The authors demonstrate how non-Western actors increasingly interact with, and influence the politics (internal and external) of, the Western Balkan states. This book makes an important contribution to our understanding of the geopolitical relevance of the Western Balkans, and the wider challenges to the Euro-Atlantic integration of the region." - Soeren Keil, Canterbury Christ Church University, UK
"The Western Balkans in the World is a deeply thought-out, well researched and comprehensive exploration of the place of the region within the broader context of international relations. Instead of looking at each state in isolation, this volume analyzes the Western Balkans through a network of linkages, shared interests and soft power that are much broader than the region itself. The book is an extremely timely contribution to the scholarship on Western Balkans and foreign policy." - Jelena Subotic, Georgia State University, USA.
Introduction: The Influence of External Actors in the Western Balkans
Florian Bieber and Nikolaos Tzifakis
Chapter 1 Security co-operation in the Western Balkans: Cracks and erosion of Euro-Atlantic integration?
Tobias Flessenkemper and Marko Kmezić
Chapter 2 The economic development of the Western Balkans: The importance of non-EU actors
Matteo Bonomi and Milica Uvalic
Part I Western Balkan Case Studies
Chapter 3 Serbia: Looking East, going West?
Chapter 4 Bosnia and Herzegovina: Abandoned by the West, embraced by the East?
Chapter 5 Kosovo: Between Western and Non-Western States
Chapter 6 North Macedonia: A fertile ground for external influences
Zoran Nechev and Ivan Nikolovski
Chapter 7 Montenegro: Always at a Crossroads
Chapter 8 Albania: New Geopolitics and shifting linkages
Part II Non-Western Countries
Chapter 9 Russia: Playing a Weak Hand Well
Chapter 10 China: A New Geoeconomic Approach to the Balkans
Chapter 11 Turkey: Forced marriage or marriage of convenience with the Western Balkans?
Ahmet Erdi Öztürk and Samim Akgönül
Chapter 12 UAE: Sultanism meets illiberal democracy
Will Bartlett and Tena Prelec
Florian Bieber and Nikolaos Tzifakis
The Balkans are a region of Europe widely associated over the past decades with violence and war. Beyond this violence, the region has experienced rapid change in recent times though, including democratization, economic and social transformation. New scholarship is emerging which seeks to move away from the focus on violence alone to an understanding of the region in a broader context drawing on new empirical research.
The Southeast European Studies Series seeks to provide a forum for this new scholarship. Publishing cutting-edge, original research and contributing to a more profound understanding of Southeastern Europe while focusing on contemporary perspectives the series aims to explain the past and seeks to examine how it shapes the present. Focusing on original empirical research and innovative theoretical perspectives on the region the series includes original monographs and edited collections. It is interdisciplinary in scope, publishing high-level research in political science, history, anthropology, sociology, law and economics and accessible to readers interested in Southeast Europe and beyond.