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Balkans 360

There needs to be a sense of urgency in the region.

Balkans 360: A Regional Assessment

March 2023, Number 10

Introduction

In early 2018, the George C. Marshall Center and partners launched a Balkans 360 initiative as a year-long series of workshops offering a fresh look at emerging challenges in Southeast Europe and potential additional ways the United States, Germany, and allies and partners in the region might work together to address them. In December 2022, the Marshall Center and the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP) renewed the format with a workshop at the DGAP offices in Berlin on key developments and trends over the past five years. Twenty-five current and former officials and experts from Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Serbia, and Slovenia as well as the United States, Germany, and Brussels-based institutions shared perspectives on intraregional dynamics, external actors, and Euroatlantic integration. This paper draws freely on those discussions to highlight major points.

Although views varied, an overarching concern was of the region’s approaching a self-perpetuating tipping point of lost hope for positive change. Participants called for a sense of urgency against internal and external resignation to the status quo or worse.

About the Authors

Dr. Matthew Rhodes is Deputy Head of the Regional Security Studies Department and Course Director of the Southeast Europe Forum at the George C. Marshall Center. His teaching and research interests include U.S. foreign policy, transatlantic relations, and security dynamics in Central and Southeast Europe.

Zoran Nechev is an Associate Fellow at the German Council on Foreign Relations (DGAP), where he specializes in EU-Western Balkans relations, external dimensions of justice and home affairs, corrosive capital, and malign influences. He also heads the Center for EU Integration of the Institute for Democracy in North Macedonia and is a member of the Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group (BiEPAG).

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studie

The George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies in Garmisch-Partenkirchen, Germany is a German-American partnership and trusted global network promoting common values and advancing collaborative geostrategic solutions. The Marshall Center’s mission to educate, engage, and empower security partners to collectively affect regional, transnational, and global challenges is achieved through programs designed to promote peaceful, whole of government approaches to address today’s most pressing security challenges. Since its creation in 1992, the Marshall Center’s alumni network has grown to include over 15,000 professionals from 157 countries. More information on the Marshall Center can be found online at www.marshallcenter.org.

The Clock Tower Security Series provides short summaries of Seminar Series hosted by the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies. These summaries capture key analytical points from the events and serve as a useful tool for policy makers, practitioners, and academics.

The articles in the The Clock Tower Security Series reflect the views of the authors and are not necessarily the official policy of the United States, Germany, or any other governments.