Ambassador Vesko Garčević, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, published an op-ed in Balkan Insight on the relationship between Germany and the Balkans.
In the op-ed, Garčević outlines Germany’s priorities as it assumes the presidency of the European Union (EU) noting that EU enlargement and the Western Balkans were not on the priority list. The guiding principles of Germany’s Council Presidency as well as Chancellor Angela Merkel’s speech in the European Parliament this month leave no room for doubt that Berlin’s priority lies in the Union, but Garčević argues that it should also focus on the stability of the countries at its borders – the Western Balkans specifically. That being said, he also argued that Balkan states should manage their expectations and make concrete plans for economic, social, and political recovery and stability in order to deepen relations with the EU.
To act preemptively, Germany and the EU should not be involved only when it is necessary, and should not focus only on Belgrade and Pristina, but on Montenegro, Kosovo, Albania and North Macedonia too. A firmer political commitment to Bosnia and Herzegovina is needed to narrow the space for retrograde nationalistic narratives and unlock the EU perspective.
Political involvement beyond the technical nature of the enlargement process is not simply a symbolic gesture; it speaks to the commitment of Brussels to embrace the region as an equal and appreciated partner.
The full op-ed can be read here.
During his diplomatic career, Ambassador Vesko Garčević dealt with issues pertinent to European security and NATO for almost 14 years. In 2004, he was posted in Vienna to serve as Ambassador to Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe. He had been a Montenegro’s Ambassador to NATO from 2010 until 2014 and served as a Montenegro’s National Coordinator for NATO from 2015 until he joined the faculty at the Pardee School. Learn more about him here.