Garčević Delivers Guest Lecture for Elcano Royal Institute

On April 19, 2021, Ambassador Vesko Garčević, Professor of the Practice of International Relations at the Frederick S. Pardee School of Global Studies at Boston University, discussed great power competition in the Balkans during a guest lecture at the Elcano Royal Institute, the leading Spanish think tank specialized in international and strategic studies.

During the event, Garčević discussed the growing impact of China and Russia in the region, the role European Union’s (EU) role, and the posture of other regional actors as well as Spain. He highlighted that, although they may appear competitors and cooperate little on any issues in the region, Russia and China don’t see each other as rivals in the region. In spite of intensive economic cooperation and EU membership perspective for the region, the EU has been losing some of its soft attraction in the Balkans.

Garčević went on to discuss recent developments, particularly the EU’s inability to support vaccination rollout in the region, which have given Moscow and Beijing regional advantages during critical times in the region. Over time, the EU’s traditional “power currencies” in the region have been compromised and Beijing and Moscow have established themselves as viable and/or even preferable alternatives to Brussels. As corruption in the Western Balkans persists, and democratic standards continue to backslide, the abilities of China and Russia to flex their muscles in the region will grow. Garčević concluded by highlighting the need for Brussels to overhaul the EU enlargement process if it wants to remain in the leading role.

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 Ambassador Garčević on his faculty profile.