Security concerns are not new for the nations of the Western Balkans. It is a region that has experienced constant ethnic, religious and political instability, as well as vulnerability to the effects of the war on Ukraine. While these countries have undergone their own political and economic transitions, risks remain for their governments, and Europe.
With the security of their citizens regularly tested, some Balkan states have moved closer to Russia’s orbit. Others have sought safety in defensive pacts with NATO.
Three countries are already members of NATO. All six countries in the region aspire to join the EU. However, the integration process has been slow and now domestic support for these international organizations is waning.
Migration and the subsequent brain-drain of young Western Balkan talent presents another challenge for the region, as well as the EU and the UK. There are also concerns about the sometimes harmful and demonizing narrative towards migrants, threatening to destabilize the working relationship between the Western Balkans and the rest of the continent.
This event, in partnership with University College London, unpacks the role of Britain and the collective approach needed to resolve the key security challenges that face the region.
- How do leaders across the region counter third party interference in their states?
- Should the international community be focusing more on rising ethnic and political tensions in the Western Balkans as Europe’s next possible conflict zone?
- Would further integration into NATO and the EU provide a solution to rising tensions in Balkan states and what might Britain’s role be?
- How can the EU and the UK work closer with the Western Balkans to address the issues associated with the region’s brain drain and the subsequent migratory pressures?