Common interests as impetus for regional integration

University essay from Blekinge Tekniska Högskola/Sektionen för teknokultur, humaniora och samhällsbyggnad

Abstract:

The south Eastern Europe or the Balkans geographically is part of Europe and at the same time it is the most undeveloped and unstable region. This region is the only part of the continent which is not part of the European Union. Here are included the countries of the western Balkans: Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosova, FYRO Macedonia, Serbia & Montenegro. This area is located at the major cross roads between the Europe and near east which is of very big importance for economic development, regarding the transport matter. The history of the Balkans is known for wars since the ancient time to the latest wars, invasions, clashes between empires and lately with the last wars during the Milosevic’s dictatorship. All these has ensued the present antagonist mood among the countries. The approach of the European Union and others towards this issue is to promote cooperation within these countries with the condition the membership in EU. With this aim on June 1999 in Cologne, EU initiated the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe. In the founding document, more than 40 partner countries and organizations undertook the initiative to strengthen the countries of SEE "in their efforts to foster peace, democracy, respect for human rights and economic prosperity in order to achieve stability in the whole region" (SP). It is very challenges-full to study what the forces and interests are that would urge the involved countries to overcome the problems and cooperate towards common interest in entering the European Union. What efforts have the countries put; how the process is developing in this matter and which are the forces that are pushing them to overcome the present problems are the searching questions. The most interesting and complex in this matter is the case of Kosova. Although the situation with Serbia is antagonist it has been achieved that this two countries together with the surrounding neighboring countries build a process with positive results regarding the transport network development of the region. Aspiration for peace, stability, economic prosperity stimulated the Western Balkan countries to start the cooperation under the umbrella of Stability Pact. The main forces that pushed these countries to cooperate are; conflict resolution and minimisation, stabilisation process, economic development needs, a pro EU foreign policy that required regional cooperation; domestic foreign policy that also acknowledges the benefits of regional cooperation. The argument that membership in EU is vital for these countries to overcome all the opponents and problems and cooperate in building the future, is the question to be proved in time.

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