Thursday, July 06, 2006

Balkan Summer

It might have been noticed that the pace of my blogging has slowed down rather considerably.

It's the effect of summer starting to set in.

I have now relocated to the Dalmatian coast of the Adriatic, and will have this as my base for some weeks, although with some excursions in different directions.

It's a world between the Mediterranean and the Balkan worlds. Italy is just across the sea, and Bosnia is just beyond the most immediate mountain ridge.

The politics of the Balkans is still very uncertain.

The elections in Macedonia yesterday seems to have resulted in big gains for the opposition, although no official results have been announced as of yet. It will not be easy to patch together a new government.

While Croatia moves ahead in its talks on accession to the European Union, the other parts of the region are more uncertain of what the future will bring for them.

Bosnia is heading for its elections in October, and its politics has all the characters of pre-election maneuvering. In Republika Srpska the independence of Montenegro and the coming likely independence of Kosovo has rather predictably lead to a discussion whether the Serb part of Bosnia could not do the same.

It's undoubtedly Serbia that is having the most difficult situation, and it also happens to be the key country of the region. Stability in Serbia means stability for the region - and the other way around.

With a its democrats in a rather fragile situation, it struggles to deal with the demands of the international community that it should immediately deal with the one existential question after the other.

The most difficult issue is undoubtedly Kosovo and its future.

And the risks are very real. We could end up creating a new Gaza in Kosovo and a new Belarus in Serbia. All of the region would be negatively affected for years to come. The European strategy would grind to a sudden halt.

We'll see what happens.

In Dubrovnik over the weekend some of the leaders of the region will meet at the invitation of the Croat government to discuss the future of the region within the broader Euroatlantic context.

A most pleasant location for a most important discussions.

I'll be there and offer also my perspectives.

And for the coming weeks there will be some blogging, although perhaps with a frequence more in line with the pace of the summer on the Adriatic.