What futures for the Western Balkans in 2030? Explore the full potential of a strategic foresight brought together by Visegrad Insight and top regional partners in Central Europe and Western Balkans. Watch, explore, read, listen and engage in building up a better European future.
Watch: What’s Up in Western Balkans? Ask an Expert.
Series of videos and texts by the experts from V4 and Western Balkans speaking on:
Explore Western Balkans Futures 2030. Scenario-based report:
Why Western Balkans Futures? Rationale
The countries of Western Balkans face multiple geopolitical, economic, humanitarian and social challenges. Although a slow but steady process of NATO enlargement is present, none of the WB countries is yet close to the EU membership. Global actors use that as an opportunity to increase their influence on Europe.
Basic security concerns, handicapped political process, informal dependencies, unclear perspectives and global developments bouse the region in different directions. COVID-19 pandemic only aggravated the level of uncertainty, with vaccination becoming another hot political issue.
The EU’s tactics towards the region assume increased leverage, political accountability, and credibility. It will not remain unnoticed by global and regional contestants such as Russia, China, Turkey, or Saudi Arabia.
EU’s values-centred conditionality does not necessarily correspond to local elites’ political and economic interests. Hence, there is a need to explore the possible trajectories for the Western Balkans, considering the EU’s priorities, other players’ power projection and pandemic-related developments.
The mapping of potential trends and potential outcomes for the Western Balkans, as well as including the V4 perspective in the debate, will uplift the discussion on the importance of the region for the West, in particular, the EU and NATO. By means of Central European cooperation, we hope to ensure that the best recommendations are developed and heard in the EU and the U.S.
Read Western Balkans Futures – articles
We are also following the developments in the Western Balkans and invite international experts to provide commentaries.
- Political Hostage Crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Tanja Topić, Friedrich Ebert Foundation (BiH);
- Weakness of Serbian Government Laid Bare, by Jovan Jovanović, former MP of the Republic of Serbia (2016-2020) and Serbian Ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN (2011-2014) (SRB);
- Time for the EU to Deal Fairly with the Western Balkans, interview with Eduard Kukan by Lucia Najšlová, published in Visegrad Insight No. 1 (2012);
- The Serbian Gambit (also in Polish in Onet.pl and Res Publica), by Tetiana Poliak-Grujić, Visegrad Insight (UA/PL);
- The War in Ukraine and the Western Balkans (originally published in Albanian in Europa), by Alba Cela, Albanian Institute for International Studies (ALB);
- The Crisis in Bosnia and Herzegovina, by Július Lőrincz, Slovak Foreign Policy Association (SK);
- Security in the Western Balkans, by Ledion Krisafi, Albanian Institute for International Studies (ALB);
- Western Balkans as Another Friction Point (originally published in Czech in Hospodářské noviny), by Albin Sybera, Visegrad Insight Fellow (CZ);
- Simulating Five Scenarios for the Western Balkans (originally published in Macedonian at okno.mk), by Mariglen Demiri, EUROTHINK – Center for European Strategies (MK);
- The ‘Dialogue’ Between Belgrade and Pristina, by Jovan Jovanović, former MP of the Republic of Serbia (2016-2020) and Serbian Ambassador to Indonesia and ASEAN (2011-2014) (SRB);
- Where to Next, Western Balkans? (originally published in Hungarian at azonnali.hu), by Ferenc Németh, Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (HU);
- The Western Balkans and the European Union (originally published in Serbian in Novi Magazin (copy on BFPE page)), by Svetlana Stefanović, Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (SRB);
- The Integration of the Western Balkans Into the EU Is Also Blocked Because of the War in Ukraine (originally published in Czech in Deník N), by Barbora Chrzová and Petr Čermák (CZ);
- How Putin’s War May Affect the Western Balkans (originally published in SK in DennikN), by Grigorij Mesežnikov (SK).
Listen to Western Balkans Futures – podcast episodes
- Bosnian Political Crisis (part of the “Summit for Democracy” episode), with Miloš Šolaja, University of Banja Luka (BiH), and Marta Szpala, Centre of Eastern Studies (PL);
- Serbian Lithium Saga, with Marko Savković, Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (SRB);
- Why Hungary Is Investing In the Western Balkans, with Ferenc Németh, Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (HU);
- New Trends in the Western Balkans’ Accession to the EU (part of the “How To Be Firm Against Revisionists” episode), with Zoran Necev, Institute for Democracy “Societas Civilis” — Skopje (NM);
- Corruption and Coercion Continue Throughout Eastern Europe, with Radomir Kracković, TV Vijesti (MNE);
- Josep Borrell’s Visit to the Western Balkans (part of the “Hungary and Serbia To the Polls” episode), with Dimitar Nikolovski, EUROTHINK – Center for European Strategies (NM);
- Elections in Serbia (part of the “Autocrats Sustain Power in Serbian and Hungarian Elections” episode), with Aleksandar Vasović, Reuters (SRB);
- Western Balkans Future and the War in Ukraine (part of the “The Impact of French Elections in CEE” episode), with Tomáš Strážay, SFPA (SK);
- Albania’s perspectives on EU integration (part of the “The Battle for Donbas Has Begun” episode), with Ledion Krisafi, AIIS (ALB);
- Priorities of the Czech Republic EU Presidency towards Western Balkans (part of the “‘War Selfies’ Continue in Kyiv Amidst Security Concerns”), with Petr Čermák, Charles University in Prague (CZ).
Talk Western Balkans Futures – online discussions
- What Future Holds for Western Balkans, with Péter Balázs, former Foreign Minister of Hungary, Thomas Hagleitner, DG NEAR, European Commission, and Marianna Neupauerová, Deputy Executive Director, International Visegrad Fund – 7 March 2022.
- Western Balkans. Scenarios for the Future Development, with Tomáš Strážay, Director, Slovak Foreign Policy Association and Tetiana Poliak-Grujić, EU Neighbourhood Programme Manager, Visegrad Insight, Res Publica Foundation – 9 March 2022.
- Impacts of the War in Ukraine on the Western Balkans, with Adnan Ćerimagić, Senior Analyst, European Stability Initiative, Luka Šterić, Researcher, Belgrade Centre for Security Policy, and Bogdan Zawadewicz, Reserach Fellow, Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) – 11 March 2022.
- European Perspectives of the Western Balkans in Time of Crisis, with Pavol Demeš, Senior Fellow, GMF US, Jelica Minić, President, European Movement in Serbia, Shpetim Gashi, Vice-President, Council of Inclusive Governance, Tetiana Poliak-Grujić, EU Neighbourhood Programme Manager, Visegrad Visegrad Insight, Res Publica Foundation – 16 March 2022.
- Future trends for the Western Balkans: More crises, more opportunities?, with Valery Perry, Senior Associate,
Democratization Policy Council, Faris Kočan, Researcher, University of Ljubljana, Christina Griessler, Research Assistant, Andrassy University – 17 March 2022.
- The Upcoming Czech EU Presidency and the Western Balkans: What Can We Expect In Light of the War in Ukraine?, with Petr Čermak, Researcher, Charles University, Žiga Faktor, Head of Brussels Office, Europeum, Jozef Zrzavecky, Analyst, Czech Ministry of Foreign Affairs – 17 March 2022.
- The Future Of the Western Balkans: Five Scenarios for 2030, with Alba Cela, Executive Director, Albanian Institute for International Studies, Ledion Krisafi, Senior Researcher, Albanian Institute for International Studies, Ferenc Nemeth, Research Fellow, Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade, and Tetiana Poliak-Grujić, EU Neighbourhood Programme Manager, Visegrad Visegrad Insight, Res Publica Foundation – 18 March 2022.
Video summary of all discussions is available here.
More about the programme
The “Western Balkans – Exploring Trajectories for the Region” project is supported by the International Visegrad Fund and is part of a broader effort called “Western Balkans Futures” aimed at elevating and extending the debate around the future of Western Balkans.
Previously, with the support of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Poland, we produced a thematic report outlining major trends and triggers in the region: Western Balkans Trends Report.
The project entails the publication of the “Western Balkans Futures: Five Scenarios for 2030″ report based on the scenario-building workshop with experts from Western Balkans and Visegrad countries that took place on 9-10 September 2021. We are also following the developments in the Western Balkans and invite international experts to provide commentaries.
In partnership with:
Our partners are: Albanian Institute for International Studies (Albania), Foundation BFPE for a Responsible Society (Serbia), EUROTHINK – Center for European Strategies (North Macedonia), Institute for Foreign Affairs and Trade (Hungary), Prague Security Studies Institute (Czechia), Slovak Foreign Policy Association (Slovakia).
The project is supported by: International Visegrad Fund.
The project is co-financed by the Governments of Czechia, Hungary, Poland and Slovakia through Visegrad Grants from International Visegrad Fund. The mission of the fund is to advance ideas for sustainable regional cooperation in Central Europe.
Tetiana Poliak-Grujić, Programme Manager, firstname.lastname@example.org