Effects of the Ukraine War and Perspectives for the Western Balkans from an Austrian Perspective

PeopleOther ♦ Published: March 31, 2022; 16:00 ♦ (Vindobona)

Since the Russian invasion of Ukraine, many European countries have been asking themselves security questions related to the immediate neighborhood of the European Union. For Austria, the main question is about its southern neighbors, the Western Balkans.

The western Balkans states are at the heart of Europe, their stability is therefore of special importance. / Picture: © Wikimedia Commons / Olahus, cropped [CC BY-SA 3.0]

There is war again in Europe. For many countries in Europe, questions of security and matters of stability are opening up. For Europe's policy, the main focus is now on peacekeeping and conflict prevention. For Austria, one region in the immediate vicinity is particularly important, the Western Balkans, which 30 years ago was itself still plagued by war.

The collapse of the communist states of Eastern Europe in 1991 created many new fault lines and conflicts. When the wars began in the former Yugoslavia, they were to last almost a decade.

For Europe, this posed new challenges, now peace in the Balkans is considered secure, but the Russian invasion of Ukraine poses a new threat of destabilization in the Balkans. …