Balkans and BREXIT

By Admir Mulaosmanović

The problems of the Western Balkans (WB), especially Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH), became part of the debate within international and national institutions and forums, but certainly different in terms of quality and level of access. One of the most important institutions that devoted its attention to the WB region is the British House of the Lords (or their Select Committee on International Relations) which held very important discussions on contemporary trends in the WB and its future. In this regard, the conclusions they have made, as the very course of the debate, present a valuable insight into British politics towards this part of Europe, and the accent and recommendations they have made are becoming the subject of closer research in attempt to understand the steps that the United Kingdom will undertake. Undoubtedly, this is the reason why the domestic, BiH perspective should make an effort which would lead to the creation of its better position within the political interests of this world power.

The topics that the House of Representatives of the House of Lords had on the table and discussed did not deter from recognizable questions even for our public. In the report of the first session, published in January 2018, there were nine general areas that members of the council reviewed: Impact of Brexit on the UK in the region, Regional stability, Euro-Atlantic integration, Interest of other countries, State Capture, Corruption and Organized Crime, Trade and Investment, Extremism and Anti-Democratic Nationalism, and as the last issue of Migration. In the report, the topics are divided into the chapters so it is completely clear how the discussion was conducted and what subtopics were most significant.

The paper concludes that the WB is "... a region that in many respects remains in the shadow of the wars of the 1990s" and adds that, alongside the advancement of its neighbors, the region is suffering from "... political instability, inter-ethnic tensions and the competitive influence of third countries" which has slowed down the process of reconciliation and greater alignment with the rest of Europe, to what at least declaratively regional governments aspire. On the other hand, the rise of authoritarianism and the weakening of democratic institutions are recognized. This general conclusion has offered a very clear view of the influence of other political factors, which is merely confirmed by the fact that it is impossible to resolve the fate of the region without interfering with the great powers and 'listening' to their attitudes. It is unequivocally stated that regardless of internal relations, Brexit or any other question, Britain does not intend to remain aside when it comes to political issues in the Balkans.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of the Balkan Studies Centre (BSC).

*Originally written in Bosnian language within the project "Bosna i Hercegovina i Berlinski proces: Analiza stanja ključnih procesa u BiH pred Londonsku konferenciju 2018" [Bosnia and Herzegovina and the Berlin Process: Analysis of Key Processes in BiH prior to the London Conference in 2018], Balkan Studies Center (BSC).