Another Balkan Union?

The Washington Times (Washington, DC), July 2, 2003 | Go to article overview

Another Balkan Union?


Byline: Jeffrey T. Kuhner, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

The European Union is seeking to restore a greater Yugoslavia. Following the bloody disintegration of that country in the 1990s one would think the international community would get the message that the Croats, Slovenes, Serbs, Bosnian Muslims, Macedonians and Kosovo Albanians no longer wish to live in the same state.

Yet at a recent "Western Balkans" summit sponsored by the EU in Porto Carras, Greece, the Europeans are now forcing the peoples of the former Yugoslavia to embrace another Balkan union.

The EU, which is poised to admit 10 new countries from Central and Eastern Europe, held out the promise to Croatia, Macedonia, Albania, Bosnia-Hercegovina and the union of Serbia and Montenegro that those countries could also one day join its ranks. "The process of European unification will not be complete until the Balkans have joined the EU," proclaimed European Commission President Romano Prodi.

But Brussels is insisting that certain conditions need to be met prior to granting membership, such as completing economic reforms, strengthening human rights and tackling organized crime and corruption.

The key step, however, toward full membership is that each country in the region needs to negotiate a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU. Also known as the Balkan Stability Pact, it is an attempt to reconstitute another Yugoslavia, minus Slovenia plus Albania. The Stability Pact seeks to create an economic union based on a Balkan free-trade zone, characterized by close "inter-border" cooperation and loose political links. So far only Croatia and Macedonia have successfully negotiated an agreement with the EU.

The idea of a Balkan union is deeply unpopular among ordinary citizens in the area for one simple reason: It is not politically viable. One of the great lessons of the 20th century is that artificial, multiethnic states incorporating peoples who do not want to live together are not sustainable in the long run. Multinational empires such as Yugoslavia, the Soviet Union, Austria-Hungary and Imperial Britain eventually collapsed because they abrogated the democratic aspirations of their subject peoples.

The break-up of Yugoslavia in the 1990s enabled countries such as Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia to finally achieve their long-sought dreams of independence, representing a significant victory for the forces of democracy and national self-determination. Brussels is hoping to reverse this historic achievement in order to fulfill its goal of creating a Continental socialist superstate. The proponents of a federal EU hope to dissolve national sovereignties and impose cultural homogeneity upon the diverse peoples of Europe. Under the guise of "progress" and "ethnic reconciliation," they are now planning to end the Balkans' short experiment in national independence and self-rule.

The formation of a greater Yugoslavia linked to the EU is not a progressive or liberal project, but a deeply racist policy destined to fail. Brussels is essentially telling the peoples of the region they are unable to govern themselves and can only enter the EU as a regional bloc, not on an individual basis as have the other countries of Europe. …

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