Romania and the Balkan Imbroglio
Romania's perspective of the Balkan crisis has been conditioned largely by three factors, one of economic nature and the other two the result of long standing relationships and outlooks. 1 The immediate and most obvious factor was the tremendous economic cost imposed upon Romania by the crisis. Estimates of revenue lost to the country's economy, judged to be the poorest among the former Warsaw Pact members, is in the realm of $7-8 billion. 2 The economic loss, however transient, had major sociopolitical implications because it happened during a period when Romania was struggling to accomplish its transition into a post Cold War state.
The other factors include the unusually friendly relations which Romania enjoys with all of the peoples of former Yugoslavia in general -- Serbs, Croatians, Slovenians, Albanians, Muslims and Macedonians -- and Romania's traditionally strong friendship with Serbia in particular. 3 The desire to preserve these relationships has been a central concern for Bucharest. Also included in the other two factors is an eight decades old attempt by Romanian diplomacy to achieve cooperation and security in the Balkans through regional arrangements. 4 These three factors had been instrumental in shaping Romania's perspective of the genesis and possible resolution of the Balkan crisis.
This chapter will discuss Romanian perceptions of the origins of cleavages in the Balkans, the processes which lead to the current crisis and its impact on Romania, and what official Romania believes to be necessary for a durable peace in the Balkans.