"Trump not interested in Balkans; EU must deal with it"

The EU must finally understand the Balkans as its priority, claims German author and columnist Ulrich Ladurner.

Source: Deutsche Welle

In his column for the weekly Zeit, he warned the EU that the Balkans must not be relinquished to Russia, the US, or Turkey, Deutsche Welle is reporting.

Ladurner wrote that if the European Union does disintegrate, it will happen where it is most fragile, in the Balkans, "where powerful forces act on it from the outside."

"I deliberately chose such strong imagery, I wanted to direct the public attention to the Balkans - because I have a feeling that, for various reasons, something's brewing over there at this moment. Of course all these countries are not yet members of the EU, but my argument is clear: it is a part of Europe and should remain a part of Europe. And that should be clearly signaled," the German broadcaster's Serbian language service quoted Ladurner as saying.

Responding to the conclusion that the EU is not doing this, the author said there have been other crises that the EU has had to deal with.

"The policy has been in a constant crisis mode. Problem-solving in the Balkans requires focusing on these problems and it requires endurance, perseverance. And the EU has failed in that because it is itself struggling for survival. An additional problem is that in the Balkans, over time structures have formed that resist reforms. And now it is difficult to 'break up' these structures," said.

Ladurner then advised to "think back to the 90s."

"The Balkan wars ended thanks to American interventions and the involvement of the Clinton administration. Europeans did not lift a finger either in Bosnia or in Kosovo. I cannot imagine that Donald Trump is today overly interested in the Balkans. Therefore, the EU has a responsibility to take care regarding the region - and in its own interest. The Balkans must not be left to others. Neither to the Americans nor to the Russians," said Ladurner.