The dissolution of Yugoslavia at the beginning of the 1990s gave birth to seven independent states in the Western Balkans. After the wars that followed the initial proclamation of independence in several of these countries, a period of consolidation ensued, along with European integration as well as reconciliation efforts. The principal goal of this paper is to explain the reasons that led to the wars in Western Balkans, the main issues that remained in the 2000s and the EU initiatives that were supposed to help in resolving these problematic issues and to facilitate the accession of the countries of the region to the European Union.
One of the main goals of the original idea of European integration is defined as preserving peace in the Member States. This research paper argues that the same concept should be applied to the territory of Western Balkans, that is, that the European integration of the region could help to preserve peace in the region while also providing stability and, consequently, political and economic growth. Furthermore, the paper notes the growing need for interdependence amongst all of the European nations and states on different political and societal levels.
Moreover, as the main goal of the process of European integration is twofold—consisting of stabilisation as well as accession—the author critically assesses the relative value of the European Union applying either a regional or individual approach to the respective countries in the process of accession.
Despite the effort jointly performed by the EU as well as countries from the region, this new study shows that a lot of work will still have to be done before all of the countries become sufficiently mature in a political, economic and societal sense to become members of the European Union.