The Troubled Balkans

August 21, 2012 • Volume 6, Issue 16
Can the volatile region find peace?
By Brian Beary

Introduction

Two young women mourn over one of 613 coffins containing newly identified remains of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)
Two young women in Potocari, Bosnia, mourn over one of 613 coffins containing newly identified remains of victims of the 1995 Srebrenica massacre in Bosnia. In Europe's only genocide since World War II, Serbs slaughtered up to 8,000 Bosniak Muslim men and boys who had sought refuge at a U.N.-protected enclave. The coffins were interred during a mass burial on July 10, 2011, the 16th anniversary of the genocide. (Getty Images/Sean Gallup)

Twenty years after Yugoslavia's bloody breakup, the patchwork of nations known as the Western Balkans faces rampant organized crime and corruption, chronically high unemployment and simmering ethnic tension. The region lags far behind its Eastern European neighbors — economically and democratically — and poses a potential trouble spot for the rest of Europe. Still, the picture isn't all bleak. Croatia is about to join the European Union, and several other nations have membership applications pending. By contrast, Bosnia and Kosovo, where savage sectarian fighting occurred in the 1990s — including mass killings of civilians — are struggling to establish themselves as functional, independent states. Meanwhile, Serbia, after years of steady progress, recently elected an ultra-nationalist president, triggering renewed concerns over its future role in the region.

ISSUE TRACKER for Related Reports
Yugoslavia
Aug. 21, 2012  The Troubled Balkans
Jun. 06, 1973  Yugoslavia in Flux
Dec. 18, 1968  Tito's Yugoslavia
Nov. 29, 1961  Yugoslav Neutralism
Nov. 04, 1949  Relations with Yugoslavia
BROWSE RELATED TOPICS:
Civil Wars