The Western Balkans in the transatlantic security context: Where do we go from here?

Oya Dursun-Özkanca, Elizabethtown College


The Western Balkans has traditionally held vital geostrategic importance for European and transatlantic security. Ever since the 1990s, the EU and the NATO have maintained an active presence in the region, and pursued goals of stability and peace. Since the 2000s, the Euro-Atlantic actors have sought an eventual integration of the countries in the region into transatlantic structures. This article provides a comprehensive analysis of the contemporary situation in the Western Balkans, examining the regional countries’ prospects for Euro-Atlantic integration and the implications of the latest developments for transatlantic security. It makes the argument that NATO accession acts as a prelude to eventual EU accession, ensuring that the countries stay the course of engaging in reforms and contributing to Euro-Atlantic security while confirming their commitment to democracy.