Newsletter 12/2011 - In focus

LESS THAN A DECADE FROM NOW, by Hido Biscevic, RCC Secretary General

Politics and visions rarely go together – politics is almost all about survivalist tools to meet tomorrow, vision is almost always about the risks needed to be taken to reach beyond tomorrow.  Politics is about responding, visions are about responsibilities.

But, there are times when, indeed, vision with responsibility for the future is the only way to respond to the needs of the moment. Current state of play in South East Europe and in its Western Balkans core area calls for such a synergy of long-term vision and immediate political actions, in particular against the backdrop of the EU’s Europe 2020 Strategy. The rationale is simple and direct – Europe 2020 provides the optimal platform for convergence of activities and interests of the Western Balkans’ EU aspirants with the strategic goals of the EU in several key sectors for the rest of the decade, thus complementing the enlargement process.  

What vision may tell about the region, less than a decade from now, in light of the Europe 2020 strategy?

One could imagine a landscape of this part of Europe firmly mapped within the broader Europe by way of full EU membership or through the ongoing accession negotiations. One could imagine that less than a decade from now, the EU membership of Croatia will be followed by others in terms of negotiations being completed or firmly on tracks, that by that time the region will come out from the current economic crisis and pool all individual national potentials and resources to become a strong economic player – in the process, among other tools, using precisely Europe 2020 strategic goals as a roadmap and charger.

We could imagine a landscape of genuine cooperation and irreversible reconciliation deeply rooted within societies across the region, a region truly moving towards the “mindsets of peace”, away from the legacy of violence towards the horizons of political, economic and social security, away from recycling stereotypes of mistrust towards mutual tolerance and dialogue, from the legacy of lawlessness towards the rule of law. We could imagine countries and societies reconciled within themselves and among themselves, thus ending many hibernating frustrations hampering full development of national potentials, serving only to the prolongation of internal rifts, the evaporation of social energy and, in sum, the loss of time.

One could imagine the completed transitions, the shift from many of ”war and transition economies” into a dynamic economies driven by the rule of law,  building upon vast natural and human resources and potentials in the region through a functional sectorial cooperation. A region with new railways and highways complementing its infrastructural connection with the wider European markets to the institutional EU membership. A full development of stable deeply rooted democracies across the region capable of responding to challenges of both political populism and self-serving nationalism. One could imagine current unresolved or residual political issues as being resolved so that less then a decade from now all obstacles to European and Euro-Atlantic enlargement processes are left behind and the region keeps the pace with the rest of the EU, avoiding unnecessary or unwanted strategic challenges for the parts of the region.

What politics would be needed to attain such a vision, undoubtedly shared by a predominant majority of the general public in the region, less than a decade from now, in particular in light of the Europe 2020 strategy?

First and foremost, the policy of unwavering commitments to the reforms within the EU accession process. Keeping the EU enlargement momentum and ensuring that the region is gradually embraced into the EU remains a vitally important notion in the period ahead. A decade ago, Western Balkans was institutionally “out in the cold”, today it is institutionally linked with the EU, and no effort s should be spared to see it “within” in less than a decade from now. In parallel, the imperative would be to address all current open issues, by resolving them in a way that would ensure full functionality of any bilateral relations in the region and avoid reoccurring oscillations feeding national agendas, thus perpetuating the environment of insecurity and unpredictability.

In the meantime, the economies and societies in the region will continue to shape their profiles in all segments and sectors – what better platform there may be to ensure that they are profiled in line with the political goals of future desired EU membership then the Europe 2020 strategy?

Further on in the newsletter, the readers will find more about our key argument that the EU accession process and convergence with the Europe 2020 strategy will provide the best tool and framework for completion of the historical process of inclusion of the entire South East Europe in the European Union. Less than a decade from now, hopefully. 


Hido Biscevic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council. (Photo/Europe by Satellite)

Hido Biscevic, Secretary General of the Regional Cooperation Council. (Photo/Europe by Satellite)