Western Balkans: Geopolitical Interests and Orientations
- This event has passed.
Western Balkans: Geopolitical Interests and Orientations
22 May @ 1:00 pm - 2:00 pm
Twenty years after NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, the Western Balkans countries are beset by economic, political, and social uncertainty. The promise of membership to the European Union, which has been a driver of reform in the region, has still not yet materialised for all-but-one country. Security issues are again at the fore of regional politics. True, the controversial and long-running naming dispute between Greece and Northern Macedonia has been solved. But Russia’s assertive behaviour, China’s emergence as a key actor, and other developments have impacted on the region’s geopolitical influences and orientations.
By kind invitation of Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP, the Henry Jackson Society is delighted to invite you to a panel discussion about the current situation of the Balkan region and its’ past, present, and future development.
H. E. Ambassador Aleksandra Joksimović has been Serbian Ambassador to the UK since 2018. In 2008 she became a member of the Publishing Division of the official journal International Affairs at the Institute of International Politics and Economics in Belgrade and in 2008 she was elected to be the President of the Centre for Foreign Policy. From 2010 to 2015 she was a Member of the Board of Directors of Centre for Democracy and Reconciliation of South East Europe, Thessaloniki. She holds a degree in International Relationship from the University of Belgrade.
Tim Judah is a reporter and political analyst for The Economist, and has written several books, mainly focusing on Serbia and Kosovo. He is considered an expert authority on the Balkans. In the Balkans itself, he is president of the board of the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network and a member of the board of the Kosovar Stability Initiative. Elsewhere in Eastern Europe, Judah has reported on the Euromaidan Revolution and the War in Donbass. His most recent book In Wartime: Stories from Ukraine was published in December 2015.
James Ker-Lindsay is a Visiting Professor at LSEE. His research focuses on conflict, peace and security in South East Europe (Western Balkans, Greece, Turkey and Cyprus), European Union enlargement, and secession and recognition in international politics. His research focuses on issues relating to conflict, peace, and security in the Western Balkans and the Eastern Mediterranean. He is Eurobank EFG Senior Research Fellow on the Politics of South East Europe at the European Institute, London School of Economics and Political Science. He has a BSc(Econ) from the University of London and an MA and PhD in International Conflict Analysis from the University of Kent. He has held visiting posts at the University of Pristina, the University of Saints Cyril and Methodius, and the University of Nicosia and is a Research Associate at the Centre for International Studies, Department of Politics and International Relations, University of Oxford.
Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP is a Member of Parliament for Maldon. John was educated at Winchester College and University College, London, where he graduated with a degree in economics. Prior to his election, John worked both in Whitehall and the City. In 1992, John was elected Member of Parliament for South Colchester and Maldon. In 1997, John was elected to represent the new constituency of Maldon and East Chelmsford. After the 2001 General Election, John was appointed to the Shadow Cabinet as Shadow Secretary of State for Trade and Industry and in July, 2002 Shadow Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport. In July 2005 he was elected Chairman of the House of Commons Culture, Media and Sport Select Committee, a position that he held for 10 years until 2015. Following the 2015 General Election, John was appointed Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in David Cameron’s Conservative Government and became a member of the Privy Council. He stepped down from this position following the change of Prime Minister in July 2016.
On Wednesday the 22nd May, the Henry Jackson Society welcomed Rt Hon John Whittingdale MP to chair a panel discussion with speakers H.E. Ambassador Aleksandra Joksimovic, Tim Judah, and James Ker-Lindsay about the current situation of the Balkan region, including its past, present and future geopolitical orientations and interests. H.E. Ambassador Aleksandra Joksimovic is the Serbian Ambassador to the UK and Tim Judah is a reporter and political analyst for the Economist, has written several books, and is considered an expert authority on the Balkans. James Ker-Lindsay, who spoke third, is a Visiting Professor at the LSE where part of his research focuses on conflict, peace, and security in South East Europe and the Western Balkans.
The talk opened with an overview of the geopolitical situation in the Western Balkans. There have been some substantial changes in the region. Most notably, Joksimovic emphasised, the unification of a common foreign policy strategic goal of European integration. However, she added that this process is slowing in comparison with the past. This could be a result of a range of key actors, including the various roles of Russia, China, the US and the UK in the EU. Joksimovic stressed that there is no future of the Western Balkans without EU membership, but concluded that these differences, both inside the EU and Europe itself, make it difficult for the Western Balkans to find its place in such a dynamic geopolitical landscape.
Following and expanding on the geopolitical focus, Judah pointed to three factors of importance for the Western Balkans. The first is the geopolitical significance of Germany, specifically the decision by Angela Merkel at the recent Berlin Summit to supress the idea of changing borders between Serbia and Kosovo. The second is the contradictory demographic trends the region is experiencing, leading to an acute problem of shrinking populations through both ageing populations and increasing emigration. The third is the question of arms races, raised by figures showing Serbian military expenditure to equal the rest of the region combined, and how Bosnia might respond.
Ker-Lindsay summarised that there is one thing that stands out from the discussion; that the Balkans is an area of increasing geopolitical interest. He problematised the EU’s inability to follow through with a credible prospect for membership which, in turn, has opened up the ground for a lot of other countries to start exerting influence in the region. This is a concern we need to tackle. In light of the upcoming EU elections determining the level of profound internal transformation for the EU itself, Ker-Lindsay ended by noting that what happens next is going to be much more significant for the geopolitical future of the Western Balkans.
It is important to discuss what drives social and economic exclusion among British Muslim women. Levels of female unemployment continue … Continued
How is the US Government tackling anti-Semitism? With growing concern over Islamist extremism, Far-Left anti-Zionism and the rise of Neo-Nazi … Continued
The UK has suffered at the hands of far-right terrorism in recent times. This includes the killing of Labour MP … Continued
Everyone knows that populism in the US and UK today is rooted not only in resentment toward elites but also … Continued
According to Elif Shafak, culture and literature matters. It becomes especially relevant in the age of populism, pessimism and political … Continued
The unfolding crisis in Venezuela represents a major challenge not only for the country’s citizens, but also for the international community. … Continued
As we commemorate the 30th anniversary of the events culminating in the Tiananmen Square Massacre of June 4th 1989, it is important to note … Continued
As the strategic environment changes, planning for state-on-state military confrontation has re-emerged. Non-state actors – perhaps assisted by revisionist powers … Continued
The BJP had an impressive victory in the 2019 General Election, emerging as the single largest party garnering more vote … Continued
In the twenty-five years after 1989, the world enjoyed the deepest peace in history. In The Rise and Fall of … Continued
In recent times, national populism has been on the march in much of the Western world. 2016 was a year … Continued
Twenty years after NATO’s bombing of Yugoslavia, the Western Balkans countries are beset by economic, political, and social uncertainty. The … Continued
In light of the publication of the Modernising Defence Programme in December 2018, which recognised the emergence of a more … Continued
The relationship between Russia and the West is once again deep in crisis. A major reason for this is that … Continued
The special relationship is under strain. President Donald Trump’s unorthodox approach to foreign policy together and the uncertainty caused by … Continued
On March 29, the United Nations adopted Security Council Resolution 2367 on sexual violence in conflict. Questions have been raised, … Continued
In late 2013, the People’s Republic of China began building and fortifying islands across a number of reefs in the … Continued
The Wealth Effect: How the Great Expectations of the Middle Class Have Changed the Politics of Banking Crises
The rising wealth of middle class households and voters has transformed the politics of banking crises. At this event, Jeffrey … Continued
In the state elections in December 2018, the big loser was the BJP, which had won 62 of 65 Lok … Continued
Belarus has received increased international attention over recent years, much of which has focused on Russia’s ambitions towards the country. … Continued
With returning IS fighters and uncertainty over Brexit, concerns surrounding human rights, civil liberties and national security have never been … Continued
Putin’s Hostages: Ukrainian Political Prisoners of the Kremlin is a documentary about the roughly 70 Ukrainians political prisoners incarcerated … Continued
In the eyes of many, the prospect of a two-state solution to the Israel-Palestine conflict is diminishing. With peace talks … Continued
Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s 29th Prime Minister, on ‘Preserving the Freedom of the Asia Pacific’
The Henry Jackson Society is delighted to host Hon. Malcolm Turnbull, Former Australian Prime Minister, for a special event chaired … Continued
Five years ago next month, Russia annexed Crimea in the first forcible annexation of the territory of a European country … Continued
Western liberalism is under attack, not only at home also but from newly-emboldened authoritarian states abroad. Across the West, states … Continued
Deep new rifts are tearing apart the fabric of Britain and other Western societies: thriving cities versus the provinces, the … Continued
Though mankind has traded tangible goods for millennia, recent technology has changed the fundamentals of trade, in both legitimate and … Continued
China’s Belt and Road strategy is acknowledged to be the most ambitious geopolitical initiative of the age. Covering almost seventy countries by land … Continued
Why Middle Eastern Jewish Refugees Are Key to Understanding and Resolving the Israel-Palestine Conflict
Jews lived continuously in the Middle East and North Africa for almost 3,000 years. But in just 50 years, indigenous communities … Continued
India and Turkey were the two exemplars of twentieth-century ‘secular states’ outside of the West. Professor Sumantra Bose believes that … Continued
The political events of recent years have sent shockwaves throughout the established order of Western liberal democracies. Election after election … Continued
Prof. Andrew Lambert’s new book, Seapower States examines how Britain and four other seapowers used their special identities to inform … Continued
Dave Rich’s updated edition of The Left’s Jewish Problem: Jeremy Corbyn, Israel and Antisemitism (2018) contends that antisemitism is a … Continued
Moneyland is the secret country of the wealthy and unscrupulous, the place where they put their assets, their children and … Continued
The Afghanistan War has now lasted for 17 years, and estimates suggest has cost the US government upwards of $750 … Continued
The Middle East remains one of the most tumultuous regions in the world today, with its many ethnic and religious … Continued
The past 18 months have seen an immense amount of economic, diplomatic, and even military activity relating to the Korean … Continued
As one of al-Qaeda's most respected bomb-makers, Aimen Dean rubbed shoulders with the mastermind of the 9/11 attacks and swore … Continued
The most dangerous threat we face today is no longer military, but rather the increasingly pervasive exposure of our personal … Continued
SPEAKER: Professor Carl Minzner, author, End of an Era China’s reform era is ending. Core factors that characterised its political stability, … Continued
SPEAKERS: His Excellency Renato Carlos Sersale di Cerisano - The Argentine Ambassador to the United Kingdom; Dr. Shimon Samuels - … Continued
SPEAKERS: Dr Michael Green - Author of By More Than Providence and Senior Vice President for Asia and Japan Chair … Continued
In the midst of some great changes in the international system, countries have been left with the qaundry of how … Continued
SPEAKER: Eliot Higgins, Founder of Bellingcat The destruction of Malaysian Airlines Flight MH17 over eastern Ukraine in July 2014 shocked the … Continued
SPEAKERS: Humphrey Hawksley, author of Asian Waters: The Struggle Over the Asia-Pacific and the Strategy of Chinese Expansion ; Bill Hayton, Associate Fellow … Continued
PROFESSOR NIGEL BIGGAR, Regius Professor of Moral and Pastoral Theology, Oxford University, in conversation with Douglas Murray The nation-state is … Continued
SPEAKER: EHUD OLMERT, former Prime Minister of Israel It’s been 10 years since the last meaningful peace deal was put … Continued
Whatever one’s feelings toward the outcome of the 2016 US elections, there can be no doubting the historic impact and … Continued
As Britain considers its relationship with Europe, European security has never been more precarious, with Russian revanchism on the rise … Continued
As the United Kingdom leaves the European Union, geopolitics is returning to the European continent. Germany and France are squabbling … Continued