By Dimitar Bechev
Nearby cooperation has turn into a particular function of the Balkans, a space identified for its turbulent politics. Exploring the origins and dynamics of this variation, this ebook highlights the transformative strength of the ecu and different foreign actors.
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Additional resources for Constructing South East Europe: The Politics of Balkan Regional Cooperation
It was only after the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia in August 1968 All in the Same Boat? 33 that Hoxha and Tito re-engaged. The more cordial relationship in the 1970s conditioned the Yugoslav leadership’s decision to allow lecturers and textbooks from Tirana into the University of Prishtina, a magnet for the intelligentsia of the large Albanian ‘nationality’ present in Kosovo, Yugoslav Macedonia and Montenegro. This episode, however, ended with the 1981 unrest in Kosovo. Romania’s policy towards the Balkans was, by and large, not burdened by historical quarrels, and Nicolae Ceaus¸escu, coming to power in 1965, enjoyed a good rapport with most regional leaders.
Of course, the removal of an anachronism did not lead to improvements for the Greek community in the southern parts of Albania (‘Northern Epirus’). Yet it hinted at a reversal of Albania’s isolationist doctrine, in the wake of the 1985 death of Enver Hoxha, the country’s longstanding communist leader. As early as 1948, at the time of the Cominform crisis, Hoxha had severed all links with Yugoslavia, the Albanian communists’ one-time patron, including a customs union and a currency arrangement pegging the lek to the Yugoslav dinar.
6 SECI sought to promote functional cooperation through infrastructure development and fighting trans-national crime. 7 US diplomacy defined eligibility criteria. Originally, SECI targeted the post-communist countries of the region, Turkey, Greece and Hungary. Slovenia and Croatia first declined to take part fearing that SECI was covertly recreating Yugoslavia. The US persuaded Slovenia to join, while Croatia opted for an observer status. Originally part of the initiative, FR Yugoslavia was excluded after Miloševic´’s attempt to partly annul the local elections in the autumn of 1996, in which key municipalities such as Belgrade had been won by the anti-regime opposition.
Constructing South East Europe: The Politics of Balkan Regional Cooperation by Dimitar Bechev