Balkans Biggest Instability Threat For Europe, -Report
| 13 February 2009 |
The Balkans remain the source of the greatest threat to stability in Europe in 2009, according to an annual threat assessment presented by the US intelligence director Dennis Blair, AFP reports. "Despite positive developments in the last year that included Kosovo's peaceful declaration of independence from Serbia, the election of pro-EU leaders in Serbia, and offers of NATO membership to Croatia and Albania," the Balkans will again pose the greatest stability threat for the old continent, the report says.
The main challenges come from the unresolved political status of the Serb minority in Kosovo, and the troubled inter-ethnic power-sharing arrangements in Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The report notes that despite 22 out of 27 European Union countries having recognized Kosovo's independence, Serbia still openly supports parallel ethnically-divided institutions there.
"It [Belgrade] has used political and legal means to challenge and undermine Pristina's sovereignty and to limit the mandate of the EU's Rule of Law mission, EULEX in Kosovo, which is meant to help Kosovo authorities build multi-ethnic police, judiciary and customs systems," the report said.
This is driving a de-facto partition of Kosovo between an Albanian-majority south and a Serb-majority north and is frustrating Kosovo Albanians, the US intelligence notes.
Concerning Bosnia, the report says interethnic tensions there have reached the “highest level in years”
. Its future as a multi-ethnic state "remains in doubt,
although neither widespread violence nor a formal split is imminent."
The US agency is concerned about the threat of secession by the Bosnian Serbs and the call by some Bosniak leaders to eliminate the Serbian entity, Republika Srpska.
(Reporting by Sinisa-Jakov Marusic)