A 5-Point Agenda For The Western Balkans

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By Abdullah Khurram

The Balkan states have come a long way since the Yugoslav wars and the ethnic cleansing of the 90s. The region has improved both economically as well as politically. Slovenia and Croatia have become members of the EU while all other countries in the region are actively working towards this goal. However, despite the tremendous progress, the region is still confronted with considerable political, economic and security challenges.

On my trip to the region in July, I interacted with a number of Balkan based centers of intellectual thinking especially in Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Serbia and Albania. These discussions helped develop these five key areas that can help the Balkan nations deal with their domestic and international challenges.

1- Economic and political stability is the key, and for that, engagement with all global powers can be valuable
2- Increasing advocacy for joining the EU
3- Leveraging the role of moderate Islamic clerics to counter extremism
4- Restoring hope in the state
5- Rebranding the region and developing best practices from within

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