Staying Involved: Bulgaria’s Balkan Policy

The year 2005 was crucial for finding solutions to most of the open issues on the Balkans: the status of Kosovo; the State Union of Serbia and Montenegro; the decentralization of Macedonia and the last phase of the implementation of the Ohrid agreement; the candidate status of Croatia to the EU; the chance for a first-time uncontested elections and possible change of power in Albania; the start of ratification procedures for Bulgaria’s and Romania’s membership in the EU.
The US has been in the process of downsizing its military presence in the region and of readjusting its aid for the Balkans. In the same time after the Thessaloniki Summit the EU has made no further steps to offer more concrete perspective for integration to the nations of the Western Balkans. Thus the region remains in the Twilight Zone between its post-conflict reality and its unclear European future.
Keeping Balkans in the transatlantic agenda will give the region a chance to escaping the Twilight Zone and will contribute to a constructive transatlantic dialogue.
CLS’ ambition was to humbly contribute to intensifying the Balkan focused discussion. The role of Bulgaria as member of NATO and future member of EU was perceived as key for making more prominent the problems and prospects of the region.
Major goals of this program:
  • supporting active participation and valuable contribution of the Bulgarian government in EU and NATO on Balkan related issues;
  • enabling Bulgaria to play a positive long-term role in the effort to promote security and stability in the Balkans
  • pursuing active interest and involvement of the Bulgarian Government in regionally relevant issues;
  • assisting relevant governmental agencies as they develop consistent policy responses to the changing situation in the region;
  • involve the think tank community from the Balkans into a regular exchange of ideas and observations, and thus to maintain common perspective for the future of the region;
  • facilitating the influence of the think tank community and the perspective it generates on Bulgaria’s Balkan policy;
  • participating and steering the public debate both in Bulgaria and, possibly, in the region on the risks and opportunities for the countries in South East Europe;
  • increasing Bulgarian policy’s relevance within the EU foreign policy formulation and implementation through the country’s regional expertise.

Period: April 2005 - April 2006
Coordinators: Ivan Krastev, Antoinette Primatarova
Financing Organisations: German Fund Marshal of the United States
Global Affairs