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Balkans: experts, a fuse ready to ignite

Balkans: experts, a fuse ready to ignite

At a conference in Trieste. "Europe to support change"

TRIESTE, 29 febbraio 2024, 11:57

Redazione ANSA



(by Valeria Pace) The Balkans "are again a fuse, where a culture of violence and nationalism that finds its highest point in the glorification of genocide continues to be fomented," and where the situation "is even more complex than in the 1990s," and for this reason Europe must commit itself "to supporting the forces of change in the region." This is the scenario that was presented at a conference organized by the geopolitics club Trieste and the Veritas Cultural Center at the University of Trieste by Francesco Ronchi, a professor of international relations at Columbia University in New York and a European civil servant, who has dealt with the issue as a person in charge of activities in support of democracy in the Balkans by the European Parliament and has recently written a book "The Disappearance of the Balkans" published by Rubbettino. This interpretation was echoed in the words of Laris Gaiser, political adviser to the commander of the Kosovo Force from October 2022 to October 2023, an "annus horribilis from the point of view of the destabilization of Kosovo" culminating in clashes in spring '23 in which 93 people were seriously injured, including Italian soldiers engaged in the peacekeeping mission.
    "The Italian mission," he recalled, "managed to prevent three times new clashes that could have resulted in a civil war with the capacity to destabilize the whole area. An area that for Gaiser has now become very large: "The Balkans go from Trieste to Mariupol," he repeated several times.So Gaiser expressed the hope that "Italy will finally work on the Balkans in the long term" since "the current government has said it considers them a priority." From the Balkans also comes a link to the conflict in Gaza and tensions in the Red Sea, pointed out Federico Donelli, a lecturer in the Department of Political Science at the University of Trieste. "The Houthi bombings imply that commercial traffic is no longer flowing along the Mediterranean, which risks shutting down the economy and puts the Balkans at risk of spillover," Donelli explained.The chaining of conflicts for the lecturer, is also demonstrated by the new role Turkey, now heading the NATO Kfor mission, is taking in the region."European countries have shown that they cannot or will not take responsibility for ensuring security in the Mediterranean and therefore Turkey is taking this role," he pointed out.
    A warning about the risks of 'Balkanization' that Europe runs came from Paolo Rumiz, a writer and journalist from Trieste, with particular reference to the suspension of Schengen, which provides for "border controls" that "absolutely do not serve to reject anyone" but "to re-accustom us to the idea of nationhood." In closing, event organizer Father Luciano Larivera pointed out with a quip ("If we forget about the Balkans, they won't forget about us") that Europe "cannot put its head in the sand" with respect to these tensions: "The Balkans are at home, also because of migration flows and transnational crime and because their complexity reminds us of that of the world in which we are embedded: we are all connected," he concluded.


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