Current security implications in the Balkans, with a focus on Macedonia

Conference Presentation


Hudson, Robert Charles 2016. Current security implications in the Balkans, with a focus on Macedonia. University of Derby.
AuthorsHudson, Robert Charles
TypeConference Presentation
Abstract

A Macedonian friend in Skopje recently observed that his grandmother had lived in five different states without ever moving house! Macedonia is the smallest state in South Eastern Europe with a population of only two million inhabitants. Blighted by its economic geography, Macedonia is a land-locked state with poor infrastructure, scarce natural resources, and small market potential. The country was hit by the 2007 Euro crisis and the effects of high youth unemployment at 52 per cent continue to linger. There have been internal rifts, resulting in armed conflict between Albanian separatists and the Macedonian Army in 2001. Macedonia has also been deeply affected by migration. There were 90,000 from the war in Bosnia-Hercegovina between 1992-95; then, in the spring of 2001 a further 360,000 refugees crossed over the borders from Kosovo, the equivalent of 17 per cent of Macedonia’s population, raising interethnic tensions with the possibility of a permanent change to the ethnic balance of the country and stretching institutional capacities to their limits (Pendarovski, 2011) and Macedonia continues to be affected by the current European refugee crisis that grew exponentially throughout 2015 and 2016. Macedonia is defined by its Foreign relations. It has problems with all five of its immediate neighbours. It has had a long dispute with Bulgaria, which denies the existence of the Macedonian nation and does not recognise the Macedonian language. Since independence in 1991, there has been a long-running naming dispute with Greece, which has delayed Macedonian entry into the European Union and NATO. Albania frequently raises concerns over the rights of the large ethnic Albanian community in Macedonia which make up twenty per cent of the country’s population, added to which there have been security spill overs from Kosovo, dating from NATO’s conflict over Kosovo in 1999 and the conflict in the north-west of Macedonia with the Albanian National Liberation Army in 2001. Meanwhile, Serbia, once the pivot state in the region, denies the autonomy of the Macedonian Orthodox Church. Twenty-five years into its political transition, Macedonia’s future is essential to the future European security architecture (Liotta and Jebb, 2001, p.50). Yet, Macedonia’s problems are unique and quite different to those of all the other so-called Yugoslav successor states. This paper will set out to explain how this seemingly benighted European state is actually a poorly understood success.

A Macedonian friend in Skopje
recently observed that his
grandmother had lived in five different
states without ever moving house!
Macedonia is the smallest state in
South Eastern Europe with a population
of only two million inhabitants. Blighted
by its economic geography, Macedonia
is a land-locked state with poor
infrastructure, scarce natural
resources, and small market potential.
The country was hit by the 2007 Euro
crisis and the effects of high youth
unemployment at 52 per cent continue
to linger. There have been internal rifts,
resulting in armed conflict between
Albanian separatists and the
Macedonian Army in 2001. Macedonia
has also been deeply affected by
migration. There were 90,000 from the
war in Bosnia-Hercegovina between
1992-95; then, in the spring of 2001 a
further 360,000 refugees crossed over
the borders from Kosovo, the
equivalent of 17 per cent of
Macedonia’s population, raising interethnic
tensions with the possibility of a
permanent change to the ethnic
balance of the country and stretching
institutional capacities to their limits
(Pendarovski, 2011) and Macedonia
continues to be affected by the current
European refugee crisis that grew
exponentially throughout 2015 and
2016.
Macedonia is defined by its Foreign
relations. It has problems with all five of
its immediate neighbours. It has had a
long dispute with Bulgaria, which
denies the existence of the Macedonian
nation and does not recognise the
Macedonian language. Since
independence in 1991, there has been
a long-running naming dispute with
Greece, which has delayed
Macedonian entry into the European
Union and NATO. Albania frequently
raises concerns over the rights of the
large ethnic Albanian community in
Macedonia which make up twenty per
cent of the country’s population, added
to which there have been security spill
overs from Kosovo, dating from
NATO’s conflict over Kosovo in 1999
and the conflict in the north-west of
Macedonia with the Albanian National
Liberation Army in 2001. Meanwhile,
Serbia, once the pivot state in the
region, denies the autonomy of the
Macedonian Orthodox Church.
Twenty-five years into its political
transition, Macedonia’s future is
essential to the future European
security architecture (Liotta and Jebb,
2001, p.50). Yet, Macedonia’s
problems are unique and quite different
to those of all the other so-called
Yugoslav successor states. This paper
will set out to explain how this
seemingly benighted European state is
actually a poorly understood success.

KeywordsMacedonia; Refugees; Diplomatic relations
Year2016
PublisherUniversity of Derby
Web address (URL)http://hdl.handle.net/10545/621348
hdl:10545/621348
ISBN9781910755075
File
File Access Level
Open
File
File Access Level
Open
Publication dates2016
Publication process dates
Deposited07 Feb 2017, 11:50
ContributorsUniversity of Derby
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