Understanding Russian influence in the Western Balkans: What can we learn from situation in Montenegro

We would like to cordially invite you to a debate with Miodrag Vlahović, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of Montenegro, and Tomáš Petříček, a former Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Czech Republic. The debate will focus on the current political and security issues of Western Balkan countries and the significance of this region in a geopolitical context. Our guests will discuss not only Russian involvement in the Western Balkan, which attracts attention in light of the war in Ukraine, but also EU and US initiatives in the region with their successes and challenges.

6. 6. 2022 (17:00)

Language: English Institute of International Relations, Nerudova 257/3, Prague

Western Balkans lies beyond what many foreign actors generally consider their privileged sphere of geopolitical interest. However, certain foreign powers, including Russia and China, see the region as an opportunity to undermine the EU by exploiting the Western Balkans countries’ weaknesses. In this respect, the Westerns Balkans is a vulnerable region of Europe where foreign can build a foothold, recruit supporters, and ultimately maximise its leverage vis-à-vis the EU. Their actions in the Western Balkans are often aimed at freezing the current status quo and avoiding EU enlargement. In the light of the war in Ukraine, particularly the Russian involvement in the Western Balkan has regained the attention of the expert and policy-makers communities. Against this backdrop, this debate will try to reflect upon the current political security situation in the Western Balkans, and evaluate internal and mainly foreign influences in the region. It also looks at the initiatives of the EU and the US in the region, including Open Balkan, and their successes and challenges.  Finally, the debate will try to come up with suggestions for the upcoming Czech presidency of the EU in relation to the EU’s strategy towards the region.

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