French President Emmanuel Macron’s decision to block Albania and North Macedonia’s EU-membership bids has brought a symbolic end to the post-1989 era. Since the fall of the Berlin Wall, both European and US leaders had recognized that an orderly expansion of the European project is key to European peace and prosperity.
Christopher R. Hill, former US Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia, was US Ambassador to Iraq, South Korea, Macedonia, and Poland, a US special envoy for Kosovo, a negotiator of the Dayton Peace Accords, and the chief US negotiator with North Korea from 2005-2009. He is Chief Adviser to the Chancellor for Global Engagement and Professor of the Practice in Diplomacy at the University of Denver, and the author of Outpost.
What will the Western Balkans look like in 2025? Will we witness Republika Srpska declare independence, a worsening of relations between Kosovo* and Serbia, and the rise of ethnic tensions across the region – or will we celebrate Montenegro and Serbia joining the EU, with good reason to hope that the rest of the region will soon follow?
This Chaillot Paper presents three contrasting scenarios for the horizon of 2025 – best-case, medium-case, and worst-case. Each scenario takes account of the impact of underlying megatrends (trends that are unlikely to change by 2025) on the future trajectory of the region: the scenarios do not just spell out what 2025 could look like, they also explain how decisions with far-reaching consequences taken at critical junctures (called game-changers) will shape this future between today and then. They therefore serve not merely as a description, but also as a roadmap outlining the different options available.