February 5, 2009
(This article was 1st published in TH!NK ABOUT IT 5th Feb. 2009 and will be republished because it gives some background for my blog here)
Occasionally people have asked me why I write more from Balkan perspective and nothing about Finland where I mostly live. A simple answer would be that events in Finland are extremely booooring – for me anyway – as opposite those in Balkans. More detailed reasons are following five:
- While living and working in West Balkans I saw big difference between the picture of western mainstream media and situation on the ground. The same gap I saw while EU in contemporary history has been making programs, decisions and EP reports related to region. I try to make my share to narrow this gap.
- Many countries and people in West Balkans are looking forward for joining EU. EU’s diplomacy and marketing efforts are giving them one kind of picture, I try to highlight also critical views to give people some base to think alternative possibilities and alliances.
- International geopolitics has its reflections in West Balkans as well in Caucasus – the other region I have special interest. Power politics of U.S. and Russia are confronting there and EU is from time to time searching its position in this game.
- West Balkans has also important role in some Europe wide issues such as energy policy and organized crime. Coming years will show if central and western Europe will get its gas via Nabucco or via South Stream – with or without Russia. Today Europe already gets its heroin and part of cocaine, illegal arms and trafficked population via Balkan route – is the money from these operations laundered and transformed to political influence also in EU?
- EU has some – namely Bosnia and Kosovo – of its biggest civilian crisis management operations in West Balkans. How the management concept is working – not so good so far – and can they be copied as lessons learned for future EU operations?
The regions I mostly concentrate are Serbia (including Kosovo) and Bosnia-Herzegovina with some issues also from Croatia, Montenegro, (FYR) Macedonia and Albania. Few stories I am also planning to write from Caucasus as this Spring there will be happening some interesting events which will test EU policy in its eastern frontier.
Because I have some motivation for Balkan affairs I have earlier tried to write to MEPs, misters and policy makers with nonexistent success, then I started blogging with different platforms and audience and at least the feedback has been totally other scale. I admit that my columns may be biased not describing any absolute truth. Instead of academic research they can be provocative to highlight the other side of story. As such they can create possibility to angry responses and as best debate with reasonable arguments. Whatever the outcome, I hope that afterward the readers will have more versatile picture of events than before.
P.S: My earlier articles can be found from my Archives:BalkanBlog