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“The Balkans have become an area of crucial interest for the internationalization strategies of foreign companies, extraterritorial investments and banks, and the European choice is the right way to ensure peace and stability in the area; it is the will of change towards a future of integration. [‌] This Dossier is certainly a useful and detailed work, accessible from the experts on these subjects to those who simply want to be informed and updated on the dynamics that go through the Western Balkansâ€?

The Western Balkans between Divisions, Challenges and Opportunities

Dossier #2 - Mediterranean Affairs


CopyrightŠ 2015 by Mediterranean Affairs All right reserved except for brief quotations in a review. This Paper must not be reproduced in any form without permission in writing form the publisher.

Mediterranean Affairs is a Think Tank aiming to provide analyses that cover the Mediterranean area. By carrying out extensive researches, the staff studies various issues of international policy focused on defense and security, regional stability, and transnational challenges such as economic integration. The main objective is to provide detailed information to the public through the website, writing analyses and editorials each week. Mediterranean Affairs also bases its development on the organization of public events, such as conferences and workshops, as well as on consultancies and interviews with the media. July 2015


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The Western Balkans between Divisions, Challenges and Opportunities

Summary Introduction ................................................................................................................... 2 Green Corridor: is problem for the Balkan stability? .................................................... 4 The Western Balkans: another challenge for European energy integration ................. 9 The geopolitical situation .................................................................................... 9 Future challenges .............................................................................................. 13 Montenegro, the Adriatic Sea and Western Balkans. Interview with His Excellency Antun Sbutega.............................................................................................................. 15 Greece in an European and Mediterranean point of view. Interview with Prof. Francesco Anghelone. ................................................................................................. 19 Conclusions .................................................................................................................. 26 References .................................................................................................................... 29 Authors ......................................................................................................................... 30

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Introduction

Introduction The Yugoslav Wars, in the 1990s, had devastating effects on the Balkans until the collapse and the progressive political, economic and social decline, but the overcoming of the crisis in Kosovo is a turning point. The containment of dreaded consequences of another destabilization of the Balkans, the flows of resources and support measures by the international community, political changes and the beginning of the democratization process are all factors that have inaugurated the process of reconstruction, structural reforms and stabilization of the economy. The Balkans have become an area of crucial interest for the internationalization strategies of foreign companies, extraterritorial investments and banks, and the European choice is the right way to ensure peace and stability in the area; it is the will of change towards a future of integration. The implosion of the Balkans has sparked fifteen years of conflict, which have seriously damaged the multi-ethnic nature of the region. Seven new States have emerged from the ashes of Yugoslavia. Two of these, Slovenia and Croatia, are EU members. The others, including candidates and potential ones, are passing through the democratic transition. The explosion, a glimpse of more stability, a positive trend of economic growth also for the major global contenders which have played complicated and diplomatic games in order to extend and fully exercise their influence over the area. Power dynamics which have been called into question by the change of the political and military balance following the failure of the Soviet Union and, more recently, the new phase of the race for energy resources that sees Russia and China protagonists. Although, the Islamic fundamentalism risks of rekindling

Source: qui.uniud.it

outbreaks, that alarm the European Union of a possible infiltration of jihadists from the Balkans door.

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As it is said, these aspects emphasize the centrality of the Balkans as a case study for understanding the political and economic dynamics that cross the Afro-Eurasia not only from east to west but also from south to north. Therefore, with this dossier, Mediterranean Affairs wants to shed light on the fundamental geopolitical and economic hot-spot of the Western Balkans with the contribution of young researchers, successful academics, professors and diplomats. During the reading, you can find the essay of the Ambassador of the Republic of Montenegro in Italy, Antun Sbutega, who has told us about the politics and economy of his country also in relation to the current crisis and the Mediterranean; the interview to the Professor Francesco Angelone on the situation that Greece is experiencing from the economic and migration point of view and two interesting compositions of Francesco Angelone, researcher and expert on energy pathways, and Giorgia Durante, researcher and expert on European and International Law. This Dossier is certainly a useful and detailed work, accessible from the experts on these subjects to those who simply want to be informed and updated on the dynamics that go through the Western Balkans.

Federica Fanuli Editorial Board Manager of Mediterranean Affairs

July 2015


Green Corridor: is problem for the Balkan stability?

Green Corridor: is problem for the Balkan stability? By Giorgia Durante

One of the issues of most interest to political analysts is the "Islamic issue", the strategic role of Muslim populations in the Balkans. It’s important to analyze the problems in the Balkan peninsula from varied perspectives. The aim of this article is to examine the geopolitical theory of Green Corridor based on “the longterm goal of Islamist ideologues, both in the Balkans and in the wider Muslim world, to create a geographically contiguous chain of majority- Muslim or Muslim-dominated polities that will extend from Turkey in the southeast to the northwestern-most point of Bosnia” . Balkan Muslims constitute a diffuse and complex set of stories, culture and ethno-national communities, that make complicate any understanding of the larger issues. In the light of these considerations, are Islam populations a real problem for the stability of Balkan?

The Balkan peninsula runs along 218.73 km² area that is home to a landscape of diverse ethnic groups, religions and cultural traditions. Although the diversity can be an excellent element for change and growth, in the case of the Balkans it led to fratricidal wars that have made the powder keg of Europe, due to the numerous victims who have dotted the area. One of the issues of most interest to political analysts is the "Islamic issue", the strategic role of Muslim populations in the Balkans. It’s important to analyse the problems in the Balkan peninsula from varied perspectives. In the first place cannot be construed as Balkan Islam atomically since it has various interpretations in different religious communities. Sometimes, in fact, the confessional element reflects the ethnic identity of the group itself, as is the case for the Muslims of Bosnia (Boshnaci) that they found in the Islamic faith the principle of ethnic commonality, which prevented their absorption in the Croats, Serbs and the latter for most of Catholic-Orthodox faith.

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Source: albawaba.com

On the contrary, in the case of Albanians in Albania, Kosovo and Macedonia, Islam characterizes the majority of the population but is not the only element of commonality of ethnicity, which is reflected primarily in the common cultural root of Turkish origin. Finally, down to the South of the Balkan peninsula, it is noted that for the Turkic peoples of Greek Thrace, Muslim belief is the direct consequence of ethnicity. According to some analysts, the multiple interpretations of Islam in different ethnic groups do not to frame it as a unitary phenomenon with possible strategic repercussions on the region and surrounding areas. In contrast to other scholars, overcoming the multiple meanings of Islam in the Balkan populations, emphasize the existence of a religious objective constraint, which would be a connection between different groups. This interpretation supports the thesis of a "strategic Islam", able to make Balkan Muslims as a group structurally compact and potentially relevant from a geopolitical point of view. It is in this perspective that fits the theory of Green Corridor that Serb Srdja Trifkovic analyst defines this way: 1. To define the long-term goal of Islamist ideologues, both in the Balkans and in the wider Muslim world, to create a geographically contiguous chain of majority- Muslim or Muslim-dominated polities that will extend from Turkey in the southeast to the north-western most point of Bosnia (120 miles from Austria). 2. To denote the on-going process of increasing ethno-religious selfassertiveness among major traditionally Muslim communities in the Balkans, this has had a fourfold effect: July 2015


Green Corridor: is problem for the Balkan stability?

a. Expanding the geographic area of their demographic dominance; b. Establishing and/or expanding various entities under Muslim political control with actual or potential claim to sovereign statehood; c. Enhancing the dominant community’s Islamic character and identity within those entities, with the parallel decrease of presence and power of non-Muslim groups; and d. Prompting Muslim communities’ ambitions for ever bolder designs in the future, even at the risk of conflict with their non-Muslim neighbours. Giving some clarity to this concept is essential to a comprehensive understanding of the motives, actions, and emerging expectations of different actors in the Yugoslav wars in general and the on-going Kosovo crisis in particular�. The geopolitical theory of "green corridor", has acquired an importance in its discussion to the geopolitical strategy in the Balkan peninsula. The definition given by the Serbian scholar Srdja Trifkovic, highlights, such as the "green corridor" is perceived by the Slavic Christian majorities as a common enemy to fight, a potential threat to the fragile stability of the area because of the population growth of the populations of the Islamic faith. In the light of these considerations, it is appropriate to try to understand whether the danger of Islamic unification movement is effective or simply a mere political construction, designed for the art to prevent a process of social and cultural integration of the vast galaxy of ethnic groups settled in the Balkan peninsula. To answer fully to this question, it is necessary to do an analysis on two different levels: 1. Composition of Muslim populations; 2. The Leadership of Muslim populations. As regards the first element, it has been previously stated that it cannot be considered atomically the phenomenon of Balkan Islam since it lacks a uniform perception of religious belief. Cannot thus be examined the religious component

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7

generically and detached from particular ethnic group or specific State in which it is held.

Source: flickrhivemind.net

Therefore, the geopolitics construction of a “green corridor� falls completely before the disintegration of the single Muslim populations, United by Islam but completely away from each other for traditions and ethnicity (think that Bosnians Muslims feel Slavs, opposed by Albanians and Turks of Thrace Greece that recall their origins to

the Ottoman Empire). The spectre of Balkan green dorsal back to pose his long shadow on the strategic arrangements of the peninsula if the leaders decide to unite asserting their territorial supremacy. In fact, Carlo Emilio Milani asserts: this approach could be the result of the action of States-sponsors, and undoubtedly would be facilitated by a process of radicalization within the same leaderships, that could provide an ideological adhesive that can reduce the heterogeneity. A development of this kind would undoubtedly increase the specific power of the States-promoters, such as Iran or Saudi Arabia1.

Many analysts believe that the issue of "green corridor" has not at the time an actual strategic impact in the regions; on the other Balkan it is considered appropriate to examine individually the geopolitical weight of individual Islamic communities. It is important, in fact, focus on the Albanian question in Kosovo and Macedonia; it is the one with the highest potential for destabilization in the area. In fact, after the riots of May 10th in Kumanovo (north of Macedonia) between police forces and extremist groups of the independent Albanian, the country fell into a spiral of protests against the central government, accused of being a corrupt and authoritarian and that it has established the wiretaps against as many as 20 thousand citizens, in particular, diplomats, journalists and politician.

1

Rivista Italiana di Intelligence, Per Aspera ad Veritatem, Geopolitica dei Musulmani, n. 4. July 2015


Green Corridor: is problem for the Balkan stability?

The political crisis in Macedonia has requested the intervention of the Commissioner for Enlargement and European Neighbourhood Policy, who has pushed the government in Skopje to hold early elections to be held in April 2016. Source: tribune.gr In light of these considerations, it can be noted that the riots broke out in Macedonia at the end of May are due to two sets of factors.

The first is inter-ethnic clashes provoked by groups Albanian nationalists to pursue the creation of a Greater Albania; the second endogenous factor regards the opposition to the government of Gruevski, accused of authoritarianism and corruption. It can be noted that Islamic fundamentalism is not the real problem for the stability of Macedonia and the Balkan Peninsula in general; the Islamic fundamentalism could be the result of popular discontent against the political leaders and the increase of nationalist clashes, which have already led the Balkan peninsula to pay a blood tribute in the past.

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The Western Balkans: another challenge for European energy integration By Francesco Angelone

The Western Balkan countries1 represent indeed an interesting case study when you decide to analyze the role of energy both as a foreign policy issue and as a foreign policy instrument. Their geographical position and their energy balance constitute two important standpoints from which to address the energy security issue, interpreted as the uninterrupted availability of energy sources at an affordable price . Reliability and affordability look like necessary, but not sufficient conditions to reach the energy security, also considered as the economic and environmental sustainability of those supplies. Time is the other dimension to take into account when you talk about energy security: long-term plans are only possible by investing in energy supply so to anticipate economic developments; whereas, shortterm energy security is the ability of the energy system to react promptly to sudden changes like energy shortages.

Energy exporting states use their natural resources as a foreign policy tool, threatening embargos or promising cheaper supply in return for political concessions. Importers or transit states also can use their coercion to further soft power objectives through political sanctions and economic embargos2. In this perspective, relations between exporters and importers states are another factor to take into account and the current geopolitical tensions have heightened the risks of disruptions given that the majority of Russian gas and oil supplies have to transit Ukraine3. And Western Balkans seems particularly vulnerable vis-Ă -vis Russia, the main European (and Balkan) gas and oil supplier. The geopolitical situation There is no doubt that, when in the last November Moscow decided to cancel South Stream from its agenda, things for South-Eastern Europe changed (maybe definitively4). To shield the EU countries, its most important clients, from potential * Main object of this analysis are the gas transport facilities because of their greater geopolitical relevance. 1 Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia. 2 A. Grigas (2013), The Politics of Energy and Memory between the Baltic States and Russia, Ashgate, Farnham. 3 J. Milatovic, P. Sanfey, The Western Balkans and EU energy security, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), January 8, 2015, Cfr. http://www.ebrd.com/news/2015/thewestern-balkans-and-eu-energy-security-.html. 4 Friday, 8th May 2015 the italian company Saipem announced to have received the request to resume operations for the construction of the offshore pipeline in the Black Sea. http://www.saipem.com/sites/SAIPEM_en_IT/con-sideJuly 2015


The Western Balkans: another challenge for European energy integration

disruptions that might occur along the Ukrainian pipeline network, Gazprom, together with its partners in the Balkans and Central Europe, launched the construction of the South Stream project in 20125. This pipeline was planned to bring Russian gas through the Black Sea to Bulgaria, Serbia, Hungary, Austria, and Greece. South Stream would have had to transport gas directly from Russia through the Black Sea to its consumers in the Balkans and part of Central Europe, with plans to become operational in late 2015. Russian decision to take down the project was mainly driven by pressures including western sanctions following to the Ukrainian crisis and by EU regulations (especially the so-called Third Energy Package which confirms the principle of guaranteeing third-party access to transit infrastructures and the unbundling of production and selling phase for a vertically integrated company)6. As a consequence of the stop, the negotiations between Russia and Turkey for the realization of Turkish Stream, a gas pipeline that would travel through Turkey7, seemed to gain momentum. It is quite interesting to notice that this pipeline, for its first half, has the same route as the South Stream pipeline, making it appear the result of political considerations more than economic ones. South Stream pipeline

Source: Gazprom

dx/Press%20releases/2015/Saipem%20update%20on%20the%20South%20Stream%20Transport% 20contract.page. 5 A. Cohen, How East-West Competition Turned Balkan Energy into a Geopolitical Football, Journal of Energy Security, November 20, 2014, Cfr.: http://ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=563:how-east-westcompetition-turned-balkan-energy-into-a-geopolitical-football&catid=126:kr&Itemid=395. 6 For certain observers the demise of South Stream means that Russia’s long-term threat to bypass the Ukrainian gas transit system is on hold and that Gazprom is going down by losing its political cachet. See D. Bechev, A. Wilson, “Gazprom is going down”, Politico.eu, 2015, 8th May, Internet: http://www.politico.eu/article/gazprom-going-down-russia-sanctions/. 7 Turkish Stream will deliver Russian gas to Turkey and onwards to Europe via the Black Sea. July 2015

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11

In this ‘cold war’ scenario between EU and Putin’s Russia, Turkey and Greece can truly become the hub between Moscow and the European gas market. For Turkey, the new alliance with Russia seems to match with Erdogan’s recent re-evaluation of relations with the EU8. In this period of tense relations with Brussels, energy sources and routes can play as a leverage vis-à-vis the European Union. Although Turkey will be more dependent from Russian gas with this agreement, it will also receive 6% discount on gas, thus enhancing its importance as an energy hub. It’s quite clear that Erdogan wants to turn Turkey in a regional energy center for the transportation of Azeri, Turkmen, Iraqi, Iranian and Mediterranean natural gas as well 9. Turkish Stream pipeline

Source: Gazprom

Greece10, on the other hand, is the last side of this geopolitical triangle. Putin himself, in a joint press conference with the recently elected Greek Prime Minister Alexis Tsipras, declared that Turkish Stream could allow Greece to become one of the main power distribution centers on the continent, and could help attract significant investment into the Greek

B. Orucoglu, “The Tsar Meets the Sultan”, Foreign Policy, 2014, 4th December, Internet: http://foreignpolicy.com/2014/12/04/the-tsar-meets-the-sultan-turkey-russia/. Erdogan also stated that the Shanghai Cooperation Organization, a security partnership between Russia, China, and several post-Soviet states, is better and more powerful than the EU. 9 I. Gurbanov, “In search of new partners: Putin’s Turkish Stream for Turkey”, Natural Gas Europe, 2015, 11th February, Internet: http://www.naturalgaseurope.com/new-partners-putin-turkish-streamturkey. 10 Greece is not actually a Western Balkan country but is considered in this paper as a relevant case study. 8

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The Western Balkans: another challenge for European energy integration

economy11, that is what the country seems to need most nowadays. Putin courtship to Greece is clearly a strategic move to find a way out during a phase that seems to mark a slow downfall in Russian leverage over European countries. As Greece needs credit, and both these countries are interested in protecting their economic mutual interests12, this bond generates some concern in the European chancelleries. According to what some Greek government officials reported to the press, Russia is considering giving Greece funds based on future profits that Athens would earn from shipping gas to Europe and leaving Greece pay back the prepayment after the pipeline starts operating13. It would be a clear signal of how geopolitics does really influence economic evaluations. In this heavily heated context, another project, the Trans-Adriatic Pipeline could act as a game changer in the region. This pipeline, which is designed to bring in around 10 bcma of natural gas from Azerbaijan via the Trans-Anatolian Natural Gas (TANAP) pipeline (whose realization began in March), Greece and Albania, and across the Adriatic Sea to Italy, could finally put some Balkan countries in the strategically favorable condition to become transit states. Both these pipelines will be linked with the South Caucasus Pipeline, supplying Turkey and Georgia with gas from the Caspian TAP/TANAP pipeline

Source: Oil&Gas Journal

Russia Today, Turkish Stream will make Greece Europe’s energy hub, April 8, 2014, Cfr. http://rt.com/business/247973-turkish-stream-greece-hub/. 12 F. Angelone, “Greece: if the revolution comes from East”, Mediterranean Affairs, March 26, 2015, Cfr. http://www.mediterraneanaffairs.com/en/events/greece-tsipras-germany-austerity-reforms-russiaputin.html. 13 Russia Today, Turkish Stream will make Greece Europe’s energy hub, April 18, 2015. 11

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basin14 and prove how much reliable could the Turkish supplies be in the years to come. TAP capacity (from 10 bcm to 20 bcm) should be the same as Nabucco15, the pipeline which was planned to transit through Turkey, Bulgaria, Romania, Hungary and Austria to bring Azeri gas to Central European countries but whose project received a shutdown. Greece and Turkey, once again, are gaining momentum on the international stage. Albania, which should also host a storage facility, is involved in another project: the Ionian Adriatic Pipeline (IAP). IAP is planned to link Albania to the LNG plant of Krk through Montenegro and Bosnia and Herzegovina in order to cover the Western Balkan region as a whole. Future challenges The Western Balkans need to rebuild their energy systems in the name of reliability, sustainability and efficiency and they can only do that by integrating their national strategies. Reforms must include a separation of the functions of policy making, regulation and ownership. Just like in other small European countries that are net energy importers (e.g. the Baltic States) the creation of an integrated regional market is the only path these countries can take towards a partial energy enfranchisement. But how to achieve this goal? A solution could be the realization of the LNG terminal in Krk, Croatia, a project supported by the European Union. LNG terminals seem to be the most viable solution to diversify the sources of supply since they guarantee the import by LNG ship carriers from several countries and private companies. This project seems now more realistic than in recent years because of the geopolitical tensions that are affecting Eastern Europe. Once again, as it has happened in other regions (e.g. Baltic States), EU prefers to allocate funds for facilities which can improve the situation of a region as a whole, so to make its assignments more efficient and effective. Krk LNG plant should have a capacity of 15 billion cubic meters per annum (bcma), about five times the Croatian annual consumption. These two figures already give the measure of the importance this facility could have for the Western Balkans. Pipeline connections with countries like Hungary and Slovenia (already available) or with other countries of the Adriatic region (to do) can constitute a new gas-trading hub at the core of this geopolitical area. The Ionian Adriatic Pipeline, still to be realized, is certainly an excellent solution for these countries and would represent, if TAP project is to be achieved, a great opportunity to seize.

A. Cohen, How East-West Competition Turned Balkan Energy into a Geopolitical Football, Journal of Energy Security, November 20, 2014. 15 Nabucco would have undermined the importance of two Russian lines, through Ukraine (Druzhba pipeline) and Nord Stream (through the Baltic Sea). 14

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The Western Balkans: another challenge for European energy integration

But the lack of financings, difficult political agreements and the persistence of obscure decision-making processes in these countries still play as delaying factors. Moreover, the Western Balkan countries are at different stages along the path of European integration and they each hold varying energy and environmental standards and targets. The pace of alignment with EU practices and legislation within the region, especially at the level of electricity/gas market liberalization and interconnectivity and regulatory/market transformations, leaves much to be desired 16. Of course, internal regulation will play a key role in the opening of these countries to the international energy market. The Western Balkan countries, in fact, also made massive efforts to be accepted in the Energy Community, whose treaty calls for the contracting parties to implement the relevant EU energy acquis communautaire, in order to develop an adequate regulatory framework and to liberalize their energy markets. The removal of political barriers to closer multilateral integration is a fundamental step that the Western Balkan countries need to take. The political fragmentation has way too long prevented these countries to shape a common regional energy policy 17 and to be recognized as equal partners.

CSIS, Re-linking the Western Balkans: The energy dimension, CSIS-EKEM Policy Report 3, Cfr: http://www.transconflict.com/2010/09/re-linking-the-western-balkans-the-energy-dimension-309/. 17 J. Popov, Bringing South East Europe’s Energy Markets Together, Balkan Insight, October, 2014, Cfr: http://www.balkaninsight.com/en/article/bringing-south-east-europe-s-energy-markets-together. 16

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Montenegro, the Adriatic Sea and Western Balkans. Interview with His Excellency Antun Sbutega Ed. By Marcello Ciola

We are glad to be here with His Excellency Antun Sbutega, Ambassador of Montenegro in Italy, and we thank him for this interview. He is going to speak about his Country in a Mediterranean and Balkan perspective. Starting from a general question: what does the Adriatic Sea represent for Montenegro in a cultural, historical and economic point of view? Montenegro, as you know, is an Adriatic country, which means that it is Mediterranean and Balkan at the same time; it is a small country with about 300 kilometers of coast between Albania and Croatia. Throughout the history of Montenegro, this stretch of coast has been the essential part of the territory: as for all Western Balkans countries, a mountain range divides the coast from the inland without natural passages as rivers or valleys. Therefore, the coast is the key through which you can write the history of Mediterranean, European (think, for example to relations with Italy) and Balkan relations of Montenegro. The coast is where the first cities were founded and it still remains the busiest part of the country that Source: Wikipedia "breathes" through the maritime connections that favored the arrival of foreign populations that have occupied the territory. Indeed, Montenegro was made independent 5 times during its history: the first time in 1042 and the last in 2006 (the only time that the independence process was conducted in a peaceful, democratic and without weapons). In the past, each occupant country has had its economic and political core on the coast because of the inaccessibility of inland. This meant that the economy developed through maritime trade and fishing. In modern times, it has also focused heavily on tourism and maritime exploration on the seabed for the presence of oil or gas fields. Therefore, for Montenegro, the Adriatic is an essential element in cultural, historical and economic terms. July 2015


Montenegro, the Adriatic Sea and Western Balkans. Interview with His Excellency Antun Sbutega

Today, how are going the relations with Italy and Adriatic neighbors about the division and exploitation of territorial water? About relations with Italy, I can say that they are very good, not only in the last 9 years, from a cultural and political point of view, but also from the economic one: Italy is the first investor in Montenegro. With other neighbors, there are excellent economic and political relations too. As I said, the Adriatic Sea is a sort of Mediterranean Gulf and, so, European. For this reason, good relations between Adriatic countries are essential for regional stability and prosperity. We know this especially from the beginning of Yugoslav Wars. Since 2000, the process of good relations evolved year after year: Slovenia and Croatia are NATO and EU member as well as Greece. Albania is candidate for membership in the EU and it is a NATO member. Montenegro is going toward the same direction of integration in the euro-Atlantic bloc. Maybe, within the end of 2016 we will receive the invitation to get NATO membership. We make great strides toward the EU membership that we expect will arrive within a few years. Therefore, the Adriatic Sea became the place where different international issues are discussed and regulated: we can mention the issues that I said before, but we can’t go on without mentioning the exploit of maritime resources. For example, Italy is carrying out an important role in this issue: ENI, which is collaborating with Croatia, is closing an exploration and exploitation contract with Montenegro. Furthermore, in collaboration with Terna S.p.A., Montenegro starting the construction of an undersea electric cable which will run from Italy to Montenegro and will integrate the two electrical energy systems, to expand in the future this integration to the whole western Balkans. The same collaboration is taking place in sectors such as tourism, fishing and others. Italy-Montenegro Power Line

Source: vijesti.me July 2015

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We can argue that International, Regional and Economic policies of Montenegro go through Adriatic and Mediterranean Sea. Yes, it is. As mentioned, Montenegro is a small market (620,000 inhabitants) and although it is a very dynamic country economically, in respect of the rest of Europe it is still in an immature stage of development. Some small ports are under development, especially with regard to the landing of mega-yacht to promote luxury tourism. I refer to the Bay of Kotor, where there have been strong foreign investment, or the port of Bar1 which is the biggest of Montenegro and of that part of the Adriatic (with an annual transport capacity of around 6.5 million tons) but not exploited enough because the inland connections, especially with Serbia and the rest of Eastern Europe, are very scarce: there are only one outdated railway built in 1976 and a very old four-lane road. There are projects to build a more modern railway and the construction of a major highway has begun that will give a great boost to Montenegrin and Balkan economies. The Port of Bar is strategically located because it is situated closer to the western Mediterranean over its main competitors then the ports of the Black Sea and of Thessaloniki. Therefore, on this basis the Economic Plan of Montenegro is developing. Changing topic, in relation to the outbreak of the so-called Arab Springs, what is the political position of Montenegro? It is suffering the migration phenomenon? As you know, Balkans have an important strategic position and everything that happens both in the Mediterranean and in Eastern Europe cannot fail to affect and influence this territory. Therefore, both the Arab Springs and Ukraine or Greek Crisis, had a negative influence on Balkans stability. For example, the immigration phenomenon heavily affected Italy, Greece, Malta and the Balkans (especially Serbia in regards to the transit migration). However, when we speak of Montengro, consequences were not so negative. Because of the small and arduous territory, only few immigrants pass through Montenegro. Another problem is that of foreign fighters. Although it is a very sensitive issue in the Balkan Peninsula because of the strong Muslim presence, in Montenegro there were only very few cases, also limited by an effective anti-terror law. A very popular problem is the tension between Russia and the EU, and with all the countries of that area, not for economic reasons but for political interests. In fact, for centuries, in the area of Montenegro the different interests from Europe and from the East have been intertwined. I speak of the relationship between Byzantium and the so-called barbarians who invaded the West Roman Empire, or between the Ottoman Empire and the European powers, up to the relations between EU/NATO and the Russian Federation. Although there isn’t the danger of clashes in 1

That Italians calls Antivari (or Antibari) because it is located in front of the Apulian city of Bari. July 2015


Montenegro, the Adriatic Sea and Western Balkans. Interview with His Excellency Antun Sbutega

this region, tensions are perceived clearly. Montenegro has chosen integration into the Western bloc (despite some internal opposition) while maintaining good political and economic relations with the Russian Federation. I would stress that our relations with Russia are very intense. Moscow is one of the first investors in Montenegro and there is a historical continuity of good political relations above all due to cultural aspects. Montenegro is the only country in the Balkans that is has both a Slav and Orthodox majority and this was one of the fundamental aspects of good relations with Russia since the days of Peter the Great. No one in Montenegro plans to deny the Montenegrin history and damage these good relations with Russia. This may or may not please Russia, Brussels or Washington, but Montenegro has decided to take this path of integration in the “Western civilization� while maintaining this kind of relations to the countries of the East. Well, the questions are over, thank you again on behalf of the Think Tank Mediterranean Affairs, and we hope to meet you again. Thank you for this interview.

Source: Direct Travel

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Greece in a European and Mediterranean point of view. Interview with Prof. Francesco Anghelone. Ed. By Marcello Ciola and Francesca Azzarà

Prof. Anghelone, how much do you think Greece managed to elaborate a strategy of foreign policy in the Balkans and in the Mediterranean notwithstanding its economic situation? Greece played a role in the Balkans, especially in the closet countries (Albania, Serbia, Romania and Bulgaria), since the war in Yugoslavia. Its activity entailed first the Greek banks’ acquisition of local ones and, then, the involvement in the telecommunications sector through the OTE, the public telephony society, which after the crisis passed under the control of the Deutsche Telekom. Until Greece had had an apparently good economic situation, it was able to pursue a policy of expansion in the Balkans’ markets where Greece played a role of micro regional power, thanks to the dreadful economic moment that the countries within the region where experiencing after the collapse of Yugoslavia.

Surce: notizie.it

Instead, Greece’s foreign policy has been put in a stand-by mode since 2009. The approach to Russia was mainly due to economic issues and it is extremely unlikely that Greece leaves its European economic and financial partners to bound further with Russia economically and strategically. Nonetheless, this is no 100% sure given that, in the event of the so called ‘Grexit’ or of a Greek bankrupt, the country could be more eager to move towards the Russian side by means of energy policies. Just think of the recently concluded agreement to build in the north of Greece of a piece of the pipeline substituting the South Stream. In case, the relations would deepen into both the economic and political domain. Furthermore, Greece is one of those who are suffering economically the most from the European sanctions to Russia, especially in agriculture exports. On the Turkish front, instead, relations have been stabilising for some time already, since the Simitis’ government (1996-2004), when Giorgios Papandreu was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs July 2015


Greece in a European and Mediterranean point of view. Interview with Prof. Francesco Anghelone.

(1999-2004) during the ‘heart-quakes diplomacy’: two violent heartquakes hit Turkey on August 1999 and Greece in September 1999 and the two countries helped each other and, consequently, started reconnecting diplomatically. The interstate relations, previously at odds, stepped up further even under the administration of Kostas Karamanlis. Nowadays, you can see some of the ‘leftovers’ of the commercial expansion carried out during the ‘90s in the Balkans, although it is not taking off. If in that region the Greek presence is still considerable, its control has de facto slipped under German control. In brief, Greece had the opportunity to benefit from the European Enlargement in the Balkans, provided that at that time it was the only country with a rising economy, a stable political system and huge investments on the defense. That opportunity evanished consequently the current economic situation. Despite these difficulties, the Greek and Macedonian Ministries of Foreign Affairs (Nikola Kotzias and government is trying to Nikolom Popovskim) maintain its position in the area, as demonstrated by the recent tour of the Greek Minister of Foreign Affair, Nikos Kotzias, in several Countries of the area1. The Balkans are affected by, even if just partially, by the diplomatic conflict on the Republic of Macedonia (FYROM), against it Athens put an Source: Aljazeera embargo during the ‘90s. Thus, given the current crisis, is Greece suffering (likewise many Balkan states) also the centrifugal ethnical pressure? How much the idea of a Great Albania– that is an economic union really in expansion in western Balkans- is influencing the ethnic minorities in Greece? Actually, Greece experienced a different and opposed movement when the wall fell. The existence of several Greek minorities in Albania, namely in the region that Greeks called the Northern Epirus, was used by some political factions to claim some Albanian territories. Nonetheless, the Greek government did not support such requests. As for the internal domain, there were no bug issues; sin ever since the beginning of the ‘90s, the 1From

24 to 26 June, Mr. Kotzias carried out visits to the capitals of the countries of the Western Balkans (Skopje, 24 June; Belgrade, 26 June; Podgorica, 26 June). July 2015

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Albanian ethnic minority, which is one of the largest in Greece, integrated very well inside the Greek society and labour force: many Albanian had stable jobs in the constructions domain and in the restaurant business and the Albanian immigration did not ever constituted a problem. Certainly, sometimes both the communities from Albania, Africa and the Middle east were charged for some micro-criminality events like drug trafficking. This type of phenomena particularly upturned subsequently to the economic crisis and provoked the recent rise in popularity of Golden Dawn, a political formation famous for its xenophobia and nationalistic slogans. The Albanian communities are not coming back from Greece to Albania where the economy is going better? Who lost his job or had the possibility to do it, came back to Albania. Nowadays, the Albanian community is the one, which has experienced the most the phenomenon of the return thanks to the geographical proximity and the political and economic stability of the country of origin. Notwithstanding this advantages, the phenomenon has not been as massive as that concerning Italy during the ‘90s where the Albanian community is deeply integrated. We also talked about FYROM. How are relationships going with this country, taking into consideration the EU enlargement? Are they regaining momentum or are they still rigid? The controversy concerning the name of the Vergina Sun FYROM is ongoing; negotiations at the UN level are being carried out but no solution has been reached yet. The dispute has been radicalised and faced kind of brutally in Greece especially in the ‘90s, when in Athens’ buses you could spot stickers with the following sentence written upon them: I Makedoníaeínai Elláda, that is “Macedonia is Greece”. From 1990 to 1993 New Democracy ran the government and Samaras, at that time Ministry of Source: pinterest.com Foreign Affairs, had to resign because of his rigid position towards FYROM. In fact, his idea of an embargo contemporarily to the war in exYugoslavia created a series of problems. The issue is nowadays quite complex and twofolded. On the one hand, we are talking about a region that so important to Greece that the government established a Minister for Macedonia, whose capital, Salonika, is considered a sort of second capital for Greece and played a special role in the country’s history. On the other hand, we can hear people talking a lot about Alexander the Great and Philip of Macedonia who were both considered Greek and Macedon and founders of the country. That implied a political problem. FYROM wanted to use as a symbol for its flag the Sun

July 2015


Greece in a European and Mediterranean point of view. Interview with Prof. Francesco Anghelone.

of Vergìna2, which Greece considers one of its most important historical attributes. After a series of diplomatic attempts to settle the dispute, FYROM decided eventually to use a stylised sun as a symbol, which highly resembles to the Sun of Vergina. For Greeks, instead, ‘Macedonia’ stands for an historical and nationally meaningful region within their territory. The colour of governments evidently influences the way the issue is addressed and stressed. Nonetheless, it is always important to Greeks. Among the Greek parties, Syriza could be the one able to erase the issue from the political agenda, but I am afraid at the moment Tsipras has other problems to deal with. Not to mention the unlikelihood that the Party of the Independent Greeks will make concessions. We mentioned the migration flows. How much do you think Greece is being affected by the phenomenon compared with Italy or Turkey? According to the numbers, Greek is suffering as much as Italy in terms of arrivals even though the Greek population is littler and the economy is weaker than the Italian is. Then other issues add to the migration waves. First, both in Italy and Greece there are no sufficient means to cope with the emergency; second, immigrations are difficult to be handled during an economic crisis of such proportions. Second, resulting to a reduction in the GDP of 25%, poverty and unemployment are rising and the arrival of these migrants is exploited as a political weapon for gathering consensus by populist, nationalist and xenophobia parties like Golden Dawn. That brings us to the third point that is the way Europe is handling the economic crisis in Greece. The ‘Austerity’ approach spurred the Greeks disaffection to the European Union and the perception of the Germans as enemies because of their rigidity towards Greece. What the Greeks perceive is that, while they are forced to abide by the diktats of the EU institutions, the other EU MS do not share with Greece the burden of the migration waves. Thus, the situation is likely to split further the EU along the North-South cleavage and is favouring the rise in popularity – as stated aboveof some populist parties like Golden Dawn in Greece or Lega Nord and Movimento 5 Stelle in Italy, which exploit these issues during their electoral campaigns to collect popular consensus. Do migrants see Greece as a country of destination or of transit? As for Italy, Greece is perceived as a country of transition towards the north of Europe. The problem, differently from the Italian case3, is that migrants often debark into small isles, which are scarcely populated, far from the continent and, often, very close to Turkey. There, the controls are not that tight as the Turkish government aims to foster the immigrants’ departure from its territory. Thus, besides the social implications, the situation is very difficult to manage from a logistic point of view.

2

The symbol was discovered into the tomb of Philip II of Macedonia, in Vergina. exception for the isle of Lampedusa.

3Made

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The last question on Greece’s relations with China. How much the Chinese investments on the Piraeus advantage or disadvantage Greece? China has been advantaged from the investments since it paid through the COSCO an estimated € 4.5/5 billion to get the administration of two quays of the Piraeus over a 40years period of time. Thus, considering the range of time, one can certainly state that china made a great deal which is transforming the quays, the most active in the Port, in hubs for it’s the products and for those of multinational companies. Just to make an example, the Hewlett-Packard choose port to bring its products to Europe and to the Mediterranean while the COSCO is seeking to conclude agreements with some other important multinationals. At the same time, china is seeking to launch a very commercially appetizing project, that is the creation of a RETE FERRIOVIARIA connecting THE Piraeus port to the Greek main network and brining the goods and manufactures to the markets of central and northern Europe. So far, the economic benefit for Greece has been minimum. It received a lot of liquidity but could not solve that much with that. Furthermore, the Chinese investments managed to maintain the Greek labour force, but at worse condition though. Last July the COSCO workers went on strike as they were forced to work more than 12 hours a day. Moreover, there were only two people instead of the required three working on the crane; indeed, COSCO made them sign a private declaration in which they Source: The Loadstar promised not to call an ambulance in case of a sinister but to go to the hospital by themselves in order not to make evident they got injured in the workplace. A series of condition that demonstrate how easy a country in difficulty like Greece can be easily ‘ruled’ by the economic giant, like China, which pays low salaries and imposes working conditions well below the European standards. The other important question to consider is the European position. The EU has already launched two rescue plans for Greece, respectively of €110 billion and of €130billion, which is a lot more money compared with the Chinese investments. Nonetheless, it is questionable why the EU did not invest it to make the Piraeus a hub for its goods. That is, in my opinion, a mistake that the EU made given that it left a blank space for the Chinese expansion in the Balkans (where usually the Germans did business) and, hypothetically, to other areas where it can challenge the German commercial predominance. Given that the Chinese investments are making their way from sub-Saharan Africa to Northern Africa, it July 2015


Greece in a European and Mediterranean point of view. Interview with Prof. Francesco Anghelone.

is not impossible to envision a scenario The strategic importance of Greece (railroads) in which China take political and economic control of the Mediterranean. Furthermore, Peking, compared to the EU Member States, benefits from the fact that the large companies like COSCO are controlled by the State and, thus, respond to both political and economic logics. That is evident from the approach adopted by the ZTE and Huawei, which have equally divided the share of the telecommunication market so as not to compete with one another. Thus, we can certainly state that there is a political strategy in the Source: The Economist economic expansion of China. The other project, which the Chinese are investing on, is the port authority. The previous Greek government foresaw the privatisation of the authority. Tsipras initially blocked it but then approved it. At the moment, the authority is still public but the privatisation should be realised as soon as an agreement with the institutions is reached. In the event of a Chinese acquisition of the authority, that will cause a ‘commercial hole’ allowing the indiscriminate flow into the region of Chinese goods, which are very cheap but characterised by security standards well below the European threshold. Thus, the problem is mainly commercial. The EU risks to be invaded by an economic giant in the Mediterranean, where the Europeans should be investing to spur their economic growth instead. What will be the outcome of the confrontation between Tsipras government and international creditors? After the referendum called by the Greek government, positions seem to get closer. The government, negotiating with creditors, must take into account the electoral program through which it is presented to voters definitely against the austerity policies - and the position of the minority inside Syriza, Left Platform. This force has to mediate constantly between the creditors' claims, Source: Micromega sometimes quite harsh, and July 2015

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the necessity to keep its majority unite. For this reason, Tsipras decided to call the referendum. The vote rewarded his choice, but several statistical surveys of the last few weeks also show that, to date, the majority of Greeks want to stay in the euro. Therefore, the victory of the “no� at the referendum served primarily to strengthen Greek approval for Tsipras - it is a clear victory on all oppositions supporting the "yes" option - and at the same time launched a signal to creditors about the general consensus that the Greek Prime Minister still enjoys. Above all, Tsipras put at the center of the political debate the issue of debt sustainability, the real question that now prevents a possible long-term solution of the crisis in the country. Having silenced domestic opposition and strengthened himself in the eyes of the creditors, Tsipras has been able to sit at the negotiating table from a boldest position. His latest proposals seem to meet the demands of creditors and bode well against a possible deal, although this will also depend very much on the attitude that will adopt Germany and her fellow countries, which held the harder line against Greece in recent weeks. Then, a win-win solution, from the Greek side, should include the acceptance of some of the more unpalatable requests presented by creditors. Instead, from the latter’s side, it should include the serious commitment to tackle the issue of Greek debt restructuring in a reasonable time.

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Conclusions

Conclusions The drafting of this dossier has not been easy at all. As can be seen just by reading the title, the area of the Western Balkans is an extremely active area and “unstable�. From a political point of view, the area is undergoing yet the disastrous consequences of the ‘90s wars, resulting of much ancient divisions and multiple political interests that yonder meet and often collide. The northern part has a Central European identity and turns its gaze to the north rather than to the east or south. The most affected by political cleavages is the one that begins in Sarajevo and arrives in Athens. In this area, even the boundaries between states seem to be well established and the weight of ethnic and religious minorities is felt in an important way. We refer especially to the Albanian minorities or Muslim ones (the two minorities often coincide) but it is also important to mention all those ethnic groups who live beyond the borders of their States, constituting ethnic communities in other States (and Italians in Croatia, the Bulgarians in Source: Bergbookk Serbia, Montenegro and the Serbs in Bosnia, the Vlachos ect.). In this constantly changing reality, it is impossible to describe a political situation in a static way and it is very difficult to make accurate predictions about what might happen within the next five years. Examples are what is going on in Macedonia1 or what is evolving in Greece after the referendum on the austerity policies required by Brussels, Berlin and Frankfurt to Athens. This last case, fully examined by Professor Francesco Anghelone in his interview, shows how Greece is representing a great challenge for the EU both in relation to its economic policies and for managing the problem of migration in the Mediterranean Sea. The threat of small jihadist groups, as pointed out by Dr. Durante, is also another important challenge that acts on one hand as an important logistics base for the training and the transfer of guerrillas to North Africa and the Middle

After the attacks and clashes in Kumanovo between groups of Kosovo Liberation Army veterans and police, in the capital Skopje protests broke out against the management policy of the Prime Minister, Nikola Gruevski, judged too much authoritarian and corrupt from a part of population. 1

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East, on the other to increase the risk of social chaos and political instability throughout the Balkans. Therefore, although in essence it is a scenario of political crisis and, in some respects, even economic, the Western Balkans continue to play their historic role of laboratory of international politics. Since the fall of the Ottoman Empire, this area suffers political, cultural and economic influence that come from several parts of the world. Being a “laboratory of international politics� means certainly that governments and peoples suffering instability, but it also means you can take advantage of different opportunities, mainly economic ones. These opportunities are mainly related to major energy contracts (which are part of an international Great Game) and to fruitful commercial traffics that from the west and south go to the east and vice versa. Starting from the energy issue, the United States and its allies have an interest in stopping the expansion of Gazprom in the Balkans. Russia is forced, as was in the case of South Stream, to cancel contracts with Western companies (with large losses for the latter) and having to build a new gas pipeline project, as the new Turkish Stream. This kind of issues were excellently faced by Dr. Angelone, who also points out that this Great Game is not only a source of profit for Russian and Western Oil-Companies but also a good source of income for the Countries through which these pipelines pass. The Balkans, as a territory of passage, can exploit in their favor this geopolitical scenario2. Although it is not an easy area to cross and, in some

Greece has adopted a similar strategy on the financial issue: while dealing with the European Union, continuing its excellent relations with Russia and the BRICS. The United States is extremely concerned about losing influence in Athens because of the inflexibility of the ECB and the Commission. 2

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Conclusions

places, quite insecure, the Western Balkans are also a commercial crossroad. Implementing the commercial hubs, especially air and maritime transports is the biggest challenge of economic policy for these countries. As pointed out by Ambassador Sbutega, Montenegro has taken this challenge to make a growth opportunity for the country, a small country that, without being politically oppressed, is able to maintain the right balance between relations with Brussels and Moscow. It seems that from these small national communities, linked to strong historical and/or cultural identities, the Balkans are trying to start up again, using, among many difficulties, their big opportunity to improve their prosperity and stability.

Marcello Ciola Vice-CEO of Mediterranean Affairs

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References Cassese A. (2013), Lineamenti di diritto Internazionale Penale, il Mulino, Rome. Cohen A., How East-West Competition Turned Balkan Energy into a Geopolitical Football, Journal of Energy Security, November 20, 2014. http://ensec.org/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=563:how-eastwest-competition-turned-balkan-energy-into-a-geopoliticalfootball&catid=126:kr&Itemid=395. CSIS, Re-linking the Western Balkans: The energy dimension, CSIS-EKEM Policy Report 3, Cfr: http://www.transconflict.com/2010/09/re-linking-the-westernbalkans-the-energy-dimension-309/. Fuller G. and Lesser I. (1996), Geopolitica dell’Islam, i paesi musulmani, il fondamentalismo, l’Occidente, Donzelli Editore, Rome. Grigas A. (2013), The Politics of Energy and Memory between the Baltic States and Russia, Ashgate, Farnham. Michaletos I., Balkan worries of the Syrian aftermath, Panthis, March 20, 2014. http://www.phantis.com/blogs/ioannis-michaletos/balkan-worries-syrian-aftermath. Milatovic J. and Sanfey P., The Western Balkans and EU energy security, EBRD (European Bank for Reconstruction and Development), January 8, 2015, Cfr. http://www.ebrd.com/news/2015/the-western-balkans-and-eu-energy-security.html. Pirjevec J. (2006), Le Guerre Jugoslave 1991-1999, Einaudi, Turin. Trifkovic S., The “Green Corridor”: Myth or Reality, Liberty: The Official Publication of the Serbian National Defense Council of America. http://liberty.sndus.com/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=19:the-green-corridor-myth-orreality&catid=2:world-politics. IDEM, U.S. Policy and Geopolitics of Jihad: The Green Corridor in the Balkans, Gates of Vienna, May 26, 2009. http://gatesofvienna.blogspot.it/2009/05/green-corridorin-balkans.html.

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Authors

Authors Francesco Angelone. MA in International Relations at the LUISS Guido Carli University in Rome with a thesis on the role of energy in the international relations of the Baltic States. He is currently attending a Master Course in Parliament and Public Policies at LUISS School of Government in Rome. Editorial Board member of Mediterranean Affairs. Francesco Anghelone. MA in History of Eastern Europe at the Faculty of Leterature and Philosophy, University “La Sapienza” of Rome. Later he obtained a doctorate in European History at the Faculty of Political Science, University “La Sapienza” of Rome. Since 2005, he is the Coordinator of the historical and political research area of the Institute of Political Studies “S. Pio V”. He has collaborated with several Italian and foreign universities, including the University Luiss Guido Carli, “La Sapienza” of Rome, the University of Athens and the University of Thessaloniki. He is the Manager Editor of “Rivista di Studi Politici” (Scientific Journal of Political Studies) and contributor to Aspenia Online. He is the author of essays and books of historical and geopolitical related to the Mediterranean. Among his most recent publications, Geopolitical Atlas of the Mediterranean 2014 (ed. with Prof. A. Ungari), and The Troika on the Acropolis, Bordeaux Editions. Giorgia Durante. MA in International and Comunitarian Law at the Faculty of Law, at Luiss Guido Carli University of Rome, with a thesis entitled War crimes, superior responsibility and order execution. Since January to June 2014, she worked at the UN headquarter (N.Y) for UNDESA Department. In July 2015, she started to work in a legal office in Lecce. H. M. Antun Sbutega. Ambassador of the Republic of Montenegro in Italy. Former Ambassador of the Republic of Montenegro to the Holy See. Professor at the University of Montenegro. He collaborate with other universities and cultural associations, trying to contribute to the democratization and development of Montenegro and the consolidation of its ties with Europe and Italy. He was a member of the Movement for the independence of Montenegro. He collaborates with the chair of the History of Eastern Europe at the Faculty of Political Science, University “La Sapienza”. For Rubbettino, in 2006, he published History of Montenegro.

Special Thanks to Domus Europa and Identità Europea, partners of Mediterranean Affairs, for helping to realization of this Dossier.

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Ed. Mediterranean Affairs速. www.mediterraneanaffairs.com info. admin@mediterraneanaffairs.com Cover image source: Balkan Institute for Regional Cooperation

July 2015

Dossier #2 - Western Balkans  

“The Balkans have become an area of crucial interest for the internationalization strategies of foreign companies, extraterritorial investme...