We claim that the Balkans are the future of Europe. Why do we say this?
First of all, and of course, the reverse is also true: the European Union certainly represents a great opportunity (the only one valid in the long term) for the Balkans.
In the 1990s, like the rest of Europe fifty years earlier, the ethnic, historical and religious tensions of the region seem to challenge the future of the European model. The current situation in the Balkans, with its share of “hereditary” and “insoluble” conflicts, is vital for our European project. Either the founding intuition of the European Union has no future, was only a naive bubble, an accident of history, and therefore it will not “work” in the Balkans; or this humanistic way of solving very deep conflicts without destroying the other is a realistic way of illuminating the road to the 21st century, and then it will “take” in these territories.
Is it possible, and how, that bruised peoples, torn apart for centuries, whose economic difficulties are aggravated by the proximity of Europe, build a peaceful common future? Can the idea of the founding fathers of Europe, this counterpoint to the so-called hereditary hatreds, become a reality in this patchwork of countries, peoples, languages, histories and hopes?
The general reflection in Europe on the Balkans is today phagocyted by the question of the possible enlargement of the European Union. This is all the more penalizing since many agree that it is neither possible nor desirable to carry out this enlargement in a hurry and that it will still take a long time.
Yet the Balkans have an immediate need to project themselves into the future, to develop a common vision: European, whatever its form; operational, without duplicating the chapters of the formal integration process; debated and consented to by the societies, regardless of democratic fragilities.
Our Balkans2050 foundation proposes to work on these questions. With a precise objective: to identify, in a very concrete way, the higher common interests capable of generating a unitary impulse.
The Balkans are a region that will eventually be integrated into the European Union project, and they will bring to it an important part of its wealth, its power and its influence. In particular, the confirmation that being united in diversity enriches and strengthens, even in such geographically, culturally and historically fragmented regions.