Great Power Competition in the Balkans

The world is once again entering into a strategic environment defined by multipolarity. China and Russia’s rise as global actors and the growing rift between the United States and Europe indicate that the future of international politics will be marked, once again, by competition between great powers. With its strategic geopolitical location, the Balkans has become one of the key sites of this growing competition. Although the contest for influence in the Balkans has been traditionally pursued by Europe and Russia, the United States and China are also raising their visibility in the region.

NATO enlargement in the region, President Trump’s latest attempt to solve the Serbia-Kosovo dispute and Beijing’s assertive economic programmes as part of the much-disputed Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) show the extent of these relatively new actor’s interest in the region. This session aims to present an assessment of the current state of great power competition in the Balkans and its implications for regional states.