Handbook on the Politics of Small States
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Handbook on the Politics of Small States

Edited by Godfrey Baldacchino and Anders Wivel

Comprehensive and timely, this Handbook identifies the key characteristics, challenges and opportunities involved in the politics of small states across the globe today. Acknowledging the historical legacies behind these states, the chapters unpack the costs and benefits of different political models for small states.
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Chapter 12: Small states of the Balkans: after Yugoslavia and its third way

Stefano Bianchini


This chapter deals with the Yugoslav successor states, whose stability is still marked by the consequences of the bloody collapse of the federation. These small states face three interconnected dilemmas. First, is the rise of nationalism as the predominant ideology: in public opinion, collective memory and official statements. Second, is how these small states are becoming once again a key geopolitical global battleground, where local authorities try to maximize benefits by manoeuvring within great power competition. Third, the ‘influence versus autonomy’ dynamic is retracing its historical routes, mirroring a complicated chessboard, despite the opportunities offered by the process of European integration. Thus, growing divisions and uncertainties among the Yugoslav successor states open old geopolitical wounds, including interference from the great powers. This threatens the long-term stability and peace of the so-called Western Balkans and Europe as a whole.

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