Tug of war on horizon

European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (front) and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, Albania. The move to start discussions for Albania to join the EU signals how the West is doing more to woo Balkan states away from Russian
European Union foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini (front) and Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama in Tirana, Albania. The move to start discussions for Albania to join the EU signals how the West is doing more to woo Balkan states away from Russian influence.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Balkans become area of interest in tussle between West, Russia

For decades, Europe's south-eastern corner, which goes by the name of the Balkans, remained the continent's blighted region. Its nations were forgotten by a Europe which raced ahead in economic and social terms, preferring not to think too much about that area, which always seemed too difficult to understand, and too expensive to fix.

No longer, however. Recently, the United States-led Nato went to great lengths and took considerable effort to include Montenegro, a Balkan nation of merely half a million people and an economy 50 times smaller than that of Singapore.

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A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on April 21, 2018, with the headline 'Tug of war on horizon'. Print Edition | Subscribe