The Swiss daily ‘Neue Zurcher Zeitung’, in a recent, article assessed that Russia, China and Turkey’s influence in the Balkans is growing, especially after opposition to the opening of accession talks with Albania and North Macedonia and that the EU does not offer the convincing prospect of enlargement of the Balkans.
“Just a week after the European Union, due to France’s veto, refused to start negotiations with Albania and North Macedonia, Serbian Prime Minister Ana Bernabic in Moscow signed an agreement between Serbia and the Eurasian Economic Union on free trade. Her trip may have been planned independently of the outcome of the EU Summit, but the move within this time-frame could be linked to the French veto against the start of negotiations with Skopje and Tirana,” reads NZZ.
The author of the article, Volker Pabst, concludes that there is no doubt that “the EU and the West are losing confidence and the opportunity to influence the Balkans.”
” Moscow is fighting against strengthening Western influence in the region, especially NATO influence. Russia is well placed to instrumentalize historic dividing lines and instability in the region. Ankara is exporting its concept of the rule of law and is increasingly seeking help in prosecuting government opponents. The main projects funded by China, often aided by corruption, have the potential to undermine the rule of law, “ writes NZZ.
However, in his article, Pabst, does not believe that the Balkan countries are likely to turn to Moscow or Ankara, noting that their foreign trade with Russia is only 6%, while trade with the European Union is 73.5%. The Swiss newspaper also indicates that Moscow, Ankara and Beijing do not act together, but have different interests in the Balkans. ‘Neue Zurcher Zeitung’. Referred to Lajmi.net/Tiranapost.al.