This book provides a detailed understanding of how different types of engagements impact upon the reform and EU integration of the Western Balkan region. It examines the influence of Russia, China, Turkey and the UAE in the region and analyses the range of existing links.

Contributors offer an academic and multifaceted perspective of the role of external and non-Western actors in the region that goes beyond, on the one hand, the tendency of some Western decision makers to perceive all engagement by third powers as a sinister threat and, on the other, the view of regional governments of all external involvement as a boon coming at a time of Western neglect and reduced foreign investments. By looking at the importance of Russia, Turkey, China and the UAE in the Western Balkans, the book sheds light on one key arena of global competition, offers new insights on the strengths and weaknesses of Euro–Atlantic integration and advances our knowledge of foreign policy and its economic, social and security dimensions for small and medium-sized countries.

It will be of interest to academics, postgraduate and research students, and think-tankers with research interest in IR and Southeast European Studies. European decision makers will also gain an insight into the extent of non-Western influence in the region.

chapter |14 pages


The influence of external actors in the Western Balkans
Edited ByFlorian Bieber, Nikolaos Tzifakis

part Part I|44 pages

Regional dynamics

chapter 1|19 pages

Security cooperation in the Western Balkans

Cracks and erosion of Euro–Atlantic integration?
ByTobias Flessenkemper, Marko Kmezić

chapter 2|23 pages

The economic development of the Western Balkans

The importance of non-EU actors
ByMatteo Bonomi, Milica Uvalic

part Part II|125 pages

Western Balkan case studies

chapter 3|22 pages


Looking East, going West?
ByFlorent Marciacq

chapter 4|25 pages

Bosnia and Herzegovina

Abandoned by the West, embraced by the East?
ByAdnan Huskić

chapter 5|18 pages


Between Western and non-Western states
ByGëzim Visoka

chapter 6|20 pages

North Macedonia

A fertile ground for external influences
ByZoran Nechev, Ivan Nikolovski

chapter 7|18 pages


Always at a crossroads
ByJovana Marović

chapter 8|20 pages


New geopolitics and shifting linkages
ByEnika Abazi

part Part III|80 pages

Non-Western actors

chapter 9|18 pages


Playing a weak hand well
ByDimitar Bechev

chapter 10|20 pages


A new geo-economic approach to the Balkans
ByAnastas Vangeli

chapter 11|16 pages


Forced marriage or marriage of convenience with the Western Balkans?
ByAhmet Erdi Öztürk, Samim Akgönül

chapter 12|19 pages


Sultanism meets illiberal democracy
ByWill Bartlett, Tena Prelec

chapter |5 pages


Edited ByFlorian Bieber, Nikolaos Tzifakis