Latest publication by Mr Oleksandr HLEBA

Mr Oleksandr HLEBA, Senior Academic Assistant in the European Interdisciplinary Studies Department, has published an article, entitled "Foreign Policy Alignment of the Western Balkan Countries with the EU’s Russia Policy since the Annexation of Crimea", in The Regional Studies Journal (No 18) of Uzhhorod National University.

The article evaluates the foreign policy alignment of the Western Balkan countries with the Common Foreign and Security Policy (CFSP) of the European Union (EU) under Chapter 31 of the acquis communautaire within the accession process. The EU’s policy towards Russia since the latter’s annexation of Crimea is chosen as a case study due to some Western Balkan countries’ close ties with Russia, which resulted in the situation whereby they have been confronted with an onerous dilemma of compromising their far-reaching relations with Russia for the compliance with EU accession conditionality in the area of foreign policy.

The aim of the article is to assess to what extent the Western Balkan countries have aligned their foreign policy with the EU’s Russia policy since the annexation of Crimea. The alignment is analysed through the endorsement of relevant EU declarations, the imposition of sanctions against Russia and the votes in the United Nations General Assembly on pertinent resolutions.

The study demonstrates that while Montenegro and Albania have fully aligned their foreign policy with the EU’s policy towards Russia, including the imposition of sanctions, other Western Balkan countries did not introduce sanctions and aligned with some EU declarations (North Macedonia and Bosnia and Herzegovina) or none (Serbia). As far as the five resolutions that have been adopted by the UN General Assembly are concerned, Montenegro, Albania and North Macedonia endorsed all of them, Bosnia and Herzegovina mostly abstained and Serbia voted against four. The research also reveals that Serbia’s non-alignment is explained by its strategic partnership with Russia, which is based on common religion, intensive military contacts, and mutually beneficial political cooperation, especially on the sensitive issue of the recognition of Kosovo’s independence by the international community and NATO’s expansion in Europe.

The full article can be found here.