The fragmentation of Yugoslavia not only led to the emergence of independent countries but pushed them out of their space. Slovenia, a prealpine-seen country has stronger ties with Friuli, Veneto or Austria than with Croatia. On the other hand, Croatia threatens with making an Anschluss to the west, towards the Mitteleuropa. This is the reason why Bosnia- Herzegovina is still monitored by the international community.
Europe is no longer willing to negotiate with Croatia because it did not cooperate with The Hague in the Ante Gotovina case. The problem is part of its population and the government sees him as a hero who liberated or protected them. To turn him in would provoke tensions. However, it is not about joining the economic Europe but about accepting its values too. From the West up to Zagreb, people are pro-European: they still are a bit pro-European in the bordering region of Bosnia and Serbia and not too pro-European in Dalmatia. Some agree when it is about tourism but they do not want to mingle with the European identity.
In Bosnia-Herzegovina, there are too many citizens, especially Muslims, who do not live where they used to. Only half of the two million refuges have returned. Some do not want to do it and the others just can’t. The Balkans would only be European when Bosnia-Herzegovina becomes a stable State where the three groups (Serbs, Bosnians and Croatians) can keep their regional and cultural identity while they serve a common State. Despite the fact that Bosnia-Herzegovina is characterized by having two different parts, a weak economy, unemployment and poverty, the prospects of joining the European Union is real. They must reach an agreement themselves for nobody would make investments there. They must learn how to make decisions without the assistance of the international community. The blue helmets will remain there until the army is unified and as along as there are rival groups.
In Mostar, the people is willing to live together but the city is still a problem for the Croatians consider it their regional center, as Sarajevo is the center of the Bosnians. The Serbian problem will be solved when the last signs of old nationalism disappear. There are two problems: Montenegro and Kosovo. Montenegro is not stable enough from the economic point of view and it is much closed to Serbia culturally speaking. The Kosovo problem must be solved first. The international community must guarantee its inhabitants the possibility of defending their interests and their self-determination. The acts of violence between the Serbs and the Kosovars can re-start any moment. Certain gestures in Belgrade indicate that Serbia is willing to talk to Kosovo but I think the blue-helmets will stay there for as long as they did it in Cyprus. Macedonia hasn’t been very successful in the economic field but I think the debate on its joining to the European Union will begin after Bulgaria’s and Rumania’s, but never before Serbia’s.
The Europeans should not be involved in a disintegration. The best thing would be joining all these States, except Croatia, and have legitimate borders from the cultural and legal viewpoints with no economic exclusions. It is about creating a common open space as the one we have in the European Union. We must Europeanize the Balkans.

Der Spiegel (Germany)
Circulation: 1 100 000 copies. An important investigation magazine issued for the first time in 1947, and source of multiple political scandals. It is known for its own journalistic slang and also issues four special editions yearly. The website of the Spiegel is the most successful online magazine in Germany.

«Wir müssen den Balkan europäisieren», by Hans Koschnick, Der Spiegel, May 3, 2005. Text adapted from an interview.