Constructing South East Europe: The Politics of Balkan by Dimitar Bechev

By Dimitar Bechev

Neighborhood cooperation has develop into a particular function of the Balkans, a space recognized for its turbulent politics. Exploring the origins and dynamics of this modification, this e-book highlights the transformative strength of the european and different overseas actors.

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Similarly, during the war, Bosnia and Herzegovina lost access to the Croatian port of Plocˇe. East–west connections were hampered by underdeveloped infrastructure. Neither the Albanian nor the Greek ports on the Adriatic and Ionian Sea were connected to major cities in the Balkans. This challenge was particularly pronounced in Albania due to its substandard – even by Balkan measures – roads and railways. 3 Density and quality of roads in South East Europe (2000) Length in km Albania Bosnia and Herzegovina Bulgaria Croatia Macedonia Moldova Romania FR Yugoslavia Average CEE8 average Spain, Portugal, Greece (EU S3) average EU12 (without S3) average Km/ 1000 km2 Area Km per 1 million Inhabitants Motorways km/1000 km road 18,000 21,846 626 427 5,743 5,493 1 1 37,286 28,123 12,522 12,657 198,603 49,805 47,355 122,870 284,111 336 497 487 375 833 487 585 1,348 1,169 4,691 6,419 6,156 3,478 8,852 4,684 6,511 13,317 14,329 9 15 11 0 1 8 4 2 13 258,827 1,238 9,819 13 Source: Christie and Holzner (2004).

States and substate actors interact with regard to issues that, figuratively speaking, put them ‘in the same boat’. They reap the benefits of cooperation or compete for resources concentrated in a more or less clearly bounded and cohesive spatial perimeter. It is shared geography that binds polities together, in both positive and negative ways, and Balkan politics furnish countless examples of this. This chapter explores the character and intensity of cross-border linkages across South East Europe during the 1990s – the decade when cooperative schemes took off – and their implications for the emergent regional arrangements.

The chapter traces the slow development of a functional dimension to the process and its institutionalization through the RCC. This page intentionally left blank Part I Drivers of Regional Cooperation This page intentionally left blank 1 All in the Same Boat? Regional Interdependence and Cooperation in South East Europe Scholars approaching regionalism from various angles treat interdependence as a key factor pushing for collective action. States and substate actors interact with regard to issues that, figuratively speaking, put them ‘in the same boat’.

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