Discussion on Russian Influence in the Western Balkans and the Regional Security Challenges Since the War in Ukraine

On November 14th, 2023, Friedrich Ebert Stiftung (FES) in cooperation with Democracy for Development (D4D) hosted a discussion on Russian Influence in the Western Balkans (WB) and the security implications of the war in Ukraine for the region.

This topic is of particular importance to the component of peace and security, which is why the FES Kosova Office and the FES Dialogue Southeast Europe Office have taken the initiative to enhance a debate on the current security challenges for the WB. The purpose of the initiative is to also provide a few recommendations as to what the way should be forward for the WB and the Euro-Atlantic partners to strengthen cooperation and prevent interference from malign actors.

Moderated by Adelina Hasani, a researcher at the Kosovar Centre for Security Studies, the invited panelists shared their expertise and insights on the given topic. Jeta Loshaj (FES Kosova Office) and Harun Cero (FES Southeast Europe Office) presented the findings of a policy brief that will soon be launched, which entailed an analysis of the security challenges facing the Western Balkans as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Jeton Zulfaj, a political advisor to the Office of the Prime Minister of Kosova expressed his insights on the given topic and contributed with additional recommendations on what should be the way forward for the WB6, the EU, and NATO in order to mitigate the space for further Russian influence in the region. Enver Hoxhaj, a Member of the Parliament of Kosova and Professor at the University of Prishtina also contributed to the discussion, by particularly focusing on the historical background of events.

The main remarks and recommendations of this discussion will be incorporated in the final version of the policy brief, which will be published on the websites of FES Kosova Office and FES Southeast Europe Office in the coming weeks.


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