Biden’s World: Who Matters More? China and the Indo-Pacific, Europe and the Middle East: how US foreign policy will change

BALKANS

All roads pass through the Balkans (and the time is ripe for peace)

of Mara Gergolet

Joe Biden is a friend from the Balkans. It has been since Clintonian times, part of that democratic and interventionist entourage which prompted the US to participate in the war in the 1990s and then wrote peace, which in many ways was not decisive. But he was also the first American leader to express condolences to the Serbs, in 2016, for the NATO bombings of 1999. His is a return that opens at least three fronts.

The Kosovar question: it is from an involvement of the Americans that the “peace” between Serbia and Kosovo, in agreement with the EU, passes. Trump’s envoy, Richard Grenell, who has annoyed many Europeans with his adventurism, leaves. At one point he even took the Serbian and Kosovar premieres to the White House to stage the signing of a “peace” that was little more than a customs agreement. The times are ripe. It has arrived in Kosovo in power a generation of forty, those of Vetevendosje, a sort of anti-corruption and nationalist grillini, who want to change the page. And the Serbs are asking for nothing better.

Serbian President Aleksander Vucic and Kosovo Premier Avdullah Hoti sign Trump-brokered deal at the White House


Energy and the Green Deal. It is in everyone’s interest, even the Americans – who have tried to drive the Serbs away from Russia with an unimaginative policy, pushing the purchase of their natural gas – to bring the Balkans into the EU pact. The advantages would be several: the Balkans are already connected to the European grid, they have a shortage of production and consumption and formidable hydroelectric plants (here Italy is the main investor). Can the energy plan become the Marshall plan that the Balkans have always been denied?

Finally China: with its investments in Belgrade in ports, infrastructure, factories and vaccines, it is the Dragon’s closest gateway to the old continent. It is necessary to decide how to contain it.

NB: Draghi, in his inauguration speech, put the Balkans at the number one point of Italian foreign policy. He hadn’t heard from him for thirty years. But it is not passatism, far from it: the best card that Italy has to increase its role – or power – in the EU passes in the Balkans (energy, migrants, etc.).

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