Eastern Enlargement of the EU: Bulgaria and Romania’s Accession- Geo-economic and Geopolitical Implications for the Balkans
The project’s aim is to look beyond the journalistic flash stories and the repetitive high pathos analysis of EU's Balkan Enlargement and explore in depth the geopolitical implications of such an important development. In other words, this thesis looks at two major questions, and namely, what are the geopolitical and geo-economic consequences for the Balkans, arising from Bulgaria and Romania’s accession to the EU and in a broader context what are the geo-economic and geopolitical changes that are shaping in the Balkans in the first decade of the 21st century? To answer these broader questions the research concentrates on series of other closely related, but narrowly focused questions, namely: How the EU policies of inclusion and exclusion in the Balkans could contribute to severe economic, political and cultural ghettoization of the Balkans in short to mid term perspective? What are the Geo-economic and Geopolitical Perspectives for the integrated Eastern component? (Bulgaria and Romania) Pathways from the West Periphery or Western Periphery Paths: Options for the Excluded Component? (Bosnia& Herzegovina, Albania, Kosovo, Serbia & Montenegro, Macedonia) Are we currently observing grandeur changes and the emergence of Bulgaria and Romania as a region with a new very important geopolitical value due to the concurrence of major developments? How can these two countries capitalize on their advanced Euro-Atlantic integration stage and lobby for a more engaged EU policy towards the whole region and specifically the West Balkans? The first section of the first chapter gives the historical framework of Balkan economic relations and the evolution from historical confrontation to cooperation.In the next section I explore the recent geopolitical developments and namely the emerging East-West split , running through the heart of the Balkan peninsula, with its east part in the final stages of EU integration (Bulgaria and Romania) and the ‘Wild West’ of the Balkans with no prospective of mid to long-term EU integration. The second chapter explores the geo-economic implications of Bulgaria and Romania’s EU accession for the region. The third chapter explores the major geo-political changes that are currently shaping the Balkans and more narrowly the geo-political implications of Bulgaria and Romania’s EU accession to the region.
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