Though this paper is meant to address a current event pertaining to the European Union, it is difficult to explain some things without delving into the past.This paper deals not with a single concrete event, but rather a process that could have deep implications for the European Union.This process involves one of the most ethnically diverse, and unfortunately, most volatile regions of the globe: the Balkans.This paper will briefly address the past histories of the Balkans and the European Union.It will also attempt to explain the possibilities for internal conflict once the Balkan states, particularly the Yugoslav successor states, attain EU membership.Finally, it will evaluate the pros and cons of EU expansion into the Balkans, as well as ways to evade the potential problems of expansion into such an unstable region.
The modern European Union was created in 1952 in an attempt to deter war through economic interdependence.Over the next few decades, the original 6 states gradually expanded into a 15-member bloc.Expansion was expressly encouraged in the various treaties governing the administration and functioning of the Union.The collapse of Soviet-style communism in Eastern Europe from 1989-1991 created a vast new pool of potential applicants determined to enter the European mainstream in order to escape their dark Soviet past.Indeed, for many of these states "acceptance in the West was considered more urgent and more important than cooperation in the East,"(Brown 266).The prevailing Western orientation of many of these states made acceptance easier than previously thought.Ironically, the state most accepted in the West prior to the collapse of communism, Yugoslavia, became a pariah even before the Iron Curtain lifted.As other East European states applied to join the European Union, Yugoslavia descended into ethnic chaos reminiscent of the late 19th Century.Had Yugoslavia remained whole and …