OPINION

Opportunities in the Balkans

Once again, there are changes being made to the map of our neighborhood. The Montenegrins have voted themselves out of their federation with Serbia. Meanwhile, the imminent independence of Kosovo will put paid to whatever was still left of the old Yugoslavia after the bloody wars of the 1990s. Irrespective of the outcome of events, it is fortunate that this time it is politics that has the last word, and not «other means,» as the political philosopher Carl von Clausewitz said. Recent history has taught the people of the Balkans that war is the worst solution. Greece is a special, and substantial, part of this Balkan jigsaw puzzle. It is the only country that belongs to all major Western organizations. It is a member of the European Union – which every state in the Balkans is clamoring to join. Greece has the strongest economy as well as major investments throughout the Balkan peninsula. It is a pillar of stability in the region and, despite some backsliding in the 1990s, it is part of the solution and not part of the problem. Its prominent position allows Greece to play an important role in political developments and creates a number of opportunities in the economic sector. All countries, old and new, need Greek support to enter NATO and the EU. They need our investments to develop their own infrastructure. They need our products to enjoy in their future prosperity. They even need our technological know-how in a number of fields. Greece might be lagging behind other Western countries but in many other ways it is way ahead of all the Balkan states. Upheavals in the Balkans are a thing of the past. The new map provides many opportunities which are not only clear to the government but to the business world.