OPINION

Greece’s role in the Balkans

A new situation has arisen in the Balkans. We may not be happy with it, we may disagree with it, or we may even consider it sad, but Kosovo’s proclamation of independence is a fact. We are, therefore, left with two avenues of action: Either we close our eyes to the event and allow developments to take their course without our contribution, or we decide to carve out a new policy path that takes this new reality into consideration. The former will lead to nothing but a dead end, and the second will be tough. It has many obstacles and we should be wary. But Greece’s foreign policy must be realistic. We must safeguard national interests and carefully – without grandstanding or overreacting – steer developments in the right direction. The countries of the Balkans, Greece included, have experience on their side when dealing with regional matters, something that our friends and allies often lack. Greece can play a significant role in the peaceful coexistence of the Balkan peoples, as long as it acknowledges the new environment in which it is now called upon to operate.