Lucio CARACCIOLO & Michel KORINMAN
Peace in the former Yugoslavia requires a concerted geopolitical project. Otherwise, what will result at the very best is a state of non-war poised for the slaughter to begin once again. What has been evolving over the past few months is perhaps the premise for a state of non-war, but it is certainly not anything resembling real peace.
American mediation is managing to turn the trenches dug by soldiers into national borders. Today this partition sanctions the emergence of a small Greater Croatia and of an even smaller Greater Serbia (smaller than what the most rabid nationalists had hoped for), while the fate of the Moslem mini-State is entrusted to the Croats. Thus, from the ruins of the former Yugoslavia there have arisen a number of mono-ethnic states and "statelets" (except in the case of Serbia- Montenegro, where a third of the population is allogenous). Ethnic homogeneity may be a prerequisite for there to be an armistice, but it certainly does not augur well for a future of liberty, democracy and development. Rather, what we could very well end up with here is a hotbed for the seeds of newer and even more terrible wars.
It is this conviction that has given rise to the idea of Euroslavia. What we mean by this is a proposal for pacification and development in the post-Yugoslav states and in South-Eastern Europe, based on a sort of geopolitical exchange: the gradual reintegration of the southern Slavs and other peoples of the region, while continuing to respect the established national borders, as a necessary precondition to their integration within Europe.
This is a plan for the medium term which will inevitably come up against the hatred that has accumulated after four years of "ethnic cleansing". But it is the only possibility for real peace because it will act to transform trench-boundaries into European borders. And that means borders open and permeable to the flow of goods, persons and ideas. This would indeed be an enlargement of Europe!
What other alternative is there? A Wall, or rather a series of Walls, in the heart of Bosnia, with some ex-Yugoslavs permanently excluded from Europe and others waiting indefinitely to latch on like a kind of troublesome appendage. For both, the Wall mentality would end up by strangling economic development as well as fostering the growth of hard-line groups and criminal organizations. It would actually provide the fuel for further wars.
The driving idea behind Euroslavia is a geopolitical one, which attempts to reconcile our interests with those of all the states of the former Yugoslavia (and in a larger sense, with South-Eastern Europe, starting with Albania). So what is this project for? Let us first take a look at the advantages for us here in Western Europe.
A) Euroslavia, by stabilizing the Balkans, would also serve to heal the divisions that have arisen in Western Europe over the Yugoslav war. As a player on the international political stage Europe was shown up as a non-entity. Euroslavia would mean the end of the infra-European "Cold War" about the Balkans.
B) If we stop new Walls from being built in the Balkans we will keep Serbia from sliding into the Russian camp. It would not be wise for western Europeans to let Moscow establish a foothold in the biggest state in the region. This is especially true if neo-imperialist factions in Russia manage to gain the upper hand.
C) Euroslavia is meant to help constructing a geopolitical alternative to Maastricht. That treaty is long dead and buried but European governments haven't had the courage to admit it yet. Should the ill will it generated be allowed to float around indefinitely until it ends up by utterly wrecking the prospects for European integration that two generations have laboured to achieve? Euroslavia can help to pull us out of the bog of economicism - or, even worse, monetarism. As things stand nowadays there is hardly any idea more unpopular in Europe than that of Europe. Relations between nations are being influenced by the revival of irrational factors like stereotypes depicting "national characters", and above all an insidious germanophobia. Projects like this can serve to "demonetarize" european issues and make them more accessible to the public precisely because they emphasize the fact of a common destiny. Either we manage to europeanize the Balkans or Europe will itself become balkanised.
But Euroslavia would be in the interests of all the countries and peoples on the far side of the Adriatic as well.
A) Slovenes and Croats stepped out of Yugoslavia four years ago in order to join Europe. But they are still far from achieving this, and they are beginning to realize that the work of integration into Europe is not as easy as it once may have seemed. Above all it means giving up a large measure of their national sovereignty. But it was the question of the sovereignty that they were fighting over in the first place and it was for sovereignty that they suffered important damages, especially the Croats.
Integration also means respecting the patterns of western democracy. Thus the waiting period risks dragging on indefinitely, a situation which might also stir up anti-European feelings. As a matter of fact, we are already seeing the initial symptoms of this.
B) As for Bosnian Moslems partition would mean that they would inevitably come to be dominated by either the Serbs or the Croats. In a Euroslavia they would enjoy the advantages of an integration guaranteed and supported by Europe. Their borders would remain unchanged but they would be open. This would certainly be preferable to a "sovereign" Bosnia-Herzegovina which would in reality amount to nothing more than a Moslem ghetto ever threatened by the military superiority of its neighbours.
C) The hour of reckoning has finally come for the Serbs. They let themselves get dragged into a war of conquest by a group of unscrupulous nationalist leaders - the result of which being that at least half a million Serbs have been forced to flee their homes following an operation of "ethnic cleansing" at their expense. The Serbian economy has been set back at least fifteen years. Euroslavia is the only way for them to make up for the lost ground. It certainly won't be the Slav-Orthodox brotherhood that will save them just as Islamic solidarity will do little for the Moslems of Central Bosnia.
The Project Euroslavia is open to anybody who wishes to contribute. In the next few months, we will be exploring all the components involved in the project humanitarian, economic, political and cultural. In February we will see just how much progress has been made during an international geopolitical conference to be held in Italy. It won't be an easy task. Nevertheless, we are sure that ideas will give way to action, for the sake of real peace and reconstruction in the Balkans.