German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas will visit Bosnia and Herzegovina (BiH) today.
As of late, the EU has increased its economic influence in the Western Balkans. The bloc signed off on a $10.7 billion investment plan in October last year and has dispensed $83 million for vaccine distribution in the region. Germany has underscored its support for Balkan integration with the nomination of former German MP Christian Schmidt to the Office of the High Representative for BiH, which is charged with upholding the Dayton Peace Agreement.
The Western Balkans is currently experiencing a struggle for regional influence between the EU and Russia, as both hope to utilise the crucial energy corridors to their own advantage. As BiH is riddled with corruption under kleptocratic rule, Germany’s mission to restore stability to the country will likely be difficult as a departure from democratic norms precludes extensive EU support. Moscow may seek to undermine the EU position in the region by voting against the extension of the UN mandate in BiH when it is reviewed by the Security Council in November. However, renewed support from the Biden administration in the medium-term may help to counter Russian influence and bring the Western Balkans comfortably into the EU’s sphere.
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Ali is a Copy-Editor and Analyst on Daily Brief team, contributing regularly to the Daily Brief. He also leads the Foreign Brief Week in Review multimedia team. He focuses on political and development issues in the Middle East and North Africa.