CEAS New Report - BASIC INSTINCT- Executive Summary, Conclusions and Recommendations

 The Study Basic Instinct – The Case for More NATO in The Western Balkans is a result of a year long research conducted under the CEAS project Continued fulfillment of IPAP Commitments – Stepping closer to NATO, supported by the National Endowment for Democracy (NED) from the USA.

The Study particularly  addresses  four  underlying issues common to all countries of the Western Balkans: incomplete transitional justice processes;  incomplete security sector reforms; constitutionally or otherwise embedded solutions that propel an illiberal politicization of ethnicities; and internationally led or sponsored processes that may serve short-term goals, but are implemented in a way that undermines the separation of powers, strengthening of independent institutions and  decision-making processes in already poorly governed countries of the Region. 

The Study argues  that  those issues could in the end, if not properly addressed, bring the process of the democratization of the Region and its deeper integration into Euro-Atlantic structures to a halt. Furthermore, all these issues create a fertile ground  for non-democratic and hostile hybrid and conventional obstructive actions conducted by state or non-state actors.

The Study’s main conclusion is that NATO should be more relevant than ever when it comes to ensuring strategic stability in  Europe and the Western Balkans, which should be fully integrated into Euro-Atlantic  structures. Bearing in mind the new strategic environment, full integration into these  structures should  be a basic instinct response of all truly liberal and democratic forces in the Region.

The following is stated in the Conclusions and Recommendations section of the Study:  Since all the governments in the Region, elected  through a series of not too irregular,  if not entirely fair election processes, and most of their legitimate oppositions have pledged commitment to their countries’ integration into Euro-Atlantic structures, with most of them expressing the will to become fully fledged EU and NATO members, NATO and its member states can, with full legitimacy,   address all the above-mentioned underlying challenges, and provide incentives and capacities for the reforms that would overcome them.  By admitting Montenegro as the 29th member state, NATO has demonstrated that it is ready to move on in a changed political environment in the Western Balkans faster and bolder than any other global or regional actor. The fact that the newly elected Macedonian government is already looking for ways to  reactivate its NATO membership and its upcoming meeting with the NATO leaders confirm that NATO can and should be the leading actor in a sustained and comprehensive process of stabilization and democratization in the Region….. Societies of the Region are less resilient than EU and NATO member states to newly emerging global threats and hostile hybrid operations  whose scope has been increasing in the Region,  and on the other hand regional cooperation is still insufficient in many relevant areas, primarily in defense and security, therefore NATO  should be  more relevant than ever when it comes to ensuring strategic stability in  Europe and the Western Balkans, which should be fully integrated into Euro-Atlantic structures. Bearing in mind the new strategic environment, full integration into these  structures should  be a basic instinct response of all truly liberal and democratic forces in the Region.

The CEAS is proud to be among NED grantees. This assessment report was made possible with partial funding from the National Endowment for Democracy (NED).The opinions expressed in this publication are those of the authors and do not necessarily reflect the views of the NED.