Peace Rank: Balkans and Eastwards

June 14, 2010

The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace. As its mission Visions of Humanity brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century. Now on May Vision of Humanity published its fourth edition of the Global Peace Index (GPI). It has been expanded to rank 149 independent states and updated with the latest-available figures and information for 2008-09.


The index is composed of 23 qualitative and quantitative indicators from respected sources, which combine internal and external factors, such as violent crime, political stability and military expenditure, correlated against a number of social development indicators such as corruption, freedom of the press, respect for human rights and school enrolment rates and relations with neighbouring countries. These indicators were selected by an international panel of academics, business people, philanthropists and members of peace institutions.

Some reservations:

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise
  • The 2010 scores are based information collected mainly information for 2008-2009 so there is some delay

With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen any better global survey.

The Rank

To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings from the Balkans and Eastwards on countries analysed in 2010 report. In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Besides 2010 ranking I show also rankings in 2009, 2008 and 2007 reports to see trend during last years as this may help to track when and how some countries become more or less peaceful. Countries most at peace are ranked first. A lower score indicates a more peaceful country. My source – Vision of Humanity Org, GPI results, full list of 149 countries, methodology and other explanations and scores per country/indicator can be found from here!

Country 2010 2009 2008 2007
Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score Rank Score
New Zealand New Zealand 1 1.188 1 1.202 4 1.350 2 1.363
Iceland Iceland 2 1.212 4 1.225 1 1.176
Japan Japan 3 1.247 7 1.272 5 1.358 5 1.413
Slovenia Slovenia 11 1.358 9 1.322 16 1.491 15 1.539
Croatia Croatia 41 1.707 49 1.741 60 1.926 67 2.030
Romania Romania 45 1.749 31 1.591 24 1.611 26 1.682
Bulgaria Bulgaria 50 1.785 56 1.775 57 1.903 54 1.936
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina 60 1.873 50 1.755 66 1.974 75 2.089
Albania Albania 65 1.925 75 1.925 79 2.044
Moldova Moldova 66 1.938 75 1.925 83 2.091 72 2.059
People's Republic of China China 80 2.034 74 1.921 67 1.981 60 1.980
BrazilBrazil 83 2.048 85 2.022 90 2.168 83 2.173
Republic of MacedoniaMacedonia (FYR) 83 2.048 88 2.039 87 2.119 82 2.170
United StatesUSA 85 2.056 83 2.015 97 2.227 96 2.317
The image “” cannot be displayed, because it contains errors. Montenegro 88 2.060
Serbia Serbia 90 2.071 78 1.951 85 2.110 84 2.181
Ukraine Ukraine 97 2.115 82 2.010 84 2.096 80 2.150
Armenia Armenia 113 2.266
AzerbaijanAzerbaijan 119 2.367 114 2.327 101 2.287 101 2.448
TurkeyTurkey 126 2.420 121 2.389 115 2.403 92 2.272
IndiaIndia 128 2.516 122 2.433 107 2.355 109 2.530
Georgia (country) Georgia 142 2.970
Russia Russia 143 3.013 136 2.750 131 2.777 118 2.903
AfghanistanAfghanistan 147 3.252 143 3.285 137 3.126
Somalia Somalia 148 3.390 142 3.257 139 3.293
Iraq Iraq 149 3.406 144 3.341 140 3.514 121 3.437

Some developments

Central and Eastern Europe remains, on average, the third most peaceful region, after North America. The recent members of the European Union are ranked highest, with Slovenia leading the way in 11th place. Non-EU countries in the Balkans are ranked between 60th and 90th in the 2010 GPI and nations in the Caucasus and Central Asia occupy the lower reaches of the index, as before. Croatia also fared well, with a robust score increase and a rise of eight places to 41st position, amid growing political stability and improved relations with neighbouring countries as it closed in on accession to the EU. Romania’s score also deteriorated sharply and it dropped 14 places in the overall ranking. Particularly large score rises for Russia and Georgia, which were embroiled in conflict in 2008. Serbia and Montenegro were covered earlier as the state and the scores of Serbia does not include Kosovo province as figures from there were not available.


One of the more remarkable findings from the 2010 Global Peace Index is that societies that are highly peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes peaceful also perform exceptionally well in many other ways. The most peaceful societies share the following social structures and attitudes


Well functioning government

Sound business environment

Respectful of human rights and tolerance

Good relations with neighbouring states

High levels of freedom of information

Acceptance of others

High participation rates in primary and secondary education

Low levels of corruption

Equitable sharing of resources.

These qualities act as a facilitator making it easier for people to produce, businesses to sell, entrepreneurs and scientists to innovate and governments to regulate. A detailed review of these qualities is contained in discussion paper.

Monetary value of peace

Peace has also its monetary value in terms of business growth and economic development. The index authors estimate that the total economic impact of an end to violence could have been US$28.2tr between 2006 and 2009. A 25% reduction in global violence would add an annual $1.85tr to the global economy. If an improvement of 25% in global peacefulness could have been achieved in 2009 then this would have unleashed $1.2 trillion in additional economic activity. (Source: Peace, Wealth and Human Potential)

However also war has its monetary value and in short term business – especially inside military-industrial-complex – world the profits from war can be more attracting than those from peace. In my previous article “Peacemaking – How about solving Conflicts too?”. I described situation as follows:

Global military industrial consumption per year is 1.5 trillion U.S. dollars, representing a few percent of GDP and still rising. U.S. share of the cake is about 40% to the current year, 664 billion dollars. This is a good comparison of the UN budget (27 billion), which is a sum of nearly three per cent of its Member States on military expenditure. UN’s “Millennium Development Goals” are dreaming 135 billion per year, this one only a fraction of military spending.

An other comparison (dollars / year): the world’s military spending 1.2 trillion, the OECD Development 106 billion, Peace work 6 billion and 0.6 billion of conflict prevention. The international community is now willing to invest 200 times more to the war than peace. Peace Research, could help prevent conflicts, but development of tools for killing is much more lucrative. Against one peace researcher, is estimated to be more than 1100 researcher for weapon (and their use) developers.

Peace and global challenge

Global challenges, such as climate change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved. The big challenge at global, regional and state level is to strengthen factors – or “drivers” of peace in social structures and attitudes.

Serbia on the road to EU

December 29, 2009

Serbia’s application to join the EU was finally made before X-mas. Early December EU foreign ministers agreed to unblock Serbia’s interim trade agreement, which is part of Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA). Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro have been approved by EU for visa-free travel within the EU Schengen area from January 2010. (More in my article “EU’s visa-freedom dividing Balkans”).

While Serbia’s pro-western government is committed to achieve EU membership same time in Serbia however anti-European feeling is growing and according some long time polls the number of those against cooperation with ICTY (Hague Tribunal) is on the rise again.

EU-Serbia trade has been growing rapidly since 2000 and now the EU is Serbia’s main trading partner. In 2007 exports and imports of goods and services to and from the EU increased to 56% of the country’s total exports and 54% of its total imports, compared with 53% and 49% in 2006. However during 2009 the economical activity between Serbia and Russia has developed significantly and the prospects are even better mainly due the starting implementation of South Stream and other projects related to it.

After visa-liberalization and the free-trade agreements one could ask what is the added value for Serbia (as well for Bosnia-Herzegovina and Montenegro too) to be a EU member state?

Next steps

Sending the application is the easy part of process, the real work for next 4-10 years is only beginning. The application will be placed on the agenda of the EU Council of Ministers. If it gets the approval of the ministers of all 27 EU member states, it will be forwarded to the European Commission, which will then send Serbia a questionnaire with 1000-4500 questions. dealing with all institutions and sectors. Based on the answers, the European Commission will report on the situation in the country which has applied. And then are starting negotiations where some 80.000 pages of EU regulations are applied to candidate country’s legislation.

During negotiations EU will open different chapters related e.g. trade, energy, internal affairs, food safety, citizen rights etc; EU also can stop opening chapters because of whatever political reasons. This kind of issues can be e.g. cooperation with Hague and Kosovo question.

And the neighbours

Croatia in 2009, with the country now entering its final phase of negotiations. In addition to agreeing on a financial package (see first story), the Council decided to set up a working group to draft an accession treaty. In relation to the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, the Council noted the Commission’s recommendation to begin negotiations and agreed to return to the issue under the Spanish Presidency. Ministers were “encouraged” by recent positive developments between Skopje and Athens on the dispute over the use of the name “Macedonia”.

Montenegro presented the completed questionnaire to Commission on early December. Based on the Commission’s Opinion the Council will have to decide whether the country is ready to be granted candidate status or open membership negotiations. Montenegro applied to join the EU in December 2008 and the Council formally asked the Commission to prepare an opinion on the application four months later.

On 16 December it was Albania’s turn to receive a pre-accession questionnaire.

On Bosnia and Herzegovina, the Council reiterated its position that membership negotiations could not begin until the Office of the High Representative has been closed and replaced with a reinforced EU presence. It called on the country to “urgently speed up key reforms” and stressed the need for “a shared vision of the common future of the country by its leadership, and the political will to meet European integration requirements”.

EC can be also freeze the process if there is some unfinished border dispute with candidate country. Montenegro’s way with towards EU seems clear but it is hard to believe that Serbia and EC will soon agree which are the borders of Serbia – are they including Kosovo or not? After all the refined negotiation process however the climax will be political one – EU can take new members with any criteria and lower standards like it was case with Bulgaria and Romania.

I have no doubt that both Montenegro and Serbia can and will give satisfactory answers to EC questionnaire and have good ability to fulfill (pre) conditions. Both countries have so good administrative capacity that they can match all criteria needed for membership. Serbia has already prepared a document “National Programme for Integration of Serbia into EU(NPI) which with its 900 pages describes the integration activities of different sectors..

Serbia has demonstrated its commitment to moving closer to the EU by building up a track record in implementing the provisions of the Interim Agreement with the EU and by undertaking key reforms. On 14 October 2009 the Commission adopted its annual strategy document explaining its policy on EU enlargement.

More about EU Commission’s country conclusions in my article “West Balkans soon ready for EU – at least part of it” .

My point of view

My estimation still is that there will be some grey area between non- and full EU membership. During next few years Turkey will come an energy hub through implementation of Blue Stream pipeline from Russia and South Stream, possible implementation of Nabucco and planned import of gas from Iraq and Iran. So in energy game Turkey will have some aces; if not membership EU must offer very attractive “third way” solution for Turkey, why not do the same with some states of the Western Balkans if needed.

Serbia’s position is a bit similar due the South Stream project which is going ahead in comparison with Nabucco, even faster than in my earlier estimation few months ago. Nabucco has got more problems with energy supply sources when Azerbaijan on December decided to sell bigger share of its gas to Russia and new gas pipe from Turkmenistan to China is progressing fast.

All Balkan countries have their own development paths – some countries are going to join fast to EU (Croatia), some are going to do it later (Macedonia, Albania), some are maybe looking alliances from other directions (Serbia), Kosovo will be international protectorate also next decade; Bosnia will totter between breakup, federation/confederation, state, protectorate depending inner politics and exterior influences.

From my point of view Serbia should think if joining to EU is worth of time, money and bureaucracy it demands. Visa arrangements, free trade and some EU programs are possible also for non-members. However I think that at this moment it would be good idea to continue EU process but not because of fulfilling EU needs. The motivation should be the needs of the beneficiaries aka Serbs not EU elite in Brussels. Also from my point of view Serbia should not put all eggs in the same basket; economical cooperation with Russia and other BRIC countries can create real development on the ground instead slow development on the EU’s negotiation tables.

Kosovo – an captured independence

November 26, 2009

Free movement is one fundamental human rights not only in one’s own country but also abroad. While speaking about Balkans I earlier have highlighted (e.g. “Forgotten Refugees – West Balkans“) the situation of Serb refugees or IDPs (Internally Displaced Persons) who can not return to their original homes in Croatia, Bosnia-Herzegovina or Kosovo. The fear is restricting also movement of Serbs living behind barbed wire in Kosovo enclaves. Besides refugees and IDPs also ordinary citizens can have restricted movement depending which passport they hold.
Visa restrictions play an important role in controlling the movement of foreign nationals across borders. They are also an expression of the relationships between individual nations, and generally reflect the relations and status of a country within the international community of nations.

Now a discussion paper made by European Stability Initiative (ESI) poppet to my eyes describing visa regulations in Kosovo with quite surprising outcome – people from all ethnic groups living in province can go visa free only to five countries while even people with Afghanistan passport (ranked as country which has the least travel freedom in the world) can go to 22 countries visa free. And this happens in Europe, in region which is on the road to EU membership, in province where EU has squandered billions of Euro to build international standards.


On the table below I have collected data from Henley & Partners ‘Visa Restriction Index’ 2008. I included rankings of top and lowest three ranks, ranks of Balkan and BRIC countries. From ESI paper I added Kosovo province (Kosovo is part of Serbia according UNSC resolution 1244/99, the current status can be described as international protectorate).

Rank Passport of country Visa free access no
1 Denmark 157
2 Finland, Ireland, Portugal 156
3 Belgium, Germany, Sweden, USA 155
14 Slovenia 139
23 Brazil 122
25 Bulgaria 116
26 Romania 115
29 Croatia 108
53 Russia 60
62 Serbia, Montenegro 50
72 Bosnia-Herzegovina 40
75 India 37
76 Albania 36
79 China 33
87 Iran 25
88 Iraq 23
89 Afghanistan 22
90 Kosovo 5

In February 2008 Kosovo declared independence. France was the first EU member state to recognize the new state, followed by Germany, Great Britain, and all but five other EU member states (Cyprus, Greece, Romania, Slovakia and Spain). The new Kosovo passport, first issued by the Kosovo Government in July 2008, is currently one of the least useful travel documents ever designed. Its holders can travel to only 5 countries visa free: neighbouring Albania, Montenegro and Macedonia, Turkey, and Haiti.

Latest developments

In my earlier article “EU’s visa freedom dividing Balkans” I described how “European perspective” is applied different ways in West Balkans. Briefly of the five regional states involved in the visa-liberalisation process, Serbia, Macedonia, and Montenegro have been approved for visa-free travel within the EU, as of January 2010. Bosnia and Herzegovina and Albania have been told that they might receive EU visa-free status later. Kosovo, on the other hand, has not been included in the process, as five of the 27 members of the EU have not recognised Kosovo’s independence.

In December 2008 the EU dispatched a Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) to Kosovo. It currently fields more than 1,622 EU and 1,021 local staff (total: 2,643). With an annual budget of over Euro 200 million it is the biggest EU mission of its kind ever launched. Its objective is to assist the development of Kosovo’s security and judicial institutions.
Schengen process, unilateral declaration of independence and EULEX raised expectations among Kosovo Albanians. However after civil war and these events Kosovo anyway remains one of the most isolated places on earth. While looking backwards the near history of region the change is quite drastic – some 20 years ago citizens of Yugoslavia could travel relatively free anywhere.
In August 2008 Serbia started issuing biometric passports, an EU roadmap requirement. A lucky 7,141 Kosovars received one. But in 2009 the European Commission asked Serbia to stop the issuance to Kosovars until a specific ‘Coordination Directorate’ at the Ministry of the Interior in Belgrade would be set up as the only body authorised to provide Kosovo residents with passports. Since the issuing authority is always mentioned in passports, this would make the passports of Kosovo residents distinguishable – and exclude their holders from visa free travel. In June 2009 Serbia thus stopped issuing biometric passports to Kosovo residents (including Kosovo Serbs).

Today’s outcome is the Commission proposal to add Kosovo to the Schengen ‘Black List’ as a territory on whose status the EU cannot yet agree (i.e. under UN Security Council resolution 1244), next to the Palestinian Authority and Taiwan. And the Commission did not even mention the possibility of a visa liberalisation process for Kosovo.

More from my main source ESI document.

Some other peculiarities

The wording of the European Commission proposal of 15 July 2009 stresses that visa free travel for Kosovars constitutes an overwhelming security risk. In the words of the Commission:

Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/99 shall be added to Annex I of Regulation so that persons residing in Kosovo shall be submitted to the visa requirement. This proposal is motivated exclusively by objectively determined security concerns regarding in particular the potential for illegal migration stemming from and transiting through Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/1999. This is without prejudice to the current status of Kosovo under UNSCR 1244/1999.

This ‘security risk’ idea, supported by some influential member states, would explain the Commission’s insistence on withholding visa free travel even from those Kosovo citizens equipped with new biometric Serbian passports – as opposed to withholding it from holders of Serbian biometric passports from any other country in the world (such as Bosnia and Herzegovina).
One other peculiarity related to country status visa freedom connection is the case of Taiwan. At this very moment, a serious visa dialogue between the European Commission and the Republic of Taiwan is under way. Taiwan has not been recognized by so much as a single EU member state. And yet, this is not seen as an obstacle. In mentioned Henley & Partners ‘Visa Restriction Index’ 2008 Taiwan has rank 54 and county’s passport holders can travel visa free to 59 countries.

Bosnia-Herzegovina is another strange example in Balkans. While most Bosnian Croats already have Croatian passports (with access to 108 countries) and since Republika Srpska residents can apply for and obtain Serbian passports (with access to 50 countries now and more 2010 after White list implementation), the Bosniaks with passport of Bosnia-Herzegovina can travel visa free only to 40 countries and will so far stay in Black list.

In Europe Pridnestrovie – aka Transnistria aka Pridnestrovskaia Moldavskaia Respublica (PMR) – may be a country which passport has less use abroad than Kosovo passport as no country has recognised its independence. The region has practically been independent – if not recognized – state already over 17 years. Transdnistria has all statehood elements, more developed than e.g. Kosovo’s, its economy is relatively good with export to over 100 countries and it can manage without UN seat. The bright side of story is the fact that people living in Pridnestrovie however can use their Russian or Moldovan passports for travels abroad. More about Kosovo-Pridnestrovie comparison one may find from my article “Transnistria follow-up”.

Bottom line

In my earlier article “EU’s visa freedom dividing Balkans” I concluded following:

There is also well based arguments that the EU is isolating three mainly Muslim European states/regions – Albania, BiH and Kosovo – and Turkey as some in the EU fear the presence of such a large, Muslim community inside traditionally Christian Europe. Of course EU denies political aspects and highlights only the technical ones but from Balkan perspective the impression can differ.

Visa restrictions also are reflecting the political situation of the time e.g. some 20 years ago citizens of Yugoslavia could travel relatively free, but the breakup wars changed situation completely.

In Bosnia-Herzegovina the EU’s message now weakens already non-existent national identity and opposes EU’s earlier multi-ethnic ideals. In Kosovo some NGOs send a letter to EU where they state that Kosovo`s exclusion from the visa-liberalisation process threatens to transform Kosovo “into a ghetto without any way out”.
EU and international community have guided and supervised these regions towards “European standards”. So has EU failed with this task as those countries without outside supervision are getting visa-freedom earlier?

Sources of this article:

ESI Discussion Paper: Isolating Kosovo? Kosovo vs Afghanistan 5:22

European Stability Initiative (ESI) is a non-profit research and policy institute, created in recognition of the need for independent, in-depth analysis of the complex issues involved in promoting stability and prosperity in Europe. ESI was founded in June 1999 by a multi-national group of practitioners and analysts with extensive experience in the regions it studied.

Henley & Partners has analyzed the visa regulations of all the countries and territories in the world. It has created an index which ranks countries according to the visa-free access its citizens enjoy to other countries.

My earlier article Visa rank and the western Balkans

Global Peace Rank – Balkans & Black Sea

June 14, 2009

The results of the Global Peace Index for 2009 suggest that the world has become slightly less peaceful in the past year, which appears to reflect the intensification of violent conflict in some countries and the effects of both the rapidly rising food and fuel prices early in 2008 and the dramatic global economic downturn in the final quarter of the year. Total 144 countries was analysed in 2009.


The Global Peace Index (GPI) is implemented by organization called Vision of Humanity, which groups together a number of interrelated initiatives focused on global peace.  As its mission Visions of Humanity Org.brings a strategic approach to raising the world’s attention and awareness around the importance of peacefulness to humanity’s survival in the 21st century.


Twenty-three indicators of the existence or absence of peace were chosen by the panel of experts, which are divided into three broad categories: measures of ongoing domestic and international conflict, measures of safety and security in society and measures of militarization. Measures of ongoing conflicts include e.g. number of external and internal conflicts, estimated number of deaths from organized conflict (external/internal), level of organized conflict (internal) and relations with neighbouring countries.

Some reservations:

  • Vision of humanity, its expert panel and GPI are representing mainly western methodology, approach and values
  • GPI is based to data available of different indicators and as such a compromise

With these reservations I however find GPI both interesting and useful and anyway I haven’t seen  any better global survey.

The Rank

To the table below I have collected the GPI rankings for the Balkans and Black Sea region countries analysed in 2009.  In addition I have included to table also top-3 and worst-3 countries, the BRIC countries and USA. Rankings for the mentioned countries analysed in 2007 are also included for comparison. Countries most at peace are ranked first. A lower score indicates a more peaceful country. 








New Zealand






























Bosnia and Herzegovina








































United States of America




























































Some developments in Balkans and Black Sea region

If compared the developments between 2007 and 2009 few highlights could be mentioned:

  • Slovenia is rising also in this research to global top-level – from place 15 to place 9 close to traditionally peaceful Nordic countries and outstriping most of sc “Western democracies” and the rest of world
  • Croatia has improved its index from 67 to 49, amasing 18 places
  • It seems that the civilicised border dispute between Slovenia and Croatia doesn’t have any effect in GPI ranking
  • The rise of Bosnia-Herzegovina is one of the bigest in GPI and is partly explained via UNCHR statistics about improved situation of displaced persons.  The other sources – as recent U.S. Intelligence report – are not so optimistic and also I have earlier been worrying e.g. about rising radical Islam in BiH
  • Moldova and Ukraine have a bit too high ranking (75 and 82) from my point of view if compared to e.g. Georgia (134).  While conflict in Transdnistria still stays in frozen stage the events during last election are sign about latent tensions.  Ethnic tensions and coming Presidential elections are already making situation in Ukraine unstabil.

Peaceful Societies?

Peaceful societies are characterized as countries with the Following:

Social Structures

  • Well functioning governments
  • Good relations with regional neighbors
  • Low levels of corruption
  • High enrolment rates in primary education
  • Freedom of the pressRespect for human rights

Social Attitudes

  • Do not see their cultures as superior to others
  • Place a high value on tolerance
  • Believe in free speech and respect human rights
  • Believe military action should be limited and internationally sanctioned

The Drivers of Peace and Violence

As separate analysis a further statistical analysis was conducted to understand better the structure of peace. As causes of peace the rechearcers studied some 40 different potential factors – or “drivers” of peace and some notable findings were following:

Drivers of Peace:

  • Functioning of government
  • Freedom of the press
  • Extent of regional integration
  • Primary school enrolment ratio
  • Life expectancy
  • Women in parliament

Drivers of Violence:

  • Importance of religion in national life
  • GPD per capita
  • Hostility to foreigners /private property
  • Electoral process

Statistical approach shows some suprising phenomen such as free and fair elections can increase the likelihood of violence.  The researchers explain this to be possible if a well functioning government is lacking and the drivers of peace are absent.

Second surprise to me at least was a finding that for some nations a high GPD income provides the state with the tools of conflict such as weapons, large security apparatuses and military forces. However if the economic indicators of nation’s wealth are relatively evenly distributed, e.g. through educations and health, the society will be more peaceful.

More about peace/violence drivers in GPI DiscussionPaper.

Peace and global challenge

Global challenges, such as clima change, decreasing biodiversity, lack of fresh water and overpopulation, call for global solutions and these solutions will require co-operation on a global scale unparalleled in history. Peace is the essential prerequisite because without it the level of needed co-operation, inclusiveness and social equity necessary to solve these challenges will not be achieved.

Global Trends 2025

November 22, 2008

I just took a glance at very interesting new report published on 21st November 2008 by the United States National Intelligence Council – Washington’s main intelligence body.  The report, Global Trends 2025: A World Transformed, is published every four years to give U.S. leaders insight into looming problems and opportunities. This agency of agencies, formed in 1979, brings together analysis from each of America’s multiple intelligence organizations to develop mid- to long-term strategic thinking for the country’s security community.


Here only few highlights of this 120 pages analysis:

  • The whole international system—as constructed following WWII—will be revolutionized. Not only will new players—Brazil, Russia, India and China— have a seat at the international high table, they will bring new stakes and rules of the game.
  • “Europe by 2025 will have made slow progress toward achieving the vision of current leaders and elites: a cohesive, integrated, and influential global actor,” but not be a major military player. The European Union will be a “hobbled giant” crippled by internal bickering and a eurosceptic citizenry.
  • “Europe will remain heavily dependent on Russia for energy in 2025, despite efforts to promote energy efficiency and renewable energy and lower greenhouse gas emissions.”
  • “Crime could be the gravest threat inside Europe as Eurasian transnational organisations – flush from involvement in energy and mineral concerns – become more powerful and broaden their scope.”
  • By 2025 “One or more governments in eastern or central Europe could fall prey to their domination,” the authors believe about Eastern European organised crime.

(The full report can be downloaded from

My view

Intelligence Services do not have very high respect in my mind, but this report anyway has some noteworthy observations or views for further consideration.

The future of EU can very well be like forecasted in report – big economic and weak military player on globe suffering same time from gap between EU (eurosceptic) citizens and EU bureaucracy. I personally think that EU structure will develop in circles. First there is a core around old big players France-Germany, second circle will be the rest EU member states who have strong national interests or exceptions to core’s politics, third circle would be EU’s cooperation neighbours under Northern or Mediterranean dimension (including e.g. Turkey which EU probably can not absorb as member state) and forth circle will be the rest of he world with different cooperation schemes (Partnership agreement with Russia, transatlantic cooperation with USA etc).

The picture of EU’s energy dependency on Russia is surprisingly realistic having in mind EU’s ambitious “Supergrid” plan published mid-November 2008 and US’s and EU’s recent marketing for “southern energy corridor” – Nabucco-line.(More in my article “Powergame in EU-Russia summit” on 14.11.2008 in my Archives:Blog).

Organized crime indeed can be also big thread and my bet is, that Kosovo – if regarded as a state – has good change be first “captured” state; the local government already is leaded by drug lords and crime tribes in the centre of Balkan route.

More my views over Balkans and Caucasus one may find from my Archives:Blog

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While EU is blocking Serbia BRIC could be an good alternative

September 18, 2008

The Netherlands held fast to its opposition Monday 15th to closer ties between the European Union and Serbia blocking of the implementation of the Temporary Agreement. Dutch Foreign Minister Maxime Verhagen said his country would continue to block a pre-membership accord with Serbia until it had met the Netherlands’ definition of “full cooperation” with the war crimes tribunal in The Hague, Netherlands. However Serbia – and maybe Macedonia too – can have an attractive alternative to alliance with stagnated EU or to strategic short-sightedness of Washington. Good future could be with BRIC.


BRIC is an acronym for the economies of Brazil, Russia, India and China combined. The general consensus is that the term was first prominently used in a Goldman Sachs (investment bank) report from 2003, which speculated that by 2050 these four economies would be wealthier than most of the current major economic powers. The BRIC thesis posits that China and India will become the world’s dominant suppliers of manufactured goods and services, respectively, while Brazil and Russia will become similarly dominant as suppliers of raw materials. It’s important to note that the Goldman Sachs thesis isn’t that these countries are a political alliance (like the European Union) or a formal trading association – but they have the potential to form a powerful economic bloc.

Investing in the BRIC economies has been on the rise as increased economic globalization creates higher levels of world trade and commerce. Brazil, Russia, India and China have had strong growth in gross domestic product (GDP) over the past few decades, with recent rates much higher than those found in the United States and the Eurozone.

There are strong indications that the “four BRIC countries have been seeking to form a political club” or “alliance”, and thereby converting “their growing economic power into greater geopolitical clout”. One of the recent indications was from a BRIC Summit meeting in 2008, in Yekaterinburg, Russia.

Serbia’s choice

Serbia’s road towards its full European integration is likely to remain filled with considerable roadblocks. Now it is ICTY cooperation but big question will if Serbia is going to EU with or without Kosovo. Other obstacles can occur on the way. In any case EU is not miraculous power which brings economic and other development with membership status immediately.

While Serbia should not close the door to the EU it could parallel with the idea of a European prospective search a couple of other alternatives.

Looking strategic alliance with BRIC countries is realistic having in mind that none of them has recognized Kosovo’s independence. Therefore at political level cooperation with BRIC has better base than starting cooperation with countries that first bombed Serbia and after against agreements and international law are trying to amputate one part away from it.

Besides increasing cooperation with BRIC Serbia can develop her society from individual needs and priorities – not because of EU. Capacity building for better administration, removing obstacles and bottlenecks of SMEs, increasing transparency of public affairs, development rule & law sectors and democratic processes – all can be done without EU guidance.

One direction to concentrate is Serb Diaspora which only in North America is size about 2.5 million while it is in German speaking Europe about 1.1 million. This Diaspora creates a great opportunity to wide markets in these regions, they offer a considerable network and also a potential for “foreign” investments in Serbia.

Bottom line

World is much more than only European perspective, new potential can be found inside and outside of Serbia and West is only one of many directions.

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