The paper investigates the patterns of securitization within and from the perspective of the Western Balkan countries, in the light of the external influences on the regional security. The ongoing migrant/refugee crisis, particularly at its peak during 2015 and 2016, is analyzed as an indicative case of the multilevel context for the dominant political discourse in the region. The countries most directly involved in the ‘Balkan route’ provided responses that differed in the extent of (de)securitization. The governments were exposed to incentives and pressures from different levels. Within this analytical framework, the argument proceeds in three stages. First, security studies and the securitization theory are assessed in the light of their embeddedness in the Western context and applicability in different political and social environments. Second, the attempt is made to classify the specificities of the Western Balkan region with reference to the concept of securitization – cultural, (geo)political and economic context, as well as the underlying socio-political processes that carry the transformation of the region’s societies. The third part brings the overview of the context in which the migrant/refugee crisis has reached its peak, in 2015 and 2016. The crisis’ uniqueness and historically unprecedented nature pushed the challenge beyond the traditionally expected regional threats, such as the inter-ethnic conflict, power projections, or imminent economic crises. This, in turn, opened new possibilities for the external impact. Accordingly, the key argument is that the Western Balkan governments’ discourse and the approach to security were convergent with the stances taken by the EU, which eventually provided crucial incentives for political cooperation. The article concludes by proposing four sets of research caveats for the securitization studies in the Western Balkans – pertaining respectively to the region’s socio-political, geopolitical and the international-political characteristics.
Tomic, Djordje N.
"Western Balkan security and the European Union: taming securitization on the fringe of Europe,"
The Journal of International Relations, Peace Studies, and Development: Vol. 3:
1, Article 9.
Available at: https://scholarworks.arcadia.edu/agsjournal/vol3/iss1/9