Milovan Subotić

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University of Defence - Strategic Research Institute, Belgrade



Globalization did not make states unnecessary. On the contrary, in order for people to successfully take advantage of the opportunities offered by international integration, they need a state at both ends of their transactions. Weak, disordered and corrupt states are being avoided as black holes in the global economic system. The modern understanding of power (strength) of the state implies six basic factors on which its strength and authority in the international community are based. Those are: population, territory, economy, armed forces, foreign policy (political adaptability) and national culture. In this paper, modern international relations, the power and influence of each state are defined through elaborated factors which create the pyramid of power of today. The position of small and medium-sized countries is analysed on the example of the EU countries. These countries are trying to have a more significant influence on decision-making process through connection within various subregional groups, such as the Visegrád Group, the Benelux countries, the Baltic states and the like. This, especially on the example of the first group, will prove to be an issue in achieving full compliance of the EU countries, especially regarding the sensitive issues such as a mass migration to Europe. Recently, we have witnessed numerous attempts by the EU members to automatically declare narrow national interests as "European", i.e. to try to "nationalize" the EU foreign policy. This trend has produced various tensions within the EU, both between member states and within the relation of member states with the European Commission, which is the official representative of the common interests of the EU countries. Dissonant characteristics that are present at the EU level, such as economic imbalance, "centre-periphery" issues, and crises of political systems, have negative affect on political systems and economic dynamics of the Western Balkan countries, with a notable increase in Euroscepticism. The unfavourable climate towards the EU enlargement from the EU itself is being transferred to the local levels which have always been a paradigm of intersection of the interests of both state and non-state global actors. During the 1990s, Turkey strongly implemented its presence and influence. Then, 2000s brought the consolidation of Russian influence through economic and investment presence, while the ending decade is marked by China which significantly increased its influence and presence in the region. Almost three decades after the break-up of Yugoslavia, the rest of Europe has been warned that there is a political and economic vacuum in the Balkans’ societies, which could soon turn into a security and political issue. If soon as possible there is no more certain prospect of the EU membership for those countries that are “stuck on the European path”, other players could enter the game more significantly, primarily China, Russia, Turkey and some Arab countries. Concerns that China could use the situation with the current COVID-19 pandemics and expand its political influence in Serbia and the region, are increasingly expressed in the European political circles. The concern is not without reason. The European response has been waited for too long.