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Historically, Greece’s security has been closely tied to Balkan security. Given its location on the periphery of the Balkans, any instability or unrest in the region has direct and important consequences for Greece’s own security. As a result, Greece has been highly sensitive to developments in the Balkans and has been a leading proponent of Balkan cooperation and détente.

The disintegration of Yugoslavia led to a sharp deterioration of Greece’s relations with its Balkan neighbours and its western allies. However, since the mid-1990s Greece has undertaken a major diplomatic effort to improve relations with its Balkan neighbours. This effort has proven remarkably successful. Today, Greece’s relations with the Balkan states are the best they have been in the post-war period.

However, it would be premature to consider the Balkans “fixed.” Indeed, the region may be entering a new phase of growing instability that could thrust it back onto the western policy agenda. Thus Greece could face new challenges in the Balkans in the years ahead.

Reprinted with permission from Southeast European and Black Sea Studies, Volume 5, No. 3, September 2005, pp. 405-425. Copyright © 2005 Taylor & Francis.

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