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ITALIAN FATIGUE TO REENGAGE BALKAN
Traineeship Program Participant
After the Second World War, Italy lost its “near abroad” and had to retreat to the heart core of the Italian peninsula. At the end of the 1980s and the beginning of the 1990s, Italy made a last attempt to enter its security space in Balkan and North Africa before the aging of the population and the European propaganda would have made the post-historical mind of Italians completely out of the strategic view. In 1991, relevant economic support was given to Yugoslavia’s government infrastructure before Germany would have punished Italy for having stood up for Belgrade.
The Italian public opinion, seduced by the American propaganda and instrumental use of human rights, was favourable to the fall of a “despotic regime,” frustrating all the efforts made by Italy to keep Yugoslavia alive. As a tragic epilogue of the 9 of April of 1999, during the NATO operation against Yugoslavia, Italy bombed the Zastava car fabric of Kragujevac property of FIAT. The penetration in the Balkans for Italy would be possible just by accepting to face the inevitable retaliation of Berlin, in which the Teutonic industry is responsible for a part of the wealth of the country’s north.
The lack of an Italian strategy in the Balkans is caused by the post-historical mentality of the population and the unavailability to suffer and sacrifice material benefits for national security and prestige. The country’s priority is orientated to an economic view despite the threat that other countries available to the use of violence may use against Italy. Moreover, the Italian political class ran into a crisis caused by an incident among power groups, the so-called “Tangentopoli,” culminating in creating a new political class, more economistic and representative of the senility of the citizenry.
The Italian collaboration with the Balkan could never return to the level of the early 90s. Still, the current government under Meloni, at least on paper, pursues to be more active after a year of complete disengagement from the near abroad, enhancing the presence of Italian companies on the field or the infrastructure. Italy has a role in building the metropolitan line of Belgrade and has a relevant number of activities in the assurance and bank area.
Italy always needs to behave with a low profile if it doesn’t want to create an adverse reaction from France, Germany, or the US. In the Balkan region, Germany’s strategies characterized by destabilization and influence expansion significantly marginalize nations like Italy, which predominantly employ entrepreneurial methodologies.
In summary, Italy’s ostensibly passive stance since the 1990s can be contextualized within the larger geopolitical landscape shaped by Germany’s aggressive and destabilizing tactics in the Balkan region post-Cold War. A potential avenue for stability could be a collaborative engagement between Italy and Turkey in the Balkans, serving as counterbalancing forces.
Map from: https://www.limesonline.com/cartaceo/cosi-litalia-ha-perso-il-suo-estero-vicino
The map was included in the commentary to show where the Zastava factory is located.