Italy Seeks Higher Profile Role in Western Balkans

In his view, Italy needs to strengthen its political, diplomatic and military presence in the region. He believes Italy has many competitors among both its allies and potential adversaries that are ready to exploit the opportunities offered by the context if they get a chance. 

The common view is that Italy's potential to consolidate its presence in the Western Balkans relies on its historical links to the area and on the moral correctness of the Italian personnel working in the region. 

The CeSPI report argues that Italian diplomats are respected in the Balkans and especially in Serbia and Albania for the empathy that they show toward local interlocutors. 

Andrea Carteny, a professor of history, declared in a recent interview that local people there see Italy not as a dominating country but as a promoter of development. For this reason, Italy is in a position to both improve the region and pursue its own interests at the same time.

The recent troubles between Belgrade and Prishtina and the separatist trends that threaten the unity of Bosnia and Herzegovina have functioned as a catalyst for Italian politicians to claim more space in the Balkans. 

One of the first steps of the new government in this direction was the visit of Italian Foreign Minister Antonio Tajani and Defence Minister Guido Crosetto to Belgrade and Prishtina last November. 

The Italian ministers insisted that their mission was in line with the EU and NATO agenda in the Balkans. But they also announced initiatives that aim to consolidate Italy's own channels of diplomacy. 

The Foreign Minister declared that Italy wants to be a protagonist in the region. He affirmed that he intended to organize a multilateral meeting of the Balkan states in Rome and a...

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