a. The Balkan Peninsula is a cross road connecting three continents, Europe, Africa, and Asia. We would not exaggerate if we say that it is the point where the west and the east meet, marking, at the same time, the boundaries between the poor south and the prosperous north.
b. Complex problems that trouble and, at the same time, threaten Europe, are encountered in this area. Such problems could lead to tensions and, possibly, to the destabilization of the area with unforeseeable results.
c. The end of the Cold War and the disintegration of Yugoslavia resulted in a new international environment in the Balkans, completely different from that of the previous decades. The main characteristics of this new environment are:
(1) First, states with weak economies and weak democratic institutions.
(2) Second, the creation of states whose survival depends on the international community.
(3) And third, the co-existence, in this post Cold War Balkan environment, of trends for stabilization and cooperation perspectives on the one hand, and destabilization problems on the other.