The large Eastern European nation of Yugoslavia stood for most of the 20th century. In the 1990s, it split into six new nations. In some cases, the split was peaceful, but in others, there were conflicts. Most of these wars did not go on very long, but they had clear impacts on the populations of former Yugoslavian countries. These nations have since rebuilt, and there has been a lot of success even in the face of some controversies.
The first country to leave Yugoslavia was Slovenia in 1991, leading to a 10-day war between the new nation and the military. According to reports, the war was not as violent as future conflicts. This fact has been highlighted as one of the possible reasons for the following period of stability in Slovenia. Prior to the Yugoslavian breakup, the region was doing well for itself in terms of economy and international relations. The new nation grew economically and it joined the EU and NATO in 2004. Aside from the odd political dispute, the nation and economy remain strong today. The country is able to assist its poorer citizens directly with social transfers, which is about 12% of them. This is a lower poverty rate than in other former Yugoslavian countries.
Slovenia and Croatia declared independence on the same day, but the war in Croatia lasted for four years. The conflict mostly revolved around the Serbian minority rebelling. Over time, however, the Serbians and Croatians reconciled. By the time Croatia entered the EU in 2013, the animosity was considered to be mostly over. So far, it is unclear whether the country’s coming into the EU will help the 20% of people at risk of poverty. Nonetheless, the nation itself is implementing programs to help its poorer citizens. Croatia’s rich history and landscape have also contributed to the country’s recovery. Its status as a popular tourist destination could also continue to grow the economy, especially in the post-pandemic era. Around 36,000 Croatians work in the tourism industry which welcomes around 15 million tourists.
Bosnia and Herzegovina
Bosnia and Herzegovina was an ethnically diverse country in 1992, with Croats (Catholics), Serbs (Orthodox Christians) and Bosniaks (Muslims) making up most of the population. This was the cause of the post-independence war, which led to around 100,000 deaths and more than 2 million displacements. Following the peace treaty, countries like the U.S. sent foreign service officers to mediate. Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to work with European organizations to ensure the protection of minority rights. The country championed both religious and ethnic diversity. There is still a long way to go as many minorities cannot serve in influential positions, and this makes them unable to advocate for or implement their rights.
In 1998, Albanians in the Kosovo region rebelled for their independence from Serbia. The fighting led NATO to try to broker a peace deal. Kosovo finally declared itself free in 2008, albeit to varied recognition. Even then, conflict with the nation of Serbia continued, as some members of the international community did not recognize Kosovo. This means that Kosovo has not been able to enjoy the benefits of membership. Its citizens can not move freely between the EU, even though many wish to migrate. Talks have recently begun for Kosovo to join the EU. The Council of Europe has also been providing assistance in Kosovo since the war ended and continues to work to help the oppressed.
North Macedonia (formerly Macedonia) was able to secede from Yugoslavia peacefully in 1991. A decade later, Macedonia’s Albanian minority rebelled seeking independence. This rebellion led to the realization of a peace deal. One of the continuing factors is North Macedonia’s rural development. And in 2019, the government made Albanian an official language.
Following Yugoslavia’s breakup, the former nations have made significant strides in rebuilding and achieving stability. Countries like Slovenia have experienced economic growth and international integration, resulting in lower poverty rates. Croatia has overcome past animosities and leveraged its rich history and tourism industry for recovery. Bosnia and Herzegovina continues to work towards protecting minority rights, while North Macedonia has achieved peaceful transitions and recognized the Albanian language. These nations demonstrate resilience and progress despite the challenges faced during the breakup.
– Josh Sobchak