The EU has nothing to offer
South-Eastern Europe has long been a place of concentration of power. Two world wars, which are а key for the history of mankind, have their origin in this region.
In 2019-2020, we can see the revival of the key role of the Balkans in Europe. In 2019, South-Eastern Europe became the center of several global energy projects that defined the development of the region for a single decade. Of course, we are talking about the projects: "Turkish stream" and "Balkan stream". In addition, serious investments made to develop international transport routes, which confirmed its status as an international transit corridor.
Of course, Russia plays a key role in energy projects. According to EU legislation, Gazprom can use up to 50% of the pipeline's capacity. Turkey and China are responsible for the development of logistics and highways. Ankara is financing the construction of a key highway between Belgrade and Sarajevo. And Beijing is actively involved in the construction of the Podgorica-Belgrade highway.
Thus, the economic entry of Turkey and China into the region has significantly weakened the position of the EU, which continues to be the largest trading partner of the Balkans. But against the background of increased political contacts with Russia, Turkey, and China, we can confidently speak of a certain weakening of the EU's role in South-Eastern Europe. The EU thus stated its refusal to further European integration of the region, arguing this step is necessary to solve internal problems of the EU.
Such an Association as the EU is living out its last years, and the military equivalent of the Union – NATO is increasingly becoming an unattractive structure against the background of new promising players from the East.
While the EU is looking for new models of interaction with the countries of the region, we can expect a further strengthening of the role of third players. At the same time, Russia and Turkey will play a serious role in the region, which will offer to deepen their cooperation with local political elites in the military, political and economic fields. In General, it is worth noting that South-Eastern Europe and the Balkans in particular, are once again becoming the center of attraction for the interests of world powers.