Marshall Plan for Balkans?

Chris Burford cburford at
Mon Apr 12 15:23:01 PDT 1999

As well as increasing pressure on NATO to explain how it can win without a sophisticated plan for ground troops, there is also pressure on economic solutions. If NATO is to bome up with a comprehensive military plan it may topple fighting over into other Balkan countries. These must have economic hope.

The Marshall aid plan after the Second World War was to prevent western Europe falling under communist influence. It was also a massive investment for a whole region. Its successor in the Blakans might have postive and negative features.

Maybe the IMF will bank roll it?? Without strings????

Chris Burford


Albania wants Marshall Plan for Balkans

April 11, 1999

TIRANA, Albania (Reuters) -- Albanian President Rexhep Meidani said on Sunday the international community should prepare a massive post-Kosovo aid plan for the Balkans to promote economic growth and democracy in the volatile region.

Meidani, whose impoverished nation has opened its doors to over 300,000 Kosovo Albanians expelled by Serb forces from the disputed province, warned that the region would remain riven by ethnic conflicts unless its economies developed rapidly.

He urged world leaders to contemplate financial assistance on the scale of the U.S. Marshall Plan which helped rebuild Western Europe after World War Two.

"I have a message for European and world organizations: turn your attention to the Balkan peninsula," Meidani told reporters during a visit by Turkish President Suleyman Demirel.

"Consider the possibility of a Marshall Plan for the Balkans to promote rapid economic development of the region which will devalue the old chauvinistic mentalities and make borders symbolic."

Albania, a country of some three million which teetered on the brink of collapse in 1997, has borne the brunt of the exodus from Kosovo, where over half the majority ethnic Albanian population have been displaced in the last 12 months.

The refugee crisis has intensified since NATO began attacking Yugoslav targets in late March over President Slobodan Milosevic's refusal to withdraw troops from Kosovo and allow an international force to protect returning refugees.

Meidani said the Kosovo crisis was not about a conflict between nations or peoples but between barbarism and democracy.

"It is a conflict between the present and the future and I am convinced the future will win because this is in the interest of the Balkans, Europe and humanity in general."

But for peace and stability to last, the international community would have to make a concerted effort to help Balkan states strengthen multilateral economic and political ties, a spokesman for Meidani told Reuters.

This could come up at any international peace conference which followed the end of the fighting in Kosovo.

"It is bound to appear on the agenda, probably with the end of the Kosovo conflict," the spokesman said.

"It has to be considered as a unique project which will support economic and political integration."

NATO Secretary-General Javier Solana has also expressed his support for a comprehensive political and economic strategy for southeastern Europe to give Balkan states an incentive to turn away from ethnic violence.

"Without such a comprehensive approach, we will never get beyond treating the symptoms," Solana said in March, before the Kosovo peace talks failed and NATO began its air campaign.

The European Union could lead the initiative, possibly linked to improvements in civil and minority rights, while NATO would guarantee security.

More information about the lbo-talk mailing list