The Balkans in Britain? – BALKAN NEWS MAGAZINE


Will the UK fall apart? Just like Yugoslavia in the 1990’s? It seems highly unlikely, but that was also the case with Tito’s empire. If so, Britain might follow the Czechoslovak example.


The Brexit, scheduled for 2019, is a watershed in modern European history. From 1957, when six countries founded the ECCC, until 2013, when Croatia joined, the EU history was one of steady and ongoing growth. The biggest success was in 2004, when 10 new countries, among which eight former communist states, joined the EU. The Brexit, as unexpected as it initially was, will be the first time that a country will leave the EU.


Will London be the first city to become EU member?


Britain is divided on the question. England and Wales are anti-EU, London and Scotland are pro-EU, Northern Ireland seems to be somewhere in between. Scotland voted in its 2015 referendum to stay within the UK, and thus keep the more the 300-year old ties with England  Following the Brexit, Edinburg might decide to hold a new referendum. If Scotland will leave the UK, it will become a new EU member. London might join, and thus become the first city republic in the EU.


The above scenario may seem quite unlikely. In 1990, however, apart from a few specialists, no one could foresee that Yugoslavia was about to fall apart. Even less could anyone predict that the Bosnian civil war was to become to cruelest war in post-1945 Europe.



Tito held Yugoslavia together for many years


A war about Europe may seem most unlikely in peaceful UK. The ties between England, Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland have held much longer than Yugoslavia, that lasted about five decades. Tito’s empire could only exist because of his brutal dictatorship, that held Serb and Croatian nationalism in control. When he passed away in 1980, it was a matter of time before problems started. The UK is very divided about the EU-question. Tough the matter has never been suppressed by any dictatorship, war is never far away.


The Slovak capital Bratislava is a charming town


If the UK will indeed fall apart, it is much more likely to follow the Czechoslovak example, In 1993 the former communist country fell into two pieces – the Czech republic and Slovakia. Both joined the EU in 2004.

Jan Buruma



Editor in chief Levski Express – for another view on world affairs