When it comes to the Balkan states, the EU still grapples with Tito’s legacy

So who is the most unpopular fan on the terraces of a football match involving two Western Balkan states? The supporter from Bosnia and Herzegovina who shouts: “Give me a ‘B’.

This old joke dates back 20 years when Yugoslavia violently collapsed, and among the most notable impacts for people watching from afar has been the emergence of new international football teams. Nowadays, we hear less about the region comprising the five states that once made up Yugoslavia and which Josip Broz, aka Marshal Tito, kept together until his death in 1980. Add neighboring Albania to make even a half a dozen.

The lack of news from this corner of Europe is partly a good thing, telling us that the painful years of murder and mutilation have ended. We should know from our own experience that latent conflicts not only end, but it is a great help when neighbors stop killing each other.

About Eleanor Blackburn

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