My “od Vardara do Triglava” (ex-Yugoslavia) trip starts here in Brussels, capital of Belgium, but it is also the informal capital of Europe, how symbolic it can be? A well known term I did hear: ” The ” Balkanisation” of Belgium and ” Brusselisation of the Balkans” ….
Tomorrow I will travel to Trieste&Gorizia (Italy), Nova Gorica and finally Bohinj (Slovenia) and Brussels will be already quite far away. The more I travel the more it will be even more far away, but how far? That ‘s the thing I want to discover. Do I travel like the picture at above right? Looking into the unknown ? Of course not, but the picture do precisely show the general attitude of W-Europe towards the Balkans.
It is in Brussels where Europe is being constructed, if we want it or not: it is the today’s reality. All countries I go to visit have ties with Brussels:
–Italy as founding member of European Economic Community (the base for the European Union), part of Schengen and Euro zone;
–Slovenia which became member in 2004, joined the Schengen and the Euro zone in 2007;
–Croatia is a candidate member for the European Union;
–Bosnia-Herzegovina wants to be part of the European Union, but there is a long way to go;
–Montenegro is a candidate member for the European Union;
–Serbia is a candidate member for the European Union;
–Macedonia is a candidate member of the European Union;
–Albania is part of NATO and want to be a candidate member;
–Greece is member since of EU since 1981 and is part of the Schengen and Euro zone.
There is one invisible line which I will cross during this trip and that is the line which is between ” Western” Europe and ” Eastern” Europe, or that part of Europe which saw the ” enlightenment” and those parts which have not seen that: I am talking about the European schism between the Catholic/Protestant and Orthodox world.
Once almost all these countries were “Yugoslavia” (except for Belgium, Italy, Albania and Greece of course), “a unity of diversity” , a country which disappeared in the nineties in such horrible way. Is the European Union also not ” a unity of diversity” ? I believe so and my dear Balkans are part of it…. It is the non-existing country, Yugoslavia, where I walk in tomorrow, but believe me that I will be happy when I am walking into that non existing. country 🙂