“The future of the Balkans looks far brighter today than many would have predicted two decades ago.

The Balkan wars left more than 100,000 dead and caused millions to flee their homes. The region’s economies lay in ruins, and many of our best and brightest left in droves to seek a better future elsewhere. Political leaders from opposing sides did not trust each other, and had no real vision for the future.

As a young man at the time, I did not see what could be gained from collaborating across the divide. But I know now that my country paid a high price for nationalist excesses.

The situation today shows that barriers can be broken with enough common will. Relations between the region’s countries have transformed dramatically over the past decade.” (Politico)