Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe
234 Ford House Office Building
Washington, D.C. 20515-6460
Hon. Christopher H. Smith, Chairman
Hon. Benjamin L. Cardin, Co-Chairman
Media Contact: Neil Simon
December 8, 2010


WASHINGTON—Senator Benjamin L. Cardin (D-MD), Chairman of the Commission on Security and Cooperation in Europe, and Co-Chairman Congressman Alcee L. Hastings (D-FL), announced today they will hold a hearing:

“The Western Balkans: Developments in 2010 and Hopes for the Future”

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

11:00 a.m.

Room: SVC 202/203 (Capitol Visitor Center)

The countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Croatia, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia have all seen some progress in the last year but continue to face a wide range of challenges to their aspirations for European and Euro-Atlantic integration. These challenges often result from the still incomplete transition to effective democratic governance and adherence to the rule-of-law at home, but they also manifest themselves in inter-state disputes as well as the lingering legacy of the extreme nationalism that brought conflict to the region almost 20 years ago. Developments in 2010 regarding Bosnia and Kosovo, the countries of greatest international concern, have created opportunities for 2011, but the failure to meet expectations could produce additional instability. Meanwhile, the other countries hope to build their momentum moving toward Europe and could face new problems of their own if integration seems an increasingly distant target. This hearing will continue the Helsinki Commission’s ongoing monitoring of developments in the Western Balkans by focusing on the continued U.S. role in working with the European Union and other countries with interests in the region to encourage further progress in the year ahead.

The following witness is scheduled to testify:

- Thomas M. Countryman, Deputy Assistant Secretary for European and Eurasian Affairs, U.S. Department of State