Southeast Europe

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Southeastern Europe is a relatively recent political designation for the Balkan states.[1][2] Because of the negative connotations of the term Balkan, writers such as Maria Todorova and Vesna Goldsworthy have suggested the use of the term Southeastern Europe instead.[3] The use of this term is slowly growing; a European Union initiative of 1999 is called the Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe, and the online newspaper Balkan Times renamed itself Southeast European Times in 2003.


The first known usage of the term 'Southeast Europe' was by an Austrian researcher, Johann Georg von Hahn (1811-1869) as broader term than the traditional Balkans.[4] Unlike the United Nations definitions of Eastern Europe, Western Europe, Southern Europe and Northern Europe, there are no clear and universally accepted geographical or historical divisions that delineate this region.[5]

There are four possible definitions of "Southeastern Europe". The 'traditional Balkans' model, which is the Balkan Peninsula south of the River Danube-River Sava-River Kupa line, the European territories of the former Ottoman Empire, and there is a substantially larger space with a northern delineation that respects actual borders, promoted by the European Union from 1999. Finally, there is a European Union co-funded regional development model that adds Austria, the eastern Regions of Italy and south-western Ukraine.

Balkans model

This concept is based on a geographic argument, that is, on the boundaries of the Balkans (which is considered a synonym by the supporters). The members proposed are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Greece, Macedonia, and Montenegro

The geographic definition also includes countries which are significantly located in the peninsula: Croatia (1/2) and Serbia (2/3) and some countries which are located mostly outside the peninsula as defined by the rivers: Slovenia (1/3), Romania (6%) and Turkey (3%).

'Stability pact for Southeastern Europe' model

The Stability Pact for South Eastern Europe was an institution aimed at strengthening peace, democracy, human rights and economy in the countries of South Eastern Europe from 1999-2008. It was replaced by the Regional Co-operation Council in February 2008. The RCC replaced the Stability Pact because it is more "regionally owned" than the SP, which was driven more by outside partners such as the EU. The RCC includes states like Turkey and Ukraine that are outside any reasonable definition of south-eastern Europe (being Asia or Eastern Europe respectively).

The states encompased by the Stability Pact are those in the Balkan group (with all of Serbia and Croatia), plus Bulgaria, Moldova and Romania, but excluding Greece (which would have been a natural member had it not been a member of the EU), and Kosova (another natural member wich was not independent at the time). The countries included were: Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Macedonia, Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, and Serbia.

'Southeast Europe transnational co-operation programme' model

The 'Southeast Europe transnational co-operation programme' "aims to develop transnational partnerships on matters of strategic importance, in order to improve the territorial, economic and social integration process and to contribute to cohesion, stability and competitiveness of the region".[6]

The members include: Albania, Austria, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Republic of Macedonia, Greece, Hungary, Republic of Moldova, Montenegro, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia, and some regions of Italy and Ukraine.[7]


  3. Bideleux, Robert; Ian Jeffries (2007). A history of Eastern Europe. Taylor & Francis. ISBN 9780415366274. 
  4. Hösch, Nehring, Sundhaussen (Hrsg.), Lexikon zur Geschichte Südosteuropas, S. 663, ISBN 3-8252-8270-8
  5. Composition of macro geographical (continental) regions, geographical sub-regions, and selected economic and other groupings United Nations Statistics Division: Standard Country and Area Codes Classifications
  6. About SE Europe TCP
  7. Participating countries of SEETC-OP. Includes map.
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