In this forecast:
This quarter also will see frantic moves by Central European countries — as well as some former Soviet states — to accelerate the qualification process for EU and NATO membership. There is a sense that events are moving quickly and in an unpredictable direction, both because Russia's current pro-Western slant threatens to leave them sidelined and because of U.S.-European tensions. Therefore, there is pressure to get in while the door is still open. The United States will encourage greater inclusion, since it is anxious to spread its capabilities over southeastern Europe to the Black Sea.
The Balkans will continue to be a thorn in Europe's flank. Small conflicts will keep Macedonia fragile, and the debate over the future of the Yugoslav federation will be heated. Continued theatrics by former Yugoslav president Slobodan Milosevic in The Hague and further extraditions will have current President Vojislav Kostunica and Serbian Prime Minister Zoran Djindjic vying for the hearts and minds of common Serbs in Yugoslavia while blaming each other for kowtowing to the West. Debate over the proposed new entity of Serbia and Montenegro will provide the backdrop for a more direct confrontation between the two leaders, though resolution on the country's future and on Serbia's future leader will not occur before June.