Why is distrust in institutions alarming for the Balkans? The recent International Republican Institute (IRI) poll on the Western Balkans has revealed some concerning trends for the region’s aspirations of joining the European Union. While the war in Ukraine presented a potential opening, the path to membership appears to be facing significant challenges. 

Nonresident Senior Fellow Ilva Tare is joined by Amila Karačić, Director of Programs of IRI in Bosnia and Herzegovina, who also oversees the Western Balkans regional programs, to discuss the main takeaways of the poll conducted in the six countries. 

Is there evidence that pro-Russian narratives are gaining traction outside of Serbia?

Why are citizens in the Western Balkans less likely to push for political change, despite wanting EU integration? How deep is their distrust in politicians and institutions?

Why does it seem that citizens prefer strongman leaders despite their potential to undermine the path towards the EU? 

Is nationalism a concern in the region? In which country is it most pronounced?


#BalkansDebrief is an online interview series presented by the Atlantic Council’s Europe Center and hosted by journalist Ilva Tare. The program offers a fresh look at the Western Balkans and examines the region’s people, culture, challenges, and opportunities.

Watch #BalkansDebrief on YouTube and listen to it as a Podcast.


The Europe Center promotes leadership, strategies and analysis to ensure a strong, ambitious and forward-looking transatlantic relationship.