“New” EU Member States’ National Security Priorities

Publication type Article
Status Published
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Moscow, Russian Federation
Affiliation: Primakov National Research Institute of World Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences (IMEMO)
Address: Russian Federation, Moscow, Russian Federation
Journal nameMirovaia ekonomika i mezhdunarodnye otnosheniia
EditionVolume 62 Issue 10

Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia have entered the European Union on its latest enlargement waves, and also share several specific features such as a relatively short period of existence as independent nationstates, the Communist past and short experience of democratic development. These commonalities unite them under the name “new EU member states”. The article analyzes their key national priorities in the security field. The authors come to a conclusion that for Bulgaria and Romania, main security concerns are connected to domestic issues such as fundamental economic problems, poverty of the population, high corruption level, and demographic problems. In Croatia, in its turn, both the government and population share an understanding that main security threats come from outside of the country, namely from the neighboring Western Balkan republics, where the process of nation-state building has not been completed and a fragile stabilization through the process of Euro-Atlantic integration can be interrupted by the outburst of violence which can involve Croatia. One of the main concerns for Croatia is the situation of Croatian population in Bosnia and Herzegovina. According to the National Security strategies, Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia have delegated their security guarantees to external actors, namely to NATO and the EU, after they had become full members of both organizations. They demonstrate solidarity with the approach of these organizations to transnational threats such as illegal migration, international terrorism, WMD proliferation and organized crime. The Ukrainian crisis has raised concerns in Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia about possible hostile Russian behavior and intensified their relations with the U.S. –  a traditional partner for all three states in the security field. The authors describe the role of the United States in military planning and modernization of defence capabilities of Bulgaria, Romania and Croatia and come to a conclusion that this special bond as well as shared Atlantism make the three countries strong supporters of the idea that the development of the European autonomous defence potential should by no means duplicate or question the role of NATO.


Keywordsnational security, new EU member states, Bulgaria, Romania, Croatia, European Union, NATO.
Publication date15.11.2018
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