Marko Kovačević

Assistant Professor, University of Belgrade



Marko Kovačević is an Assistant Professor at the University of Belgrade, Faculty of Political Science. He earned his PhD in International and European Studies, with the dissertation on identity-role construction in the foreign and security policies of small states at the United Nations. His research interests concern IR theory, international security studies and foreign policy analysis–with the focus on comparative regionalisms, state building and various forms of state agency and practices within the UN system. Most recently, his articles have been published in Journal of International Relations and Development, Journal of Intervention and State building, Journal of Contemporary European Studies and Third World Thematics: A TWQ Journal. He is a co-editor of Journal of Regional Security and member of ISA, ACUNS, EISA, ECPR and CEEISA.

Title of Presentation

Assessing the viability of small state strategies in the context of the war in Ukraine: a view from the Western Balkans
My paper will theoretically explore the implications of the war in Ukraine after Russia’s military invasion of 2022 for the viability of small - state strategies in the Western Balkans. It seeks to conceptualize the relevant small states’ responses to the multiple and intersecting crises of security, economy, and society that spread in Europe. To that aim, I will build upon the Marginality Constellations framework to explain the co - effects of competing for geopolitical presences and role expectations in a small state region still not integrated into the EU under a protracted perspective of membership. The war between Russia and Ukraine is conceptualized as a context - determining and structuring external shock that I argue, is most likely to shift and shape the roles and preferences of “would - be insider” small states in Europe from neutrality and hedging to alliance - shelter seeking. My paper shows that underlying marginality constellation (MC) can enable and constrain small - state strategy depending on its character. Although MC may shape favorably the initial policy responses of small states, as the war goes on, the role expectations now seem more demanding for those states that prefer divergent hedging strategies instead of alliance shelter - seeking, such as Serbia. Finally, the paper engages with the extant small state ʻdilemmas’ and concepts such as autonomy, integration, neutrality, alliances, and polarity.
Publications from the Author