Southeast Europe Countries

By | February 15, 2021

Definition of Southeast Europe

Southeastern Europe refers to the countries in southeastern Europe, although the delimitation varies depending on the context. The term Balkans or Balkan Peninsula is often used synonymously, but the respective area is not congruent.

In German history, Southeast Europe is treated as one of the three historical subregions of Eastern Europe alongside East Central Europe and the East Slavic settlement area (with a focus on Russia). The difficulties in the geographical and historical definition of the term result from the fact that Southeast Europe – despite its geographical differentiation in the interior – is open to traffic on the periphery and forms the most important link between Central Europe and the Middle East. For thousands of years it has acted as a transit area and bridge between two continents.”

Countries in Southeastern Europe

For the controversial term Southeastern Europe, a topographical classification is mostly used in geographic and historical research, which assigns the term to the states of the Balkan Peninsula plus the Pannonian Basin and the Transcarpathian region between the Lower Danube and Dniester. Southeast Europe in the broader geographical and political sense includes the following countries:

  • Albania
  • Bosnia and Herzegovina
  • Bulgaria
  • Croatia
  • Greece
  • Hungary
  • Kosovo
  • Macedonia
  • Moldova
  • Montenegro
  • Romania
  • Serbia
  • Slovenia
  • Turkey (Eastern Thrace only)

This also includes the controversial but de facto independent Transnistria Transnistria. Occasionally, Cyprus, the de facto independent area of ​​the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus and the Asian part of Turkey (states that actually belong to Asia), as well as part of the Ukraine (the Budschak) are included in Southeastern Europe. In total, it is about an area of ​​over 960,000 km² with around 90 million residents.

The term Southeastern Europe gained in importance, especially during National Socialism. It was introduced in the interwar period by proponents of German Ostforschung and geopolitics as an alternative to the Balkans, which from the perspective of German foreign policy had negative and undesirable connotations.

While the Balkans stood for an oriental past, disorganization, political instability and a “tangle of peoples”, Southeastern Europe, on the other hand, symbolized a “progressive” order under German hegemony, which contributed to the “civilization” and “Europeanization” of the region.