"Following the conflicts in the late 1990s in the countries of the former Yugoslavia (Serbia, Kosovo, Bosnia-Herzegovina, Macedonia, Montenegro, Croatia, and Slovenia), the prospect of membership in the Euro-Atlantic community, and the active presence of the United States in the region referred to as the Western Balkans, provided a level of stability that allowed most of the countries of the region to pursue reform and adopt Western values. During this time, Slovenia (2004) and Croatia (2013) joined the European Union (EU). These countries, along with Albania (2009), also joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO). Montenegro became NATO's 29th member on June 3, 2017. Other nations of the Western Balkans are at various stages on the path toward EU or NATO membership. Along with Serbia, Kosovo stands at the center of the Western Balkans and occupies a key strategic juncture at the social, political, and geographic crossroads between Eastern and Western Europe. Since declaring its independence in 2008, with the assistance of a number of international organizations, and despite its tense relationship with neighboring Serbia, which does not recognize Kosovo's independence, Kosovo has become a viable, democratic, and stable state. Although Kosovo faces major economic, rule-of-law, and corruption challenges, many observers believe Kosovo has made significant progress in strengthening its democratic institutions, its freemarket economy and its Euro-Atlantic aspirations.'"
CRS Report for Congress, R44979
Federation of American Scientists: http://www.fas.org/sgp/crs/index.html