This article argues that despite some progress in the area of security the Balkans, the countries of the region still face hard and soft security challenges. The unprecedented financial, political and military engagement of the EU and its member states in the Balkans have shown limited results. The author argues that the international community, particularly the European Union, should rethink its strategies toward the Balkans and address security issues in a coherent and timely manner if it wants to consolidate the accomplishments to date.Security is a precondition of development, the recently adopted European Security Strategy confirms. If we measure the prospects for development and successful reform according to the level of security which has been reached and according to the degree to which civilians perceive threats to their safety, the Western Balkans today present a rather gloomy picture despite the achievements to date, most notably the success of bringing end to the armed conflict of the 1990s and stabilizing the region. The countries of the region still face a myriad of both “hard” and “soft” security challenges, most notably in the areas of defense and security sector reform, justice and home affairs, in combating the proliferation of small arms and light weapons and establishing effective border management, not to mention such tasks as preventing potential threats of terrorism...Please click here to read the text in full.