If I don't know much about Romania, I know even less about Ex-jugoslavia. This stands in stark contrast to the fact that I've seen Kustorica films, and that the war in Jugoslavia was the dominant pience of news during my child hood. Many people had lots of opinion, but as always when that is the case, few people actually know something. Sadly, that is also my case.
However, the region remains maybe the one most important to understand the Balkans, especially to understand the relations between the Balkans and Europe.
The history of Bulgaria is imperial opression and national resistance with two easily defined parts - Turks and Bulgarians, the story of Jugoslavia as well as Romania is about a much more complex imperial opression and a contested national identity. Whereas Bulgaria is safely within the reign of the orthodox church and Romania is a mix of everything,Jugoslavia get their flavour from the division between the western catholic - and the orthodox church and world.
Just like Bulgaria, Serbia has a story of subjugation under the ottoman rule, in many ways as brutal as the Bulgarian one. The bitter feelings against regional muslims in Albania and Bosnia clearly has their roots in the worldview that a glory Serbian kingdom lost their power, and even more important, honor to the turks and never got it back.
The Ottoman domination over Croatia is limited to some forty years under Suleiman the Magnificent. Before, as well as after, Croatia was united with the Hungarian crown, eventually united with the Austrian. The Austrian empire succeeded the Ottomans in Serbia and proved no less oppressive. This time, as so many times before, two south slavonic peoples, Croats and Serbs were confronted on the battle that had been raging since the midieval times along the line drawn 1054 between the orthodox and Catholic Church.
And in spite of European integration, this line seem difficult to erase. When Titos quasi-liberal socialist republic with fantastisc rock bands like Elektricni Orgazam crumbled, the Serbians turned Eastwards and the Croatians west. Now the Croatians are already in the EU... and maybe, maybe there is a chance for Serbia as well, given the coming pro-european government. Let's set all our hopes to this government. When EU has decided to let Croatia join, it would be abhorrable to let Serbia out. All orders are artificial, but existing a thousand years give a certain dignity that no border deserves.
Again... I couldn't do more than advising to Wikipedia;
The Ottoman Empire
The Habsburg Empire