HBS: „Normalization? The EU-led Serbia-Kosovo dialogue process seen from Kosovo and the Preševo valley (Serbia)“
Normalization? The EU-led Serbia-Kosovo dialogue process seen from Kosovo and the Preševo valley (Serbia)
20 years after the Kosovo war, the political and the economic situation both in Kosovo and in Serbia are far from stable. State institutions remain to be weak, rule of law threatened, and informal group interests and party affiliations seem to dominate political and economic decision-making.
As the biggest stumble stone on the way to systemic reform and approximation with the EU, one usually refers to the failure of both Serbia and Kosovo to find a lasting political solution to their conflict about Kosovo’s secession and subsequent declaration of independence. The EU, split into a majority of recognizers and a minority of refusers – has tried to play a mediation role that led to the so-called Brussels agreement of 2013 regulating the status of ethnic Serbian communities in Kosovo, the integration of police forces and the organization of local elections. Since then, numerous rounds of further negotiations have not produced a full implementation of the Brussels agreement either any other breakthrough regarding the principle political questions of the dispute.
Against the background of a deterring political situation in the region and growing pressure from the EU and the US to deliver on the “normalization chapter”, since summer 2018 rumours have spread about a fresh, comprehensive “package deal” between the Serb and the Kosovar presidents Vučić and Thaçi: It allegedly envisages a political solution based on a land swap between Albanian populated territory in Serbia and Serbian populated parts of Northern Kosovo. Reportedly, this potential deal has already met significant support both in the US administration and in EU institutions.
During our roundtable discussion, we will focus on the current situation in and around Kosovo and the “normalization process” with guests from Prishtina, North Mitrovica (both Kosovo) and Preševo (Serbia). What is their view on the current challenges, risks and threats? How do they perceive a potential “land swap solution”? What are their proposals for a possible way forward?