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Serbia-Kosovo negotiations – playing for time under pressure from the West. OSW Commentary NUMBER 281 | 21.08.2018

Szpala , Marta (2018) Serbia-Kosovo negotiations – playing for time under pressure from the West. OSW Commentary NUMBER 281 | 21.08.2018. [Policy Paper]

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    The negotiations between Serbia and Kosovo aimed at reaching a comprehensive agreement to normalise relations between the two states are to enter a new phase in September. Although the negotiations, which have been going on since 2011 under the oversight of the European Union, may have prompted the incorporation of the Serbian minority and the territories it inhabits into Kosovo’s institutional system, they have been at a standstill for three years. The authorities in Prishtina are unwilling to agree to further concessions to the Serbs until Belgrade recognises Kosovo’s independence, at least on a de facto basis. Any compromise will come at a high political cost for the authorities of both Serbia and Kosovo, due to hostility on the part of the public and the opposition in both states. Meanwhile, the EU and the US are putting pressure on Belgrade and Prishtina to reach an agreement by no later than mid-2019. The Serbian and Kosovar elites cannot ignore this pressure as they largely owe their political positions to support from the West, and for this reason the authorities in both states wish to play for time and prolong the talks. They are doing this by periodically escalating tensions and putting forward solutions that are unacceptable to the other party or the international community. One example of this was the proposals made in July by the presidents of Serbia and Kosovo, Aleksandar Vučic and Hashim Thaçi, to exchange territory and change borders, which caused a great deal of controversy inside and outside the countries. Moreover, divisions between countries in the West, which do not have a united strategy regarding the negotiations, may hamper moves to reach a compromise. The United States is pushing for a quick resolution of the dispute, even if this means reviewing the borders. However, Germany is opposed to that solution as it fears that this would strengthen separatist movements throughout the entire Balkans. Both Serbs and Kosovo Albanians will try to exploit these divisions, while the success of the process of normalising Serbian-Kosovar relations will in fact depend upon effective pressure from the West.

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    Item Type: Policy Paper
    Subjects for non-EU documents: Countries > Kosovo
    Countries > Serbia (June 2006-on)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Series: Series > Centre for Eastern Studies (OSW) > OSW Commentary
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Sep 2018 14:47
    Number of Pages: 7
    Last Modified: 14 Sep 2018 14:47

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