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Serbia-Kosovo relations: Confrontation or normalisation?

12-02-2019

After fighting broke out between government forces and separatists, the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo was transferred to United Nations administration in 1999. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. However, Belgrade continues to view its former province as Serbian territory. Over 100 countries, including 23 EU Member States, have recognised Kosovar independence, but full recognition and membership of most international organisations are still a long way off. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to ...

After fighting broke out between government forces and separatists, the formerly Serbian province of Kosovo was transferred to United Nations administration in 1999. In 2008, Kosovo declared independence. However, Belgrade continues to view its former province as Serbian territory. Over 100 countries, including 23 EU Member States, have recognised Kosovar independence, but full recognition and membership of most international organisations are still a long way off. Both Serbia and Kosovo aspire to EU membership – Serbia as a candidate country and Kosovo as a potential candidate. The EU insists that Serbia must normalise its relations with Kosovo before joining. Since 2011, with the help of EU mediation, the two neighbours have resolved some of the technical issues, but disagreements prevent normal day-to-day interaction between them in areas such as trade, energy supplies and cross-border travel. One of the main stumbling blocks is the situation of Kosovo's Serb minority. Around one in 12 Kosovars is an ethnic Serb, and nearly half of these are concentrated in the north. Despite efforts to integrate Serb-majority northern Kosovo into the rest of the country, Pristina still struggles to control the region. In 2013 and 2015, it agreed to establish an Association of Serb-majority Municipalities, but progress on this is now deadlocked. In 2018, the Kosovar and Serbian presidents floated the idea of a 'border correction', possibly involving the exchange of northern Kosovo for Albanian-majority Serbian districts. However, the proposal has been criticised by Germany, which fears that any territorial exchange risks sparking instability by calling into question other Western Balkan borders. There is also strong domestic opposition to the move in both Kosovo and Serbia. Despite growing pressure on both sides to finally reach a deal that could unlock the door to EU membership, relations remain tense and progress towards normalisation is currently at a standstill.

Serbia: 2018 country report

27-11-2018

In November 2018, the European Parliament is due to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2018 country report. The report acknowledges Serbia's progress in its accession process, but points to rule of law and freedom of expression as significant obstacles. Relations with Kosovo, another key issue, are also still a major challenge.

In November 2018, the European Parliament is due to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2018 country report. The report acknowledges Serbia's progress in its accession process, but points to rule of law and freedom of expression as significant obstacles. Relations with Kosovo, another key issue, are also still a major challenge.

Kosovo: 2018 country report

27-11-2018

In November 2018, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 country report on Kosovo. The latest progress report notes that Kosovo has had limited success in bringing forward EU-related reforms. It calls on government and opposition to work together in order to implement them.

In November 2018, the European Parliament is due to debate a resolution on the European Commission’s 2018 country report on Kosovo. The latest progress report notes that Kosovo has had limited success in bringing forward EU-related reforms. It calls on government and opposition to work together in order to implement them.

Western Balkans in the spotlight in 2018

15-01-2018

With positive messages and increased attention coming from the EU, 2017 seems to have ended on a high note for the Western Balkans. 2018 starts with the region being high on the agenda of Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency, and promises a favourable context for advancing its EU bids. For this to happen, however, the six WB countries need to show results on the core EU-related reforms.

With positive messages and increased attention coming from the EU, 2017 seems to have ended on a high note for the Western Balkans. 2018 starts with the region being high on the agenda of Bulgaria's EU Council Presidency, and promises a favourable context for advancing its EU bids. For this to happen, however, the six WB countries need to show results on the core EU-related reforms.

Serbia’s cooperation with China, the European Union, Russia and the United States of America

21-11-2017

Since 2000, Serbia has undergone a halting yet persistent reintegration into the global economy. However, Serbian foreign policy currently faces a dilemma, as (at least) four separate powers are vying for influence within the country. This study examines Serbia’s foreign policies towards the European Union (EU), the United States (US), Russia, and China, in particular examining the influence of each power with regard to foreign aid, trade, investment and security. Our analysis shows that each partner ...

Since 2000, Serbia has undergone a halting yet persistent reintegration into the global economy. However, Serbian foreign policy currently faces a dilemma, as (at least) four separate powers are vying for influence within the country. This study examines Serbia’s foreign policies towards the European Union (EU), the United States (US), Russia, and China, in particular examining the influence of each power with regard to foreign aid, trade, investment and security. Our analysis shows that each partner of Serbia has their own specific interest and comparative advantage in the country, with the EU focusing primarily on rule of law, aid, and increasing investment, the US on security, Russia on energy and foreign policy support, and China on infrastructure and markets. The scale of cooperation is divergent, however, and the EU accession process has pushed the EU to primus inter pares for the Serbian government. The demarcation across activities, however, means that Serbia may be able to keep its non-aligned status in the short-term. Unfortunately, the country is in an unstable equilibrium, as continued progress towards EU accession means that it will eventually have to sacrifice some independence in foreign affairs. The role of the EU in the coming years will be to emphasise the economic and security benefits that come with EU accession, while acknowledging that Serbia has its own cultural and historical links that need tending to.

Autor extern

Christopher HARTWELL, President, CASE – Center for Social and Economic Research, Poland; Katarzyna SIDLO, Political Economist, CASE

Kosovo: 2016 country report

07-06-2017

In June, following the early election in Kosovo, the European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution on Kosovo's 2016 report. It calls for restoring the political dialogue, swift fulfilment of the Commission's two conditions for visa liberalisation and continued commitment to the dialogue with Belgrade.

In June, following the early election in Kosovo, the European Parliament is due to vote on a resolution on Kosovo's 2016 report. It calls for restoring the political dialogue, swift fulfilment of the Commission's two conditions for visa liberalisation and continued commitment to the dialogue with Belgrade.

Serbia: 2016 country report

07-06-2017

In June 2017, the European Parliament is to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2016 country report. It acknowledges Serbia's progress with EU accession talks and its rigorous reform agenda, and highlights that dialogue with Pristina and 'rule of law' reforms remain areas for priority action.

In June 2017, the European Parliament is to vote on a motion for a resolution on Serbia's 2016 country report. It acknowledges Serbia's progress with EU accession talks and its rigorous reform agenda, and highlights that dialogue with Pristina and 'rule of law' reforms remain areas for priority action.

Serbia and Kosovo: Normalisation of relations

09-03-2016

Resolving their deep-seated rivalries has been one of the conditions placed on Serbia and Kosovo for achieving their shared goal of EU entry. Since 2011, an EU-mediated dialogue has sought to strike a balance between their past conflicts and present aspirations. Although tensions persist, the goal is to translate the deals signed by both sides into reality, and to keep their dialogue going.

Resolving their deep-seated rivalries has been one of the conditions placed on Serbia and Kosovo for achieving their shared goal of EU entry. Since 2011, an EU-mediated dialogue has sought to strike a balance between their past conflicts and present aspirations. Although tensions persist, the goal is to translate the deals signed by both sides into reality, and to keep their dialogue going.

Serbia: Political parties and the EU

17-07-2015

Since the 1990s, one of the main dividing lines between Serbian political parties has been their position on European integration. The past two decades have seen growing dynamism to political life in Serbia, with new parties emerging and old ones changing from anti- to pro-EU views, nuancing their rhetoric in line with public attitudes. The start of accession talks with the EU in January 2014 indicates the attenuation of previously sharp divisions vis-à-vis the EU.

Since the 1990s, one of the main dividing lines between Serbian political parties has been their position on European integration. The past two decades have seen growing dynamism to political life in Serbia, with new parties emerging and old ones changing from anti- to pro-EU views, nuancing their rhetoric in line with public attitudes. The start of accession talks with the EU in January 2014 indicates the attenuation of previously sharp divisions vis-à-vis the EU.

Serbia: Security situation

17-07-2015

Serbia has a key role in the stability of the Western Balkans. With armed conflict now in the past, the country is firmly engaged in the European integration process, and holds the 2015 OSCE chair. However, Serbia remains 'in the line of fire' between Russia and the West, in particular due to the situation in Ukraine, and future crises or security threats to the region cannot be excluded.

Serbia has a key role in the stability of the Western Balkans. With armed conflict now in the past, the country is firmly engaged in the European integration process, and holds the 2015 OSCE chair. However, Serbia remains 'in the line of fire' between Russia and the West, in particular due to the situation in Ukraine, and future crises or security threats to the region cannot be excluded.

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