Visa liberalisation for Kosovo could prove crucial in maintaining leverage for the region, while alllowing for more time to seek a sustainable solution with Serbia, writes Donika Emini and Zoran Nechev.
The latest round of EU-sponsored Kosovo-Serbia talks effectively collapsed on Friday (7 September) as Serbia's president refused to sit down with his Kosovo counterpart, citing a ban by Kosovar authorities on his planned visit to the former Serbian province as a reason to reassess all relations with Pristina.
Serbia's political life is heating up in August as discussions about its relations with Kosovo have reached frantic speed, varying from a possible partition of its former province to exchange of territory and border changes.
Normalising relations between Kosovo and Serbia is "the most complicated process in the Balkans at the moment", according to the head of the EU's office in Pristina. But both sides need steady encouragement from the international community to reach a final solution and progress towards EU membership.
Tear gas was repeatedly lobbed into the Kosovo parliament on Wednesday but did not prevent MPs ratifying a border agreement with Montenegro that is seen as key to unlocking visa-free travel to the EU for Pristina.
The rule of law, judiciary and a legally binding agreement on normalising relations with Kosovo are the main challenges Serbia faces with on the road to EU membership, European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker highlighted during a visit to Belgrade.
Events in the Western Balkans may indeed seem peripheral to the EU, particularly as it braces for debates on the new budget and eurozone reform, but let’s not forget the old quote by Winston Churchill: “The Balkans produce more history than they can consume.”
A Kosovo Serb leader was shot dead outside his party offices in Serb-run northern Kosovo on Tuesday (16 January), raising concerns of renewed tensions in the Western Balkans and prompting a Serbian delegation to cancel EU-sponsored talks with Kosovo in Brussels.
EXCLUSIVE / The EU should recognise that Albanian politicians are the main threat to peace and stability not only in the Balkans but also in Europe, Serbia’s First Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs Ivica Dačić told EURACTIV.com.
Serbia's president criticised the outgoing US administration yesterday (17 January), voicing hope that President-elect Donald Trump would be more favourable towards Belgrade over the thorny issue of Kosovo.
Serbia's president said yesterday (15 January) that Kosovo had shown it wanted war with after it deployed special forces to prevent a train painted with Serbia's national colours and the words "Kosovo is Serbia" from entering its territory.
Brittle diplomatic ties between Serbia and Kosovo came under further strain yesterday (5 January) in a row over international arrest warrants issued by Belgrade for former Kosovar guerrillas, including an ex-premier detained in France.
Kosovo, a former Serbian province that declared independence in 2008, but is still unrecognised by Belgrade, has warned against the candidacy of Vuk Jeremić, a former Serbian foreign minister, for UN Secretary General.
All court cases in Kosovo handled by European Union prosecutors and judges were suspended today (15 June) after the Balkan country failed to extend their mandate because of a dispute over the role of the EU’s legal mission.
Kosovo's prime minister said yesterday (20 March) his brother and some nephews and nieces were among tens of thousands of Kosovars who tried to enter the European Union last year fleeing poverty and unrest in their homeland.