Albin Kurti, the new prime minister of Kosovo, speaks plain language – but recognition of Kosovo is practically impossible for Serbia.
The new Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, met Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic for the first time – in Brussels. It is another attempt to resume talks aimed at bringing the two countries closer. After all, it has been 13 years since the then Serbian province of Kosovo declared itself an independent state.
Kosovo’s independence is still suspended under international law, as Serbia still does not want to recognize the secession of its former province. So far, all attempts to bring the two warring Balkan states together have failed. Negotiations take place at regular intervals, but there have been no results worth mentioning for years.
Parking is miles away
And this time again, observers are not assuming substantive progress will be made. “Korti only wants to conclude an agreement with Serbia if Serbia explicitly recognizes Kosovo’s independence – and this rules out a solution that was previously considered the most feasible,” says Christoph Wutrich, an SRF expert on the Balkans.
In this scenario, Serbia would not have explicitly recognized Kosovo as an independent country. But both countries would have completely normalized their relations, as was the case until the change between the German states FRG and GDR. “This way, Kosovo can also join the United Nations,” says Wüthrich.
It is virtually impossible for Serbia to one day actually recognize Kosovo. “A miracle must happen,” said the Balkan expert. For Serbs, Kosovo is still like the cradle of Serbian culture, without Kosovo from the point of view of many Serbians is unimaginable. This myth is still planted. “The Serbian politician will take a huge risk if he recognizes the independence of Kosovo.”
Vucic takes advantage of frozen conflict
Wüthrich said it was true that Vucic had always presented himself in Brussels as the man working hard to strike a deal with Kosovo. But now there are doubts that he really wants a solution to the conflict.” It is also no longer clear that he wants to lead Serbia into the European Union.
“If he really wants to, Vucic will have to dismantle the authoritarian and corrupt apparatus of power again.” And if a solution is signed with Kosovo, the EU will no longer need it and will abandon it. Vucic personally benefits from the frozen conflict with Kosovo.
Kurti speaks simple language
On the other hand, Wüthrich is convinced that the young state of Kosovo would benefit from an agreement with Serbia: “Political instability impedes trade and thus contributes to poverty and unemployment.”
But no one in Pristina was also interested in finding a serious solution to the conflict. “They kept the conflict warm and spoiled practical solutions – because it kept them in power.”
After all, something has changed with new Prime Minister Kurti: “He’s not pretending to be,” says Wüthrich. He no longer plays ping pong with the other side in order to always frustrate everything. But even if the European Union and the United States now knew their whereabouts with Kurti – the resolution of the conflict with Serbia could not have been closer.
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