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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.

Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans

06-07-2017

During the Cold War, Turkey's interest in the Western Balkans remained relatively dormant, yet the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the active diplomacy pursued by the Turkish AK political party from 2002 onwards triggered greater Turkish involvement in the region. Nevertheless, Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans remains mainly based on cultural and educational programmes offered to those countries with a large Muslim community and steadily developing ...

During the Cold War, Turkey's interest in the Western Balkans remained relatively dormant, yet the wars that accompanied the breakup of Yugoslavia in the early 1990s and the active diplomacy pursued by the Turkish AK political party from 2002 onwards triggered greater Turkish involvement in the region. Nevertheless, Turkey's influence in the Western Balkans remains mainly based on cultural and educational programmes offered to those countries with a large Muslim community and steadily developing trade.

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.

Kosovo: 'First formal step' towards EU accession

26-01-2016

The Commission's latest progress report notes that, in 2015, Kosovo was still at an 'early stage' of preparedness for EU membership. However, in October 2015 it signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which reaffirmed its EU perspective.

The Commission's latest progress report notes that, in 2015, Kosovo was still at an 'early stage' of preparedness for EU membership. However, in October 2015 it signed a Stabilisation and Association Agreement (SAA) with the EU, which reaffirmed its EU perspective.

EU-Serbia: normalisation with Kosovo needed

11-04-2013

Serbia obtained the status of "candidate country" in March 2012. The Commission's 2012 progress report noted some positive results, but highlighted limited progress over relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Serbia also needs to step up efforts to align its legislation.

Serbia obtained the status of "candidate country" in March 2012. The Commission's 2012 progress report noted some positive results, but highlighted limited progress over relations between Belgrade and Pristina. Serbia also needs to step up efforts to align its legislation.

Palestine's Bid for UN Observer State Status Advances despite EU Hesitation

20-11-2012

The vote on the observer state status for Palestine in the United Nations system is scheduled for 29 November 2012. For the Palestinian National Authority, the lack of progress in the Middle East Peace Process has provided the stimulus for seeking an upgrade to its status in the United Nations. The European Union supports Palestinian statehood in principle, but is divided on the appropriateness of the timing of the UN bid. The European Parliament backs the two-state solution, with its implicit upgrading ...

The vote on the observer state status for Palestine in the United Nations system is scheduled for 29 November 2012. For the Palestinian National Authority, the lack of progress in the Middle East Peace Process has provided the stimulus for seeking an upgrade to its status in the United Nations. The European Union supports Palestinian statehood in principle, but is divided on the appropriateness of the timing of the UN bid. The European Parliament backs the two-state solution, with its implicit upgrading of Palestine's status. Israel has threatened the Palestinian National Authority with serious reprisals if the PNA pursues its bid at the United Nations. The Palestinian National Authority's survival is at stake with the statehood bid in more than one way.

The Crisis in the Former Yugoslavia

01-01-1993

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