The Russian invasion of Ukraine serves as a somber reminder that Europe’s unresolved issues can reignite. Given the rising tension in the Balkans, Germany and France have made settling the unresolved problems between Serbia and Kosovo a top priority for 2023. This is particularly important after a confrontation in December 2022 over license plates in northern Kosovo stoked fears of a renewed conflict in the Balkans. Some ethnic Serbs do not acknowledge Kosovo’s independence, and therefore thousands of residents in northern Kosovo refuse to use Kosovan license plates. Kosovo declared its independence in 2008, but Serbia continues to claim the territory.
The necessity of finding a lasting settlement in 2023 that may result in mutual recognition between the two states has, however, generated significant concerns due to the worries of another bloody war in Europe. Russian president Phone Number List Vladimir Putin has attempted to escalate tensions between Serbia and Kosovo to draw attention away from his war in Ukraine, and to solidify his relationship with Serbia. In December 2022, for example, Serbian president (and Putin’s proxy in the Balkans) Aleksandar Vici openly endorsed roadblocks near the main border crossing between Kosovo and Serbia, which was ironically blocked by trucks gifted by the EU.
A weekly email with evidence-based analysis from Europe's best scholars At the end of 2022, France and Germany appointed their own special envoys to engage with Serbia and Kosovo and they are leading the EU-facilitated dialogue to resolve the dispute between the two countries. The Franco-German proposed agreement has nine articles and is based on a document known as the basic agreement from 1972. This was influenced by the German experience in resolving sensitive border issues following the second world war. German chancellor Olaf Scholz and French president Emmanuel Macron believe that the French and German experiences in resolving highly sensitive issues after WWII can help Serbia and Kosovo normalize relations. They have proposed that Serbia and Kosovo set up permanent missions, which are like embassies but operate at a lower level, as a starting point.
Serbia and Kosovo: Why the Eu Is Intent on Resolving Border Tension Stoked by the Ukraine War
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