Serbia and Kosovo talks: is the US taking charge?
The US has announced the resumption of the talks between Serbia and Kosovo which were broken off at the end of 2018. US Special Envoy for Serbia and Kosovo Peace Negotiations Richard Grenell announced in a tweet on Monday that his first meeting was slated for June 27 - shortly before a trip to Priština by Brussels’ Special Representative for the Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslav Lajčák. Commentators in Europe find Washington's initiative less than convincing.
Trump needs a victory
The planned negotiations in Washington are an affront to the EU, Duma comments:
“The United States and the EU are vying to be the main mediators in resolving the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo. ... Washington's initiative of inviting representatives of Kosovo and Serbia to talks on an agreement on June 27th is therefore an attempt by the US to get one step ahead of the EU. Because of the presidential elections Donald Trump definitely needs a victory in the international arena, given that his government's track record since the start of the year has been very negative.”
Europe bears the consequences
The EU must not continue neglecting the Western Balkans, Die Presse demands:
“The fact that North Macedonia, despite changing its name, was initially still left waiting for accession talks hasn't exactly strengthened confidence in the EU. In Kosovo, people are angry that they are still not allowed to travel to the EU without a visa. At the same time actors like China and Russia have expanded their influence in the Balkans. And the gentleman in the White House visibly cares less and less about the sensitivities of his European partners. Regardless of what is agreed in Washington between Serbia and Kosovo: Europe will bear the consequences. It is high time for the EU states to get more involved again.”
Grenell is a bad choice as negotiator
Jutarnji list doubts that the former US ambassador is the right man for this mission:
“The EU says it is 'not in a race' with the United States in the region. But clearly this is exactly what is happening. ... And what makes the matter even more unpleasant for the EU is that the US's attempt at mediation between Kosovo and Serbia is led by diplomat Richard Grenell. He is close to Trump and until recently was US ambassador to Berlin. And he's as reputable and reliable as his boss. ... Strong US commitment in the region is not just desirable, but necessary. ... The problem, however, is that Grenell is anything but a serious US diplomat who is aware of both the problem and the consequences of a bad solution.”