Serbia and Kosovo: unproductive EU mediation

Talks moderated by the EU's foreign policy chief Josep Borrell have failed to bring a solution in the conflict between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo's head of government Albin Kurti and Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić came no closer to agreeing on either entry regulations or mutual recognition. Commentators attempt to make sense of the situation.

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Jutarnji list (HR) /

Serbia playing for time

There is still no sign of relations between Serbia and Kosovo being normalised, says Jutarnji list:

“Although they had the opportunity to present their ideas for the normalisation of relations, Kurti and Vučić are very far apart on this issue. As Jutarnji list reports, the Kosovar prime minister stated that a comprehensive deal for the normalisation of relations must include as a key element the mutual recognition of Kosovo and Serbia as sovereign states. The US, Germany and many other states also share this position. ... But Serbia rejects recognition and is participating in the dialogue more with the goal of maintaining the status quo and delaying recognition.”

Danas (RS) /

An unclear situation

If they really wanted to reach a compromise both Kurti and Vučić would have to make concessions, Danas points out:

“A conflict can be avoided if you find a solution. That can be achieved either by Belgrade accepting everything Priština wants in terms of number plates and documentation, or by Priština accepting the compromises proposed by Belgrade. ... It seems that conflicts are more likely than a solution. Either that or the parties have already reached an agreement and are now casting about for ways to make it known to the public. Because both Kurti and Vučić would lose points politically if they simply went along with something.”

Dnevnik (SI) /

Brussels in crisis mode

There was little hope of a breakthrough in the never-ending conflict between Serbia and Kosovo anyway, Dnevnik points out:

“The EU - which after many years of standstill in the accession process is now little more than an observer of negative trends in the region, both because of its own enlargement fatigue and because of the regional political elites' unwillingness to reform - is once again in crisis mode. The basic goal of the talks is not to reach a final breakthrough in the decades-long process of normalising relations, but to prevent another conflict from flaring up in the shadow of the war in Ukraine - one which could further weaken the EU in its own backyard.”