In the resumption of the dialogue, more creativity is needed than that which has been expressed so far, because there will be numerous issues on the table that have not previously been debated, such as the settling of mutual claims and the establishment of an agreed community of Serbian municipalities. It will not be possible to avoid issues of recognition and demarcation
Over the last three years, the Brussels Dialogue has been like a dying patient surrounded by numerous doctors (politicians, bureaucrats, diplomats and experts) who, instead of providing decisive therapy, occasionally hold consultations (usually in the evening) on whether the patient should be treated. Their exchanges of opinion and frequent political-propaganda strikes invite followers to mobilise. This mobilisation is directed more towards conflict than creating support for dialogue and agreement. The aim is to impose a one-sided solution, but in reality, maintain the status quo. And in this, the rejection of any change is widening. In the short term, this rejection leads to a deepening crisis and a new conflict. This, in turn, forces the public, the leaderships of Kosovo and Serbia, as well as international stakeholders, to choose between the renewal of conflict and dialogue on normalisation.
The appointment of U.S. Special Envoys (Matt Palmer for the Western Balkans and Richard Grenell for the Brussels Dialogue) and the European Commission’s announcement that it will appoint its own envoys to raise hopes that the dialogue and normalisation process will be revived. Two letters and one statement of intent that have been signed by representatives of Serbia and Kosovo in the presence of Grenell, with the enviable adeptness of this in political propaganda marketing, create the belief that the economy can make an improvement to people ‘s lives. However, the Kosovo government’s tariffs for products from Serbia and Bosnia-Herzegovina provide a reminder that the economy is not omnipotent; that full normalisation is required for the sustainable development and democratic construction of Serbia and Kosovo.
The concerted efforts of the members of the Quint, to encourage the newly elected Kosovo government to abolish tariffs and the Serbian authorities to abandon activities aimed at delegitimising recognition of Kosovo’s independence and membership in all international organisations, should create the conditions required for renewed political dialogue.
The concerted efforts of the members of the quint, to encourage the newly elected kosovo government to abolish tariffs and the Serbian authorities to abandon activities aimed at delegitimising recognition of Kosovo’s independence and membership in all international organisations, should create the conditions required for renewed political dialogue
With the aim of renewing the dialogue and reaching a sustainable political solution, the following facts should be kept in mind:
Firstly, Serbia and Kosovo cannot resolve the current crisis alone and unilaterally. Kosovo cannot emerge from this crisis rewarded with the full recognition of its statehood by Serbia. The demand for “mutual and sustainable recognition” will have to wait for some new times and different economic, political and security circumstances. Serbia cannot ensure the economic progress and security of the Serb community in Kosovo without cooperating with the Kosovo authorities. Kosovo, however, is not helped by its unilateral insistence on its ultimate interests. It is worth sticking to the rules of equality, and not parity or any measures of reciprocity.
Secondly, it is necessary for there to be more creativity than has been shown so far, because the renewed dialogue will have to find answers to numerous issues that have not been debated to date, such as the settlement of mutual claims, but also enabling the establishment of the agreed Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO). The issues of recognition and demarcation will not be able to be avoided.
In the development of creativity, it would be good to respect the following principles. The first is that, even if there is no definite answer to the question of whether and when Kosovo is recognised as a full member of the international community, that end can be reached peacefully, through dialogue and the normalisation of Serbia and Kosovo relations. Of course, this is not sufficient if there is no agreement among the “big players” (EU, U.S., Russia and China);
The second principle – instead of a “final solution”, it would be good to prepare for the journey in several stages. The first stage should end with Serbia’s EU membership and the opening of realistic prospects for the full recognition of Kosovo. Until then, the rule of status neutrality, contained in the text of the UN General Assembly Resolution on EU-backed dialogue and in Chapter 35 of the Serbia-EU Negotiations Framework, applies.