Leigh: EU Does Not Support Kosovo's Change of Borders

Leigh: EU Does Not Support Kosovo's Change of Borders

Editor's Note: In an interview with Deutsche Welle, GMF's Michael Leigh explains that the EU has not changed its policies regarding support for Kosovo’s territorial integrity and that it would be ‘almost impossible’ for the EU to reach consensus in favor of changing ‘territorial status quo between Serbia and Kosovo’. 

Recently has been proposals for final status of Kosovo and its future relations with Serbia. Different positions were heard from governments in Belgrade and Pristina, on partition of Kosovo or exchanging the border. Washington and Brussel are not declaring themselves in Public. Have Brussels and Washington abandoned their previous policy on supporting unequivocally Kosovo’s sovereignty and territorial integrity?

It would be almost impossible in the EU to find a consensus in favour of changing the territorial status quo between Serbia and Kosovo.  The notion of recognition of Kosovo in exchange for territorial concessions is unlikely to command win approval among Serbs and Kosovars or to command the support of the five EU member states who refuse to recognize Kosovo's independence. Partition is based on the search for ethnic purity rather than the need to live together in multi-ethnic societies. This approach has a tragic history in the Balkans and is not in line with EU principles.

Member states will be particularly alert to outside pressures given the growing roles of Russia and China in the Balkans.

Civil society organizations from Serbia and Kosovo are urging EU to make an unambiguous statement against the division of Kosovo or the exchange of territories. What is the plan of the EU?

It remains to be seen whether member states that traditionally favour the Serbs would be ready to approve such a statement.

What actions are foreseen from EU non recognisers, Spain, Greece, Cyprus, Romania and Slovakia? Would a deal on partition automatically trigger the recognition of Kosovo?

The objections of the five EU non-recognizers to secession relate to their own political dilemmas at home and are not necessarily intended primarily as a form of support to the Serbs. These objections would persist for a considerable time even in the unlikely event that an accommodation is reached between Serbia and Kosovo. 

Who can than guarantee that Kosovo can have its wanted UN seat?

This goal is likely to remain an unfulfilled aspiration for the foreseeable future although various practical forms of cooperation can be devised.

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