27 May 2019
The EU Policy Hub in cooperation with the Fridrich Ebert Foundation organized a roundtable discussion on the debate that have dominated in the last month Albanian and regional political discourse regarding a potential border correction between Kosovo and Serbia. This theme comes at a time when relations between Kosovo and Serbia seem to have deteriorated. The Kosovo-Serbia Dialogue currently has been interrupted for almost 6 months while Serbia has conducted a series of diplomatic actions against Kosovo’s adherence to international organizations such as UNESCO or Interpol. Kosovo, on the other hand, has set 100% for the Serbian and Bosnian products. In this context, a discussion between local and foreign experts about the possible implications of a border correction is seen as an opportunity to discuss this reality closely and how likely this scenario is to take place.
In his greeting speech, Wulf Lapins, Director of Fridrich Ebert Foundation for Albania, emphasized the importance of European elections and their impact on the integration processes of the Western Balkans. The increase of extreme right in France and Italy, according to Mr. Lupins, will further undermine France’s stance towards enlargement to the Western Balkans, due to domestic electoral pressure, where Marin Le Pen’s National Front achieved to be the first political force in the 2019 European elections.
Enes Velijaja, a young German researcher, delivered a presentation of his paper about the scenario of a possible union of Albanians in the Western Balkans. He presented a historical summary of how the Albanian issue has evolved since 1878 until today. According to Mr. Velijaja’s survey, correcting territories for Kosovo citizens remains a taboo and a hot topic that provokes emotional reactions.
Another security expert, Mr. Dyrmishi expressed his skepticism about the prospect of a possible correction of Kosovo-Serbia borders. He stressed that this issue could legitimize in future the territorial claims of other Western Balkan states, which would make it possible to “open the pandora box”. This having in mind the fact that there are at least 10 controversial areas between neighbors who have the same territorial claims on certain regions in the Balkans.
Finally, the event continued with an open discussion between participants who were experts, professionals of non-governmental organizations, academics but also students. A number of potential scenarios and hypothesis were put forward discussing how to achieve a a long-term agreement that could secure stability and security in the Western Balkans.