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INFO   :::  Region > Kosovo - PAGE 5 > Bosnianization of Kosovo - A serious risk to the Western Balkans


Bosnianization of Kosovo - A serious risk to the Western Balkans

By Forum for Euro-Atlantic Integrations, New Kosova Report

24 November 2008


The recent readiness of the European Union (or some of its member nations) to push for its Rule of Law Mission (EULEX) presence in Kosovo with concessions made to Serbia on the six-point plan designed by Serbian government and proposed through the UN Secretary General Ban Ki-Moon to Prishtina represents a serious and major risk to the stability in the Western Balkans and as such a blow to EU's foreign policy in its neighbouring region promised to become full member of the European bloc one day.

The six-point plan is nothing else but renewal of Serbia's appetites toward the northern areas of Kosovo populated predominantly with half of the 120.000 Serbs and its eventual attachment to Serbia. The plan as such would give Serbia a direct control to the areas and violate the territorial integrity of Kosovo recognized by 22 EU member states and total of 52 countries world wide.

It would create a second entity for Serbs in the Western Balkans (similar to that one in Bosnia and Herzegovina). Bosnia and Herzegovina is an example of problems such division creates where the international community is still investing a lot of energy of diminishing the difficulties of a non-functional state since the end of the war in 1995.

There is nothing to justify Serbia claims for separate entity in Serb areas in the north as Serb minority rights are guaranteed with Kosovo's Constitution and Martti Ahtissari's plan. The EU instead, should step in with its mission to improve further and help proper implementation of the minority rights as stipulated in the Kosovo Constitution.

Creating a separate administrative entity in the north would have several consequences for Kosovo and for the future of W. Balkans region as it would open 'Pandora Box' in Serbia proper and neighbouring countries and lead the region toward a new crisis and instability.

As long as UN 1244 resolution is not reformulated in accordance with the new reality in Kosovo and its constitution a temporary solution would be setting up a joint special governing body between Kosovo government, EULEX and UNMIK for the northern areas.

EU should put on hold Serbia's European Integration process, unless Serbia ends its obstacles to EU's foreign policy in Kosovo and the region.

A new crisis in Kosovo means a new regional crisis. With borders of the Western Balkans countries being put in the agenda again, European Union integration process would be severely damaged for years to come.

The experience has showed that whenever the borders of W. Balkans are touched the consequences are multiple including the bloodshed.

The region it-self and the EU don't need another scenario as seen during the '90s. Kosovo and the region need economic development and a faster rhythm toward joining the European family.


Highly likely consequences of the six-point plan:

1. Damages to Kosovo's economy and law and order:
- Local institutions would divert their focus on economic development and reforms.
- Kosovo's economy would be harmed severely by cash shortages from the separate customs of the entity.
- The Trep├ža mines, seen as one of the main economic pillars in the near future, would be taken away from Kosovo as half of the mines would be under direct control of the would-be entity, actually Serbia.
- Kosovo's law and order institutions would have no say to the police, customs and judicial systems in the north, and as such illegal trading and organized crime would flourish further.


2. Political and security damages:
- The six-point plan has already diverted resent efforts and energy of Kosovo's institutions on reforms for European integrations.
- Kosovo's institutions would face a serious crisis and be pressed by local population for failing to protect the country's borders, which would put the country in front of political collapse and security turmoil.
- The local population would lose its sympathy toward the European Union and its institutions.
- EU set reforms would stall and anti-EU mood and distrust would be set up shortly (has already its first signs).
- The ethnic Albanian population could breach its recent tolerance toward the rest of Serb population in other areas/enclaves in Kosovo in counter-response to the entity.
- The Serb population could seek to move to the north in order to avoid attacks by frustrated and angry Albanians.


3. Regional risks:
- By granting the entity to the Serbs in the north of Kosovo the crisis would spread around Kosovo. South of Serbia (Medvedja, Bujanovac and Presevo), Montenegro and Macedonia are likely to be affected with Ethnic Albanians from there incited to seek the same status for their areas and even their attachment to Kosovo.
- In such scenario the future of the W. Balkans would be put in question again because of the wider crisis which would hit Kosovo first, then spread in Serbia, Montenegro and Macedonia.


- For the sake of the Western Balkans region's future, the EU should abandon its support to Ban-Ki Moon and Serbia six-point plan.
- EU should give up trading its presence in Kosovo with dangerous concessions to Serbia as is the six-point plan. It must avoid any scenario of Bosnia-nization of Kosovo.
- EU should press Serbia to give up its division/partition plans of Kosovo by suspending its European Integration process until it disbands its illegal parallel state structures in Kosovo (as reported to the UN HQ by former UNMIK chief Joachim Ruecker on 15 October 2007).
- NATO should increase its presence in the north and help the EU mission to deploy across all of Kosovo territory without making any concessions to Serbia.
- Both EU and NATO should oblige Serbia on a plan of disbanding these structures. An agreement should be signed on the issue between EU and NATO on one side and Serbia on another one. A supervising body should to be set up for its implementation. The plan should include a timetable for its implementation.
- In case of Serbia's refusal, NATO should proceed unilaterally and disband the structures paving the way for EU's mission full, unconditional deployment and normal functioning.
- EU and Kosovo government should design jointly a political and economic development strategy to integrate Serbs of the north in political and socio-economic daily life of Kosovo and cut their financial dependence and manipulation from Serbia.
- The flow of donor conference money pledged on June should be accelerated in order to help the strategy.
- As to the current deadlock over UNMIK's role in the north, a special tri-partite governing body should be established between the Kosovo government, EULEX and UNMIK for the northern areas - by respecting Kosovo laws (drafted and helped by the international community) - as temporary solution until the UN Security Council members agree to end the 1244 and transfer all competencies to Kosovo government under EULEX supervision. Such a solution would allow full deployment of EULEX in the north as well and would serve as a satisfaction to both Kosovars and the EU over their decision making role and presence across all Kosovo territory.



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