Kosovo-Serbia Land Swap Deal Risks Destabilizing The Balkans, Researchers Group Warns

Kosovo-Serbia Land Swap Deal Risks Destabilizing The Balkans, Researchers Group Warns
Florian Bieber, Professor of Southeast European History and Politics and Director of the Centre for Southeast European Studies at the University of Graz, Austria

A group of researchers and experts from the Western Balkans and Europe have warned against a Kosovo-Serbia deal that would include land swap.

In a policy brief titled “The Western Balkans in Times of the Global Pandemic”, BiEPAG researchers (The Balkans in Europe Policy Advisory Group) argue that such deal signed by presidents and facilitated by the US administration would have no democratic legitimacy and would potentially destabilize the region.

“Kosovo is the best example of how a pandemic can create a perfect storm to oust a newly appointed government. Despite the fact that the clashes between Prime Minister Kurti and President Thaci have been long-standing, the debate over the state of emergency which would empower the weakening figure of the President triggered a political crisis. Kosovo marks the first case in which a government has been toppled in a no-confidence vote during the COVID-19 pandemic. If the caretaker government is marginalized by the President – who, with the declaration of the state of emergency, will take full charge of the situation – there is a possibility of a Kosovo-Serbia agreement facilitated by the US administration signed between the two presidents, but lacking broader democratic legitimacy and involving land swap, with all its destabilizing potential for the region.”

BiEPAG is a cooperation initiative of the European Fund for the Balkans (EFB) and Centre for the Southeast European Studies of the University of Graz (CSEES). It aim at promoting the Western Balkans’ integration in to the EU and consolidation of democracy in these countries.

Well-established researchers contribute to policy analysis by BiEPAG. The latest paper was authored by Florian Bieber, Tena Prelec, Marika Djolai, Donika Emini, Jovana Marović, Srdjan Majstorović, Vedran Džihić, Alida Vračić, with contributions by Nikos Tzifakis, Natasha Wunsch, Will Bartlett, Richard Grieveson and Mario Holzner.

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