Hace poco más de un mes Kosovo celebraba los 15 años de su declaración de independencia. Habían transcurrido entonces nueve años desde el final de una guerra en la que perdieron la vida más de 13.000 personas y que finalizó tras los bombardeos de la OTAN sobre Serbia. Desde ese mes de febrero de 2008 y hasta ahora el principal objetivo de las autoridades de Pristina ha sido conseguir su reconocimiento como Estado, un reconocimiento que le permitiría, en primer lugar, alcanzar un asiento en Naciones Unidas, pero también comenzar su camino de integración hacia la Unión Europea y la OTAN.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man passes by graffiti depicting Russian President Vladimir Putin, reading: “Kosovo is Serbia” in Belgrade, Serbia, on Aug. 1. (Darko Vojinovic/AP)

Even as fighting rages on in Ukraine, a less obvious struggle is taking place between Russia and the West elsewhere on the European Union’s periphery. With war draining its resources, Moscow has been less able to project power beyond its borders — and Western powers are moving to take advantage of the vacuum.

That’s what’s happening right now in the Western Balkans, where last month there were visible signs of progress in efforts to settle a long-standing dispute between Serbia and Kosovo. Kosovo’s prime minister, Albin Kurti, and Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic met in Brussels and agreed in principle to a normalization proposal between the two countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

Los acontecimientos que se han vivido en las fronteras entre Serbia y Kosovo se enmarcan en el contexto del proceso de independencia kosovar. Tras la pérdida de control de Kosovo por parte de Serbia, Belgrado continúo operando un sistema estatal paralelo al que progresivamente fue desplegando Pristina, que incluye departamentos de policía, tribunales y oficinas municipales situadas en las ciudades de la mayoría serbia del norte de Kosovo. Esto también incluía la emisión de matrículas de vehículos serbios para las ciudades de Kosovo. Tras llegar a diferentes acuerdos entre las partes se llegó a un acuerdo en 2011 sobre la emisión de las placas que sería prorrogado en 2016.…  Seguir leyendo »

Russia’s war on Ukraine is forcing all European countries to reconsider their strategic and military relationships. For Kosovo, Russian President Vladimir Putin’s aggression confirms the belief that it needs a more robust partnership with the United States and its allies.

Last month, on the day that Sweden and Finland simultaneously submitted their requests to join NATO, Kosovar Prime Minister Albin Kurti was in Washington to make his case for increased cooperation.

For a country of fewer than 2 million inhabitants that declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, the stakes couldn’t be higher. With 48 Serbian military installations staring across Kosovo’s borders, according to Kurti, it’s little wonder that he sees the fate of his country as a defining front in the ideological confrontation of our times.…  Seguir leyendo »

Bandera de Eslovenia. Foto Juliet Earth


¿Cuál es el futuro de la ampliación de la UE en los Balcanes Occidentales?


El proceso de adhesión a la UE de los Balcanes Occidentales está atascado por la “fatiga de la ampliación”, por la “fatiga balcánica” (desilusión) y por la presencia de Rusia y de China, que cada día cobran mayor influencia en la región. La asunción de la Presidencia europea por Eslovenia podría ser una oportunidad para reinventar el proceso de adhesión, sin renunciar a la estrategia de “palo y zanahoria”, pero incluyendo mayores incentivos a los países balcánicos.

Análisis Introducción: la fatiga europea

El próximo 1 de julio Portugal cederá la Presidencia de la UE a Eslovenia, que la ejercerá por segunda vez desde su adhesión a la Unión en 2004.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kosovo’s former president Hashim Thaci stepped down this month to face war crimes charges in The Hague. Thaci, a former high-ranking member of the Kosovo Liberation Army that fought against Serbia in the 1990s, was indicted by the Kosovo Specialist Chambers and Specialist Prosecutor’s Office (KSC & SPO), an unusual criminal court with a unique institutional setup.

Established through a constitutional amendment and parliamentary legislation, the KSC & SPO is part of Kosovo’s domestic court system. At the same time, it is heavily internationalized. Created in conjunction with the European Union and based in the Netherlands, the court is staffed by international judges and prosecutors and applies both Kosovar laws and international customary and human rights law when making its decisions.…  Seguir leyendo »

The Kosovo Specialist Chambers (KSC), approved by the Kosovo Parliament in 2015, are touted as a new and more promising attempt at delivering justice for unpunished war crimes. A series of previous courts – the International Criminal Tribunal for the former Yugoslavia (ICTY), the UN Interim Administration Mission in Kosovo (UNMIK) panels, local courts and the European Union Rule of Law Mission in Kosovo (EULEX) – have tried, but largely failed to bring perpetrators of war crimes to trial. The promise of the KSC to correct previous failures stands in their attributes as a hybrid court. Part of the Kosovo judiciary, but situated in the Hague and constituted of international judges only, the Chambers represent a new type of hybrid court that is supposed to combine the strength of international tribunals with the benefits of local ownership.…  Seguir leyendo »

Kosovo Albanians block roads on Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic’s planned route to the village of Banje on Sept. 9. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

My country, Kosovo, is being asked to make an impossible choice that would cheapen the sacrifice made by U.S. soldiers, undermine the stability of the region and threaten America’s allies. In the face of sustained attack from Serbia meant to undermine our sovereignty, security and prosperity, there are some who would like Kosovo to engage in so-called “peaceful” ethnic cleansing in the Balkans. This is a shortsighted attempt to give in to a bully in the hope that the bullying will stop. We will not do this — we will instead stand up against those who would seek to take advantage of us, while simultaneously working toward a long-lasting and comprehensive peace.…  Seguir leyendo »

Para estados jóvenes sin reconocimiento universal como Kosovo, participar en organizaciones, conferencias o competiciones deportivas internacionales mostrando al mundo sus enseñas nacionales es vital para su consolidación como actores soberanos. Aunque oficialmente el olimpismo pretenda "hacer un mundo mejor y más pacífico educando a los jóvenes con el deporte sin discriminación de ningún tipo en un espíritu de amistad y juego limpio", siempre ha sido la pasarela ideal para exhibir orgullo nacional y patriotismo, con frecuencia incompatibles con la proclamada solidaridad sin fronteras.

Sin llegar al extremo de George Orwell, que veía en el deporte internacional "guerras sin tiros", la obsesión por conquistar medallas y enarbolar banderas lo aproxima mucho al mundo bélico por la obsesiva búsqueda de unidad contra el enemigo hasta la victoria.…  Seguir leyendo »

En esta misma página publiqué el 13 de septiembre de 2007 un articulo titulado «El error Kosovo» en el que analizaba el proceso que había de culminar en la independencia del que había sido territorio integrante de la República Federal de Yugoslavia, y luego de Serbia, antes y después de la disolución del conjunto de Yugoslavia. En él reflejaba las consecuencias de la intervención militar de la OTAN que desde el 23 de Marzo del 99 hasta el 10 de Junio del mismo año había actuado en contra de la política de limpieza étnica practicada contra los albaneses en el territorio y lanzada contra el todavía líder serbio Slobodan Milosevic y recordaba que habiendo sido ese el motivo de la intervención, llevada a cabo sin autorización del Consejo de Seguridad, este mismo organismo, en su Resolución 1244 había establecido la obligación de respetar la integridad territorial y la independencia política de la República Federativa de Yugoslavia al intentar resolver el conflicto de Kosovo.…  Seguir leyendo »

Children ride bicycles next to a wall painted with the European Union flag last month in the southern Serbian town of Presevo. (Armend Nimani/AFP/Getty Images)

Serbia and Kosovo have been talking about a grand bargain to defuse lingering ethnic conflicts. Critics have been quick to weigh in. Some argue that the risks are simply too substantial for the international community to entertain the idea of “border adjustments,” or territorial exchanges, involving Serb-populated territories in northern Kosovo and Albanian-populated territories in southern Serbia, which is being subtly pushed by Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovar counterpart, Hashim Thaci.

The crux of the critics’ argument rests on the potential for spillover throughout the Balkans. If Belgrade and Pristina exchange territory, this will show Croats and Serbs in Bosnia that they, too, can find a way to secede and join their ethnic kin in Croatia and Serbia, breaking up Bosnia in the process.…  Seguir leyendo »

A man sits at a roadblock in Vojtesh, Kosovo, on Sept. 9. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

The leaders of Serbia and Kosovo are planning to swap territory. They say it will ease ethnic tensions and contribute to stability in the western Balkans. Some commentators and politicians think it is a great idea.

Don’t bet on it. The proposals present enormous risks — not only for the countries themselves but also for the broader region. Indeed, they could set an ominous precedent for leaders who harbor separatist ambitions.

What Kosovo President Hashim Thaci refers to as a “border adjustment” could easily prompt nationalists in this part of Europe to demand similar changes. It could offer destructive inspiration to Croatia, Albania, Bosnia and Macedonia, where nationalist movements and some of the leaders yearn to have their own ethnically homogeneous countries.…  Seguir leyendo »

1. Una ventana de oportunidad

Veinte años después del final de la guerra, cuarenta años después del comienzo del conflicto, serbios y albaneses kosovares están por fin negociando. Y parece que esta vez las negociaciones van por buena vía y que existen esperanzas fundadas de que las partes lleguen a un acuerdo basado en el reconocimiento serbio de la independencia de Kósovo, acompañado, quizá, por una corrección de fronteras en busca la máxima homogeneidad étnica de los dos estados.

Y no es tan raro como a primera vista parece. Hay, desde luego, conflictos que terminan con la victoria total de una parte y el aplastamiento de la otra, pero es mucho más frecuente que los conflictos concluyan con algún tipo de negociación.…  Seguir leyendo »

Discussions between Serbia and Kosovo about the possibility of agreeing on border adjustments to settle a solution to the current frozen situation will be ephemeral, a short-lived romance. Not because the presidents of both countries could not finally agree on a deal, but because Europeans suspect the return of ‘Balkan ghosts’. The proposal discomforts the European Union and its member states. International leaders and analysts have already demonised this option, condemned their consequences and warned that another tragedy might befall Balkan people.

The weekend of September 8 and 9, Serbia’s president, Aleksandar Vučić, made a trip to Kosovo. On Saturday, he visited the Gazivode Lake – located in the majority-Serb northwest region, which is strategic for the supply of water and electricity.…  Seguir leyendo »

A giant Serbian national flag was hung prior to the visit of Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic, to Gazivode Lake in Kosovo on September 8, 2018. Armend Nimani/Agence France-Presse — Getty Images

The Balkans remains in strategic limbo. Kosovo declared independence from Serbia 10 years ago, but Serbia has yet to come to terms with its loss — refusing to recognize Kosovo and stirring trouble between the country’s ethnic Serbs and the ethnic Albanian majority. Almost two decades after the NATO bombing campaign to drive Yugoslav forces from Kosovo, some 4,000 NATO troops remain there to keep the peace.

A breakthrough may now be in the making. It is a morally offensive one, but nonetheless the United States and the European Union should get behind it.

President Aleksandar Vucic of Serbia and President Hashim Thaci of Kosovo are apparently working on a proposal to engage in a land swap that could bring the simmering conflict to an end.…  Seguir leyendo »

Last month, national security adviser John Bolton said the United States “would not stand in the way” of a land swap deal between Serbia and Kosovo. Recent reports suggest the two countries are close to an agreement that would resolve one of Europe’s most challenging political standoffs since the end of the Cold War.

The plan would redraw the Serbia-Kosovo partition to allow a Serbian-speaking territory in Kosovo’s north to join Serbia, while an Albanian-speaking region in Serbia’s south would join Kosovo. The stakes are high: Resolving this impasse probably would pave the way for Kosovo to gain a seat at the United Nations.…  Seguir leyendo »

Students of Mehmet Akif College in Kosovo protest the arrest and deportation of their teachers in Kosovo’s capital Pristina on March 29. (Visar Kryeziu/AP)

On Thursday morning, six Turkish men who were living in Kosovo suddenly disappeared.

That afternoon, a Turkish state news agency published photos of the six looking disheveled and standing next to Turkish flags; it wasn’t clear where the pictures were taken. The news story accompanying the images said the men were high-ranking members of the Gulen movement, a former ally of the Turkish government that officials now accuse of trying to overthrow the state since at least 2013. The report claimed that the men had been “arrested” in an operation between Turkey’s National Intelligence Organization (MIT) and Kosovo’s intelligence agency, and that they had already been brought back to Turkey on a private plane.…  Seguir leyendo »

Célébration du dixième anniversaire de l'indépendance du Kosovo. Pristina, 17 février 2018. © Visar Kryeziu/AP Photo

2008-2018: il a beaucoup été question ces derniers temps du dixième anniversaire de la proclamation unilatérale d’indépendance du Kosovo, le 17 février 2008. L’Europe d’alors, à peine remise de l’effondrement du mur de Berlin en 1989, croyait les frontières nationales enfin stabilisées. Que nenni!

La dernière des guerres balkaniques avait consacré le divorce entre le Kosovo et la Serbie. Désormais placé sous le protectorat de la communauté internationale (Union européenne et ONU), le Kosovo se soustrait à cette ambivalente tutelle et se dote d’une Constitution. L’Europe doit compter avec un nouvel Etat. Mais, au-delà du cas kosovar, que nous disent les turbulences qui ont frappé l’ex-Europe de l’Est et qui défraient la chronique aujourd’hui encore?…  Seguir leyendo »

The trouble in the Balkans today is not Russian meddling, though there is some of that, but a special case of the malaise afflicting Eastern Europe: unchecked executive power, erosion of the rule of law, xenophobia directed at neighbours and migrants and pervasive economic insecurity. The pattern varies from country to country but is palpable from Szczecin on the Baltic to Istanbul on the Bosporus. The countries of the Western Balkans – Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Kosovo, Macedonia, Montenegro, and Serbia – have long tended to follow patterns set by their larger, more powerful neighbours. They are doing it again.

The ability of the European Union (EU) to fix problems in the Balkans is hamstrung when the same troubles persist within its own borders, sometimes in more acute form.…  Seguir leyendo »

A Serbian nationalist mural in the Serbian area of Mitrovica, Kosovo, in February. Credit Pierre Crom/Getty Images

For centuries, dark forces of history have found the Balkans a suitable proxy region for unleashing grand plans for global prominence and competition. Now, after two decades of stability and prospects for a prosperous future, Serbia again is returning to an old vocation — seeking regional hegemony. It is doing so by destabilizing the Balkans, expanding its own military and working toward economic dominance of a regional common market that Kosovo finds unacceptable and strongly opposes — all of this with Russia looking over Serbia’s shoulder.

Russia is clearly using Serbia not just to regain a foothold in the Balkans, but also to seek vengeance on NATO, the United States and the West with schemes to restore the regional prominence it lost when the Soviet empire collapsed.…  Seguir leyendo »