In a week during which Serbia is taking part in predictably difficult talks in Brussels with Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic announced that the country will indeed accede to protesters and local opposition parties and hold new elections, with these taking place no later than March 2, 2024.
Speaking in Nis Sept. 12, Vucic stated that with regard to an actual date, Serbs will find out “by the end of the month,” and that elections could in fact take place sooner.
Serbian opposition parties have demanded that elections be held by the end of December.
Meanwhile, Vucic has his hands full this week, as he is scheduled to meet Kurti on Thursday in what all sides see as difficult talks on the potential “normalization” of Kosovo-Serb relations. Both sides have been at loggerheads essentially since the war in Kosovo, but last year and in the spring once again there were heightened tensions with Serbia moving troops to the border and Vucic formally requesting KFOR to allow Serb troops to enter Kosovo in order to protect the rights of ethnic Serbs in North Kosovo.
This was largely seen as no more than grandstanding, but there is little doubt that the US and EU would like to see calm in the Balkans. Likewise, Serbia is ostensibly still on track to join the EU, possibly by 2030, although EU representatives—especially the Germans and French—have long wanted Serbia to toe the line and recognize Kosovo as an independent state.
Which is highly unlikely to say the least.
Serbs protest against violence and the government in May 2023. Photo by Voice of America, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons.