Vucic under pressure to „normalize” relations with Kosovo

The war on Ukraine has brought debate, uncertainty—and winners and losers—in the region, but Serbia appears set to be a winner, with investment interest coming from western investors eager to find less expensive targets with promising upside, as well as from Russian companies equally eager to relocate to a business-neutral (yet familiar) destination.

Yet this also brings controversy—and lobbying—as Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic once again learned with the receipt of a joint letter from German Chancellor Olaf Scholz and French President Emmanuelle Macron, both caught between a growing energy crisis and the need to create a joint front in Ukraine.

The letter, covered in various regional and international media, noted timeliness of security issues in Europe and prodded Vucic to work toward lessening tensions between Kosovo and the EU in order to create dialogue and “a full normalization” of relations between the two countries.
This is hardly the first time that some level of normalization has been urged, as Scholz made a similar push back in May. A difference is perhaps that Macron and Scholz now urged Vucic to make a “maximum” effort to solve an impasse existing since Serbia’s refusal to recognize Kosovo’s independence in 2008.

Both Macron and Scholz have reportedly now sent advisors to aid Miroslav Lajcak, the special representative for the EU, in the matter, and at least some progress has been noted in the form of Serbia relaxing entry and exit formalities for Kosovo citizens.

That said, the Kosovo government has held firm on the need to replace Serbian issued license plates and ID cards for those residing in Kosovo, which—some believe—has been the real cause behind recent Serbian military exercises along the border. Likewise, much has been made over the past two years of de facto trade barriers between the two states, not to mention tensions nearby in Bosnia and Herzegovina with regard to ethnic troubles going back to the previous war.

But maybe a letter will do the trick.

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