June 13, 2018  |  Updated June 18, 2018

West Side Story

By Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies

The Center for Euro-Atlantic Studies (CEAS) from Belgrade publishes the new report, West Side Story, in which the proposal to correct the administrative line between Serbia and Kosovo which would go more or less along the present four municipalities in the north of Kosovo (Northern Mitrovica, Zvecan, Zubin Potok and Leposavici) inhabited mainly by the Serbian population, as motivation for reaching a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations was presented, bearing in mind that the current format of negotiations under the auspices of the EU has reached a complete standstill.

CEAS suggests that negotiations on correcting the administrative line between Serbia and Kosovo are organized in a format under the auspices of the West. The correction would be immediately followed by a comprehensive agreement on the normalization of relations. CEAS suggests this should be done in a wider format, in the presence of Albania, Macedonia, Montenegro, Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia, where Serbia’s border disputes with Bosnia and Herzegovina and Croatia and possibly some others could be resolved, as well as other open issues that emerged as a consequence of the disintegration of former Yugoslavia and the wars of the 1990s, above all the issues of missing people and of the continuation of regional cooperation in implementing mechanisms of transitional justice.

This Study estimates that progress in the normalization of the relations between Serbia and Kosovo will improve cooperation between countries of the Western Balkan in the domain of security and defense, which is extremely important in the light of new regional and global challenges and series of threats from a potential new refugee-migrant wave to the growing malign influence of Russia in the region. Any improvement of regional cooperation in these regards would reduce possible spillover effects to the EU and NATO.

Further, it is estimated that the presented proposal is the fastest potentially feasible scenario, compatible with the starting principles of NATO’s air campaign against former Federal Republic of Yugoslavia and with the reasons behind the implementation of Kosovo’s new status which would, among other things, contribute to bridging the geopolitical divide between NATO’s Eastern and Southern Flank.

CEAS believes that by showing readiness to support the approach outlined in this report, current administration of the United States, as a key NATO member state, would demonstrate its standard ability to implement new, advanced circumstances in the field, an uncompromising stand towards the Kremlin, its support to EU, and above all maturity in considering ways to strengthen NATO’s cohesion without making major political or financial concessions.

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