Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic confirmed his critics' worst fears by proposing the partition of Kosovo, which his opponents claim amounts to an unconstitutional sell-out of this historic territory. This so-called "solution" isn't anything new but received renewed interest following the December 2016 publication of former British diplomat Timothy Less' provocative article for Foreign Affairs titled "Dysfunction in the Balkans", where he asserted that the entire region must be partitioned along ethnic lines in order to supposedly "stabilize" it. This is a very dangerous idea that risks opening Pandora's Box even further than it already is and catalyzing an uncontrollable chain reaction of irredentism, but it's nevertheless the course of action that the Serbian leader has seemingly decided on when it comes to Kosovo.
President Vucic's EU partners demand that Serbia make progress on "normalizing" its relations with the breakaway cradle of its civilization that was forcibly dislodged from the state by NATO and is nowadays mostly populated by ethnic Albanians if it ever desires to join the bloc, so it was predictable that the country's Europhile leader would take a step in this direction sooner than later. It takes two to tango, however, and his de-facto counterpart in Kosovo, Hashim Thaci, isn't willing to dance, declaring that "there will be no partition of Kosovo and no autonomy for Serbs." The Albanian leader also laid claim to some of the Serbian borderland areas that his ethnic compatriots inhabit and said that they should be placed under the control of his political entity as part of a final peace agreement.
Despite the unwillingness of Kosovo's so-called "authorities" to cooperate with his partition plan, President Vucic seems totally undeterred and is eager to put the general issue to a national referendum even though the Serbian Constitution describes the Province of Kosovo and Metohija as an integral and constituent part of the country. Furthermore, the supreme law of the land says that the country's borders are inseparable, indivisible, and inviolable, though President Vucic could try to amend the document if Serbs signal their support for this move through the proposed referendum. The country is therefore in a conundrum because the government wants to resolve the Kosovo issue once and for all in order to make progress on its EU membership bid but reports indicate that the people are dead set against this.
Andrew Korybko is joined by Stevan Gajic, PhD in political science who works at the Institute of European Studies in Belgrade and Vukashin Mileusnic, political analyst and commentator from Belgrade.
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