In Kosovo, both parts, no matter if they recognize themselves – and they actually don’t recognize each other – entered a process of “pacification” – even far from positive peace and proper “confidence” – because one of the conditions was that: if you need to go into EU, then you must dialogue. Kosovo is not internationally recognized (108 out of 192 UN States), but has the right to negotiate its ASA (Association and Stabilization Agreement) with the EU and effectively succeeded to get its ASA in October 2015.
This is a very important step, as Kosovo is now in its second phase, even frozen in the last position, on the list of accessing the EU, especially after Kosovo got its EC approval for visa liberalization in April 2016. Kosovo faces European integration by merits, visa liberalization having reduced the amount of corruption, criminality and vulnerability, and, finally, European accession as a consequence of getting a democratic profile, a functioning rule of law and a – universally fair – social market-based economy.
Society in Kosovo needs, first of all, to dialogue between each other, then, when it will be prepared to dialogue with the neighbours, there will be a proper one, since dialogue is the only way to settle the problems and to face the issues when they raise. You see frozen conflicts all around the world, but if you want to remain frozen in Europe as well, this is not the ground to do, according to the international law. Dialogue should be the European path pre-requisite and the confidence building pre-assumption.
That’s the reason why different social stakeholders are for dialogue, but with premises, after criteria are fulfilled. Kosovo succeeded in doing constructive compromises, at least on certain issues. For example, the so-called “footnote-issue”: Kosovo will be represented in international sessions as Kosovo «without prejudice to positions on status and in line with the United Nations Security Council’s Resolution 1244/1999 and the International Court of Justice’s Opinion on Kosovo Declaration of Independence»; or the external representation of Kosovo; or the re-establishing of Serb institutions in the form of a “Community of Serb Municipalities”, which is a promising step for authonomy, ownership and dialogue.
It’s not a formal but a substantial issue, since Kosovo already accepted the Athisaari Plan (the 2007 status proposal which, even not mentioning the word “independence”, included several provisions widely interpreted as implying statehood as extensive self-government for Kosovo, such as the right to apply for membership in international organizations, to create a Kosovo Security Force and to adopt national symbols) and adopted it as a base for the Kosovo Constitution (2008), which declares the self-proclaimed “Republic of Kosovo” as «an independent, sovereign, democratic, unique and indivisible state», «a state of its citizens» and having «no territorial claims against and … no union with any State».
The decisive Bruxelles Agreements (2013) place themselves outside the prescriptions of the Athisaari pack and have a relevant value, since they open rooms for needs fulfilling and reciprocity restoring in a quite stable frame, “both sides” accepted. Nevertheless, the implementation of the agreements and the establishment of a territorially authonomous “Community of Serb Municipalities” will be not simple and the process of negotiating rounds is quite complicated, because both parts are pretty unsatisfied, there is a general perception of latent violence and permanent injustice and also a common need to fix pre-conditions and criteria for dialogue, also to properly go on such a European path.
You see Serbia many steps forward in its road to EU, also thanks to the opening of the first negotiation chapters (35 and 32) with EU, while Kosovo is a “newborn” State, so it needs years for institutions to consolidate properly and leadership to drive better. If politics will stand and politicians continue to act in the current way, it will be hard to see any step forward and to admire a mature awareness on rights and duties. The hope is in the future everything will go in a better way, Kosovo will go towards EU, respecting UN resolutions and international law; but it’s not simple Kosovo can effectively do that, according to the actual contradictions and the weakness in political leaderhip, democracy and rule of law.
Kosovo is a young society, has lots of youth and huge potential, especially in youth capacities to overcome the challenges. As Ibrahim Rugova said, «Kosovo richness relies onto youth and mines». Youth uses to think in a positive way, as problems are not threats but challenges, so you see Kosovo now to look into the future; but, to do so, Kosovo has to do on itself, to have more stable institutions and economy, to welcome the European values and goals and to be “European” by effective merits. In future, Kosovo democracy will improve, more people join Kosovo society, more business to invest and organizations to share projects, backing multi-ethnic communities to overcome problems and issues.