Insight Turkey
Insight Turkey
Challenging ideas
On Turkish politics and International affairs

Insight Turkey > Early View |

The Proposed Territorial Exchange between Serbia and Kosovo

Serbia and Kosovo have initiated a process of territorial exchange that could have serious repercussions, both in the Western Balkans and internationally. Historically speaking, territorial exchanges have a mixed record. In some instances, these projects have inaugurated periods of protracted cooperation and reconciliation. However, on a number of occasions, such agreements have had devastating consequences and have led to carnage, violence, and ethnic cleansing. Whereas Serbia and Kosovo have the sovereign and democratic right to engage in a genuine dialogue and decide on adjustments to their borders, it is important for the international community to pay close attention to the dynamics of the process and to consider the stability and security of the wider region should this project materialize.

The Proposed Territorial Exchange between Serbia and Kosovo
The map shows the exchange of territory between Kosovo and Serbia as discussed by the leaders of the two countries.
 

Vučić’s Proposal

 In February 2018, former U.S. President Bill Clinton congratulated the people of Kosovo on the 10th anniversary of their independence from Serbia. By way of a warning, he emphasized the fact that the youngest country in Europe needed to strengthen the rule of law and the protection of minorities.That same year in July, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić reintroduced the old idea of an exchange of territories between his country and Kosovo. According to this scheme, Belgrade would acquire direct control over the northern part of Kosovo and, in return, Serbia would recognize the independence of its former autonomous province and compensate Pristina by ceding three towns in southern Serbia –Bujanovac, Medvedja and Presevo– to Kosovo. Needless to say, Vučić’s proposal provoked a flurry of negative reactions, both internationally and domestically. In Kosovo, the plan has gained some traction with President Hashim Thaçi; on the other hand, Prime Minister Ramush Haradinaj and various opposition groups have vehemently opposed the idea, stating that such a land swap could trigger a local war.In Serbia, the plan was immediately rejected by the Serbian Orthodox Church and by nationalist parties such as the Serbian Radical Party and the Dveri Movement. Among Serbs, an opinion poll conducted in October 2018 found that, while a majority of Serbs favored direct talks between Serbian and Kosovar government officials, 61 percent opposed ceding the Presevo valley, where the three towns with large Albanian populations are located, and 76 percent opposed Serbian recognition of Kosovo.Internationally, the idea also received mixed reactions. The U.S. administration did not oppose the project, but within the EU, no consensus was reached. The German government expressed negative attitudes regarding Vučić’s plan, while the E

Already have an account? Sign In.
Print Subscription
4 Print Issues
Subscribe
Digital Subscription
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe
Premium Subscription
4 Print Issues
4 Digital Issues
Subscribe

Labels »  

We use cookies in a limited and restricted manner for specific purposes. For more details, you can see "our data policy". More...