Balkans Monitor 2/3/2023

Vanessa Tinker

This Monitor focuses on the most recent agreement on the normalization of relations reached between Kosovo and Serbia in Ohrid 18 March 2023, hailed by some as a major “historic breakthrough”, while others remain either cautious, or outright pessimistic that little if anything will change. First, a brief background on the EU’s past attempts to normalize relations between Kosovo and Serbia is provided. Then it discusses how Russia’s war in Ukraine has increased the urgency to revamp the dialogue process as part of a larger EU effort to engage with the Western Balkans, not only in terms of membership enlargement, but also to improve geopolitical, security, and economic ties to counter Russia and China’s influence. Finally, it assesses the obstacles and challenges that remain and what is needed to ensure that the agreement is successfully implemented.