How NATO membership has become a necessity for the Western Balkans

This must sound as a non-starter. More than a decade ago, Serbia proclaimed itself military neutral, first in order to appease the more nationalist, Eurosceptic parties in the government. It has followed the course ever since, both as an aspect and asset of its policy to counter and contest Kosovo’s bid for statehood. Bosnia and Herzegovina lost eight years following its Presidency’s request to activate the Membership Action Plan (MAP). And even if it was reasonable and in line with NATO practice back then, the condition to have all military facilities owned by the state and not by its entities has effectively given Banja Luka an excuse to stall on the issue of membership. Finally in December last year, National Assembly of Republika Srpska (RS) adopted its own Resolution on (protection of constitutional order and) military neutrality. In art. 5 it is explicitly stated that “RS (…) will coordinate any future status with Republic of Serbia as signatory of Dayton Peace Agreement”.

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Fmr envoy for Bosnia, Kosovo: A solution is possible

A possible territory swap between Kosovo and Serbia within an agreement on normalisation of their relations would change nothing, said Wolfgang Petritsch, Austrian diplomat and former special envoy for Kosovo and Bosnia and Herzegovina.

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A Balkan border change the West should welcome

Europe has an intense and understandable fear of changing national boundaries. But discussions about a land swap between Kosovo and Serbia, which have been in a simmering conflict for two decades, deserve careful support.

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