Reconciliation without Forgiveness: The EU in Promoting Postwar Cooperation in Serbia and Kosovo
Whan, Alexander Steven
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This paper examines the role and depth of interstate reconciliation in the postwar relationship between Serbia and Kosovo via their interactions with the European Union. Examined within this paper are models of interstate reconciliation, historical examples of this phenomenon, and the unique position that the European Union holds in terms of its leverage over both countries. Provided first in the paper is a section dealing with the historical importance of Kosovo within Serbian national mythology, the gradual deterioration of ethnic relations during the breakup of Yugoslavia, the eventual outbreak of war and Kosovo's independence, and the subsequent normalization of ties between Belgrade and Pristina. The paper continues to examine several different scholarly frameworks for defining and identifying the concept of interstate reconciliation—that is, its meaning, its components, and its processes—and synthesize them into a useable model for the Serbia-Kosovo relationship. Explored further are the historical cases of post-World War II Germany/Poland, Japan/China, and Turkey/Armenia as precedents for future reconciliation. Serbia and Kosovo are then themselves placed on this established spectrum, and different factors examined as explanations, including a concerted effort by the government of Prime Minister Aleksandar Vučić to chart a course of European integration for Serbia. The conclusion of the paper offers an examination of and recommendations for European Union policy in Serbia and Kosovo with the aim of fostering a process of interstate reconciliation and setting the foundation for sustainable peace in the Balkans. The EU holds a great deal of leverage over both Serbia and Kosovo and finds itself in a position to act as a security guarantor as both nations learn to coexist within the larger European community.