While the war in Ukraine has been raging for the past six months, another conflict is emerging on the European continent. This time, the Balkan region is the focus of concern.
High tensions between Kosovo and Serbia
NATO reported alarming news on 31 July that ‘KFOR is prepared to intervene if the stability of northern Kosovo is jeopardised’. The organisation is referring to its contingent, which has been stationed in the country since 1999 and is mandated by the UN.
The Kosovo police were targeted by Serbian gunfire. The cause was the setting up of barricades at the country's border on roads leading to Serbia. A new government border policy is at the origin of this altercation, reports Le Parisien.
Soon a new war in Europe?
These barricades are an attempt by Pristina, the capital of Kosovo, to limit the entry of Serbs into their territory, by forcing them to present a temporary document when they enter. In return, Albin Kurti, the Serbian Prime Minister, demands the same from the Kosovars, as Serbia does not recognise Pristina's independence, which was declared in 2008. The Serbs of Kosovo thus remain loyal to Belgrade and are financially dependent on it.
The tensions between the two republics are at an all-time high. Aleksandar Vucic, the Serbian president, said that the situation in Kosovo 'has never been so complex' for the Serbs living there. He also said that 'Serbia will win' if it is attacked. The Serbian Prime Minister accused his opponent of triggering 'unrest' and said that 'the next hours, days and weeks may be difficult and problematic'.
NATO on alert
From a European point of view, Kosovo announced in July that it wanted to apply to join the European Union. Serbia, which has been a candidate for 10 years, is in an unclear position with regard to Russia's invasion of Ukraine. Although it has officially denounced the invasion, it has not adhered to the sanctions against Moscow. It has also just signed a three-year contract with Vladimir Putin to be supplied with Russian gas.
This article was translated from Oh!MyMag FR.