Kosovo’s foreign policy

Marc Weller Marc Weller 04 shkurt 2018 14:15

In this series of articles Marc Weller considers the dilemmas of Kosovo’s foreign policy. Part I chronicles recent adventurism in Kosovo’s foreign policy pronouncements. Part II addresses some of the constraints that will continue to shape its approach to external relations. Finally, Part III considers some of the practical challenges that will arise in key areas of foreign policy over the next year or two.

Marc Weller is Professor of International Law and International Constitutional Studies in the University of Cambridge. He served as a key advisor for Kosovo in the Rambouillet and Ahtisaari negotiations on Kosovo’s states. Since then he has served a senior legal and policy advisor to many governments, the United Nations and the Council of Europe. He is author, editor or co-editor of some 25 books, including “Shetestesia e kontesturar: Administraimi nderkombetar i luftes se Kosoves per pavaresi” (Koha Publishing 2009), which had a strong impact on the ruling of the International Court of Justice in the Kosovo case.

The author gratefully acknowledges the comments received from Mr Adrian Zeqiri, Executive Director of ECMI Kosovo. The views expressed are his own alone and not attributable to any government, organization or institution.

PART I: Kosovo’s Foreign Policy Meltdown

In a few weeks, Kosovo will celebrate its 10th anniversary as an independent state. There is some reason for celebration. After all, the small, landlocked territory inhabited by somewhat less than 2 million, has consolidated its existence.

This, in itself, is no small achievement. Kosovo has survived a legal challenge to its existence in the International Court of Justice at The Hague and a concerted campaign by Serbia, from which it seceded in 2008, to leave it internationally isolated.

Instead of suffering from international isolation, Kosovo can point to 114 recognitions from other governments around the world. However, much of this success is now being placed in jeopardy by an increasingly erratic and nationalistic foreign policy which Kosovo can ill afford. In addition to its vulnerable international position, Kosovo will need to continue its reliance on considerable international financial assistance.

Education, health and social services lag behind other states of the region. Unemployment has remained unacceptably high, impelling those with initiative and drive to seek their fortune abroad. The development of an honest and vibrant business community is hampered by instances of corruption and political patronage that extends to the awarding of publicly funded contracts.

After NATO’s war against Serbia of 1999, the UN administered the territory for close to a decade. It was easy then to blame international bureaucracy and inefficiencies for the ills in Kosovo. Since independence, this option has gone and the reasons for failure have to be found at home.

One source of ill for Kosovo lies in the odd tension between political instability and permanence of existing arrangements. The past elections in Kosovo have resulted in deadlock and fragile coalitions. This is in part due to the fact that a significant number of seats in Kosovo’s small parliament are pre-assigned to representatives of Kosovo’s minorities, including in particular the ethnic Serb community. This constellation makes it difficult for any mainstream party to win an outright majority.

However, despite the difficulties in forming governing coalitions, the political figures at the helm of the state have not changed. There seems to be a perennial cast of characters, most of whom can trace their lineage back to the time of resistance to Serb oppression in the 1990s and to the war of 1999.

  • For the Albanian version, click HERE

You can read the full series of Weller’s opinions, published in “Koha Ditore”, below:

© KOHA. Të gjitha të drejtat janë të rezervuara.

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