Nearly two decades after the end of the last war in the Western Balkans, the word “balkanization” may soon no longer apply to the region. Finally, all the countries resulting from the breakup of Yugoslavia have a realistic chance of joining the European Union. But for them to seize this opportunity and find lasting peace, some latent conflicts must be resolved, the one between Serbia and Kosovo being the most intractable among them.
In August, Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovar counterpart Hashim Thaci appeared together at a press conference in Austria – something they had never done before – to talk about a possible compromise between the former mother state and the breakaway region. It was a hopeful moment, but everyone who invested in the Balkans, that is to say all the major countries of Europe, as well as the United States, China and the petrostates of Middle East, will need a lot more patience before this hope translates into tangible results.