In Search of Consensus: A proposal

December 19, 2017

It is now a year since the Brussels Dialogue has been in stagnating phase. At the moment, there are no new agreements, and those that have been reached are either facing difficulties in the implementation phase or are not being implemented at all. What is more, occasional moments of drama and tension have characterized the dialogue process. For example, last winter has been heavily marked by stern confrontations between Kosovo and Serbia; only during the months of December 2016 and January 2017 there have been several public clashes, not only in the form of inciting statements that are considered to be “daily politics for internal consumption”, but also with actions that in few instances could have escalated the situation into something major than mere nationalist rhetoric and propaganda.

The lack of progress and intensification of confrontations between Kosovo and Serbia has thus created a favorable environment for the international community to take into consideration demands for an overall rethinking of the process. Hence, the international community seems now open (as well as adamant) towards changes to the Brussels Dialogue, especially since the leaders of both Kosovo and Serbia are supportive of key substantial changes. Consequently, for several months there has been a public discussion regarding what kind of format could the new dialogue have, and whether there should be a change in the content of the dialogue itself.

In Kosovo, proposals include the transfer of the dialogue under the leadership of the Kosovo President, formation of a new Unity Team similar to the ones that participated in the status talks in Rambouillet (1999) and Vienna (2007), transfer of responsibilities for the Brussels Dialogue to the Kosovo Parliament, or management of the process under a mandate to the Kosovo Government with parliamentary oversight.

So far, every proposal not only has its natural supporters but also fierce opponents, and generally none seems to be supported by majority of political parties and Kosovar society. What must be pointed out is that a large number of the above-mentioned proposals do not have a plausible political majority in parliament. In addition, the fact that the time for decision-making appears to be quickly expiring with the European Union showing signs of impatience with both parties, poses a significant threat to the process of European integration for both countries.

For Albanian version of the Policy Analysis, please click here.

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