Western Balkans: It is not through border changes and territorial swaps that relations between countries get normalised
The Liberal and Democrat Group in the European Parliament welcomes the recent efforts made by Serbia and Kosovo aimed at normalising relations between the two neighbours, but is concerned about considerations to adjust borders and exchange territories.
ALDE Group leader, Guy Verhofstadt, said reconciliation, peace and stability of the Western Balkans must remain a priority for all actors in the region:
“It is not through border changes and land swaps that you improve relations between countries in Western Balkans. On the contrary: the only way to guarantee long term stability and prosperity is working on real reconciliation among communities, overcoming ethnical divisions and advancing a credible and gradual integration into the European project. The recent green light by the European Parliament for visa-free travel for Kosovo is one supportive step in this process."
ALDE MEP, Ivo Vajgl (DeSUS, Slovenia), member of Delegation to the EU-Serbia Stabilisation and Association Parliamentary Committee, added:
“Ideas about redrawing borders and "exchanges of populations" have always triggered conflicts and wars in South Eastern Europe. Projects like these can only undermine the Euro-Atlantic integration prospects of all Western Balkan countries. The key issue as regards inter-ethnic relations is the appropriate protection of national minorities.”
The next meeting between Kosovan President, HashimTadic and Serbian President, Aleksandar Vučić, is scheduled to take place on Friday, in Brussels, as part of the dialogue on the normalisation of relations between Belgrade and Pristina.