EU Membership for Land Swap: Serbia Seeks to Secure its European Future

Written by | Monday, September 17th, 2018

Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic is seeking an EU membership guarantee for his country as part of the deal with neighbouring Kosovo. A mutual agreement between the two Balkan countries could pave the way to the European Union for both of them, whereby Serbia is hoping for 2025 entry. Serbia and Kosovo committed to Brussels-mediated talks that should lead to the recognition of Kosovo by Serbia and to an overall thaw in the relations between the two neighbours. Not much progress has been made since 2013 when this commitment was made.

“If we ever reach an agreement (with Pristina), Serbia would need to get clear guarantees that it would become an EU member state in 2025,” Mr. Vucic commented. Aleksandar Vucic and his Kosovan counterpart Hashim Thaci unexpectedly called off a face-to-face meeting in the EU capital set for 7 September, where they were supposed to discuss the rumored land swap. The Serbian head of state said that it could take up to a decade for Belgrade and Pristina to reach a deal due to many problematic areas.

“Sometimes I smile when I hear how people simplify things and say that the deal comes down to a line – I will give you three villages and I will get six villages (in return),” he said and added that “if we were ever to reach a deal (with Pristina), it would have to be an overall deal that would include not only relations between us and the Albanians in Kosovo, but it would also have to include a resolution of our EU path and further economic progress”.

The proposed land swap would see the northern part of Kosovo, populated mainly by Serbs, given to Serbia while Kosovo would get control of southern Serbia, which is mostly populated by Albanians. Kosovo proclaimed independence in 2008 and is currently recognized by 110 states, though there are five EU member states that do not recognize it.


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