In theory, both sides must recognise each other’s ‘rights’ – which means that Serbia must recognise Kosovo – because Brussels is not going to have two hostile members joining its hygienic ranks
Who won the war? There are a few ruins left from the NATO bombing of 1998, and outside the parliament building in Belgrade – of “Serbian democracy”, more later – there is a long banner containing the photographs of the Serbs who were killed in Kosovo two decades ago. Men, women children, civilians and soldiers and, of course, the occasional war criminal or two, or three.
NATO was not exactly surgery-clean in its air strikes, and the “UCK terrorists” (Kosovar Muslim militia) killed civilians and – a point to be remembered here – the mass dead of Kosovo itself (from both mass murders by Serbs and promiscuous air strikes by NATO) have no place on this record of suffering.
So it was a relief to see that Aleksander Vucic, former sympathiser of Saddam Hussein, and Hashem Thaci, former “terrorist” chieftain in Kosovo, could meet in the EU’s offices in Brussels last month as presidents of their respective countries to be told that a legally binding agreement between them was “key for their respective European paths [sic] and essential for sustainable regional stability”.
Will Vucic hold a referendum for Serbs “so that the people can decide”? But how can he ask that when he said just over a week ago that “there is nothing good about Kosovo that we can get and offer to the people; just trouble and hard things…”
It sounded like blood, sweat and tears in reverse. The referendum, in EU terms, sounds even worse. Didn’t Serbia hold a rather bloody referendum 20 years ago when it decided to fight for Kosovo – and for a rather dotty dictator called Slobodan Milosevic? And after a UK referendum on leaving the EU, who wants a referendum on a bloodbath to get into the EU?