Was the Western Balkan summit in Berlin, convened by Merkel and Macron, a fiasco or the first step in the European takeover of the initiative to resolve the conflicts between Belgrade and Pristina? The German press has opposing views on the matter.
“Is there anything more boring than the European Union summit dedicated to the Western Balkan countries?” the conservative Die Welt asks.
The daily goes on to say that “Angela Merkel and Emanuel Macron have made it clear to Vladimir Putin and Donald Trump that the Balkans is Europe’s sphere of interest and that Europe does not want anyone from outside to meddle. Now, the EU must demonstrate that it is truly capable of resolving the remaining conflicts in the region itself. When Yugoslavia dismantled in 1991, the then Luxembourg Foreign Minister, Jacques Poos said that the time has come for Europe to show up. So conceited! It is a well-known fact that the EU has proven incapable of preventing wars in the Balkans and that they stopped only after the United States and NATO intervened.”
“Bosnia and Herzegovina would fall apart that it wasn’t actually an EU protectorate while Serbia and Kosovo are waging a cold war. This must end because both Serbia and Kosovo should one day become EU members. And this is exactly what Putin wants to prevent. He wants to pull Serbia away from the influence of the West and create another growing conflict at the border of Europe.”
“Is the EU yet again acting conceited if it is forced to prevent playing with fire? It’s not. The fact that Merkel and Marcon had organized the summit in Berlin on behalf of the Union once again shows that the EU’s centre of power has been moved from Brussels to the Council of the President and Prime Minister who have the legitimacy and the means to pursue a robust policy.”
“And the calls for the next summit in Paris show that this council – in particular Macron – wants to take advantage of the fact that it was time for Europe to act,” the Die Welt writes.
“However, Kosovars think that America must take part in the negotiations, and Serbia is introducing its former ally Russia to the game. But the EU seems determined to solve its own problems, and then, if necessary, receive the blessings from America and Russia. If the EU wants to be taken seriously in world politics, it must demonstrate that it is, at least able, to bring order into its own yard. “
In the article titled “Recognition of Failure”, left-wing daily Neues Deutschland says that Germany and France “were not victorious” at the Berlin summit. “Neither Macron nor Merkel obviously has a concept for negotiations except for both of them appealing for both sides to show good will and a rather adventurous proposal devised by (Johannes) Hahn for both countries quickly join the European Union.”
“Serbia is pushing hard in the EU, but it still does not recognize Kosovo as a state, and is therefore under pressure from Brussels – without recognition of Kosovo there is no chance of membership. These clear statements from Brussels could be also called blackmail, ” the paper said.
Kosovo President Thaci echoes EU propositions, such as land swap with Serbia, with ease. Thaci believes he can afford it. In fact, he can, because what else does he need? Although Kosovo is still not in the EU, it has long been in the Eurozone. The EU pays a third of Kosovo’s budget and this percentage is growing. Calls for compromise from the European Union, such as those sent to Serbia, do not register anymore. In addition, Thaci demands that the negotiations be helmed by the United States. Macron and Merkel’s silence on this issue is a recognition of their failure.”
“Merkel and Macron did not have much to offer at the Western Balkans summit,” writes Berlin’s Tagesspiegel and adds:” The EU can only preserve its influence if it offers countries in the region a credible prospect of joining the European Union one day.”
“But that’s where the problem lies. The EU nations are tired of enlargement, as are their governments, mainly the French one, “Tagesspiegel adds.
This post is also available in: Italiano