EU foreign policy chief Federica Mogherini is in the Balkans, on a mission more difficult than the one that resulted in the US-Iran nuclear deal.
That is what Denis MacShane, former British minister for Europe, wrote in an opinion piece published on the euractive.com website.
According to this, Mogherini is in the region that remains Europe’s most problematic “more than 20 years after the worst post-war mass murder of innocent citizens at Srebrenica.”
“Foreign ministers and leaders from the big EU countries have gradually lost interest in helping the Western Balkans find a way out of their enduring conflicts. As long as there is no war or violence Berlin, London, Paris and Rome switch off. Instead it is down to Mogherini to try and show that Europe has a foreign policy that can bring a final peace settlement to the region of Europe,” writes MacShane.
According to him, the 1990s “showed how nationalism could spiral into open war and more than a million asylum-seekers cascaded across the Alps.”
Mogherini is “not helped by EU member states like Spain which refuse to recognize Kosovo even as 120 UN states now have,” the former British official says, adding that “the fiction that Kosovo is some kind of integral part of Serbia that has temporarily left rule by Belgrade can no longer be asserted with a straight face.”
Furthermore – “Greece also makes life as hard as possible for Europe with its nationalist rejection of the right of Macedonians to fly under their own name.”
But the main problem for Mogherini, writes he, “remains Serb revanchism.”
“Backed by the Kremlin which via Belgrade seeks to become a Western Balkans player, Serb nationalists encourage Serb minorities in both Bosnia and Kosovo to refuse all cooperation to make these two small successor states function properly (…) Serbs were also involved plotting in Montenegro with allegation of Russian backed murder attempts on Montenegrin political leaders. There is a presidential election in Serbia and most candidates for office play the Serbia-as-victim card and back a hard line on Kosovo and Bosnia (…) no Serb leader has emerged ready to tell that truth to the Serb nation,” writes MacShane.
He concludes the article by saying that “if Mogherini can return to Brussels and persuade her fellow EU leaders to re-think policy on travel to and from the Balkans she will have made real progress in a region where the future is on hold and held hostage by nationalism.”