Una Hajdari, Western Balkan reporter for Politico Europe.

Parallel Problems That Challenge The EU 

From Kosovo to Ukraine: Serbia and Russia exploited ethnic tensions to wage wars. Their legacy is an EU headache.

First Kosovo and now Ukraine have thrust the European Union into uncharted territory, stretching the bloc’s foreign policy prowess in ways that no one imagined when it was formed decades ago. As the EU grapples with the challenges presented by these two nations, it is not only giving the lie to its bureaucratic image but is outpacing the United Nations and, at times, even NATO. Its proactive stance in dealing with the two main security and stability concerns on its borders could elevate the EU to unparalleled levels of influence surprising even its most ardent supporters. How the two are dealt with will be a signal not only for the future of the two countries but the EU itself.

„Returning Kosovo to Serbia . . . would risk again destabilising the region.“

Una Hajdari

With the EU still primarily an economic union during the Yugoslav wars of the early 1990s, it struggled to play a decisive role in these escalating conflicts. The EU initially kept out of the Kosovo issue, the most intractable problem to emerge out of the breakup of the southeast European socialist bloc. It was left up to US ambassadors Warren Zimmerman and Richard Holbrooke to zip between Belgrade, Zagreb, and Sarajevo in trying to subdue fighting. But for everyone, Kosovo was only dealt with in passing.

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