“There can be no progress towards the EU if there is no dialogue on Kosovo”! You have probably just gone over this sentence, thinking, rightly, that it was said these days by one of the European bureaucrats, or politicians from Germany or France. However, that is part of the statement by Javier Solana, as EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs in Vienna in October 2003, on the day of the first attempt to establish a dialogue between Belgrade and Pristina. Unfortunately, a failed attempt. And, as we now know, it will take a whole decade for these negotiations to really be established, and here they are, lasting for seven years. Ibrahim Rugova and Zoran Živković, Nexhat Daci (President of the Assembly in Pristina) and Nebojša Čović were sitting on either side of the table in the Hofburg Palace in Vienna at the time. There was no shift in relations, except that Kosovo will declare independence a few years later, after a series of missed opportunities for compromise. When taking office in 2012, Aleksandar Vučić set out to be governed by a sentence Solana said back in 2003. The most difficult move that Vučić had in the past eight years was to reopen the dialogue with Priština again, after the declared independence of Kosovo, and then to conclude the Brussels Agreement with them. And it will certainly be difficult to reach a compromise soon, according to all announcements, which will normalize those relations in the long run. It was and will be difficult, but the second and different way simply did not exist, nor does it exist. This was not understood by all the previous governments that have been changing in Serbia since 2003. That is why all their efforts to find a flaw in Vučić’s policy of reaching a compromise on Kosovo sound grotesque, and even to completely disavow it, as harmful. Knowing that there is no alternative, they fall into the unforgivable trap of inconsistency, when they sacrifice the foundations of their policy, and that is Serbia’s entry into the EU, to their only goal – overthrowing Vučić. But above all, sacrificing the security and future of Serbs in Kosovo and their property, as well as the economic perspective and the future of Serbia.
Trying to present Vučić’s painful and difficult walk towards compromise (and there is no easy one) as a betrayal of the national interest, they become what they are not, extreme weekend nationalists and advocates of giving up the European path. The confusion in the ranks of the opposition over key state issues is at an all-time high. So, inversely proportional to its support among voters, which has been at an all-time low for a long time. The answer to their suffering, caused by consistently low election results, is not in any repression or lack of freedom of the media, but in the absence of a solution to the most important state and social issues.
Whatever the solution for Kosovo, we will not get it “lying down, smoking the tobacco on the couch”. Luckily, because such a solution would be the worst for Serbia. And until only a few years ago, it was as if we wished that someone from there would give it to us, so that we could forever complain and curse half the world over such a solution. Until in some 500 years, such a solution grows into a myth, which we will celebrate as the victory of our historical correctness and insubordination.
We are not witnessing, therefore, the making of another national myth, which would so well “agree” with the self-destructive line of our mentality, the eternal sacrifice that only a good God keeps from disappearing, leading it through a labyrinth of historical injustices. Fortunately, these days, the Serbian national ship sails on maps and GPS devices, and not on the corridors of oral tradition, which is ruled by monsters, mermaids, nymphs, cyclops and crakens. Maybe for the first time in history, at least when it comes to Kosovo. And that is why the solution will be the best it can be for Serbia.
But that path is harder than ever before, because in this Kosovo poker, Vučić has truncated cards left on the table, which were not dealt to him from the new deck of cards, equally and according to the same rules as the other side. He should play open poker knowing that all the aces are on that other side. Not in the hands of Kosovo politicians, but in the hands of the USA, Germany, Great Britain, France. And what result do we expect in that game? But on the contrary, Aleksandar Vučić refuses to gamble. Knowing the real strength and influence of these countries (and others who strongly support independent Kosovo), he refuses to gamble with the fate of his people in Kosovo, refuses to gamble on the pride of Serbia, the future of the people and the country… He managed to return to the negotiating table what was already decided many years ago, and formally proclaimed 12 years ago. He managed to restore credibility to Serbia as a negotiator for Kosovo at a time when both Kosovo Albanians and their mentors and sponsors were convinced that the process was over and that Serbia had nothing more to ask for. From those, the largest and the most developed countries, we now hear that without Serbia there can be no lasting solution for Kosovo.
While the Serbian opposition is only interested in the narrow party interest and whether it will hate Vučić alone or in two or three columns, the President of Serbia has a difficult job to provide security for Kosovo Serbs, the Serbian Orthodox Church, the future for Serbia, a better life for all citizens… he keeps in one priority column. Finally, the people must know that a meaningless and irresponsible proposal to freeze the conflict in Kosovo (even if it would depend only on us) automatically means freezing the future of our country and our children.
As far as Kosovo is concerned, the most important thing is to reach a serious and lasting solution quickly. The events of the previous days speak of how important it is to ensure security for Serbs in Kosovo and Metohija, for their property, normal life, the Church… No one has the right to leave our people in Kosovo outside the defined legal framework, insecure, to fear for their lives and the lives of their children. Be stubborn, “freeze the conflict” and wait for some better time and circumstances when Russia becomes even stronger… Until then, it may happen that we will not have what and who to defend in Kosovo. And then, again late, we will realize that we have lost everything there. And yes, this is a game on several chessboards, on which the clock is ticking faster and faster, and the figures left to Vučić by his predecessors do not give much reason for satisfaction. However, the game is not over yet, the points in the simultaneous game are still open, and at least we have a good and experienced chess player on our side. Vučić, therefore, is definitely doing the hardest and most responsible job in his life, and that in a way determines his political destiny. He knows this well, but his courage and determination do not leave him. Because he knows he is doing the right thing for future generations. And therefore, as the great general and statesman De Gaulle said: “Honor to those who do not look down before fate!”