Even if someone tried, it would be difficult to find an excuse for the West when they say that they did not know who Albin Kurti was and what they could expect from him. His meeting with Matthew Palmer and Miroslav Lajčák at the beginning of the week in Pristina was an opportunity for one of the people from Pristina to post on Facebook a photo taken in Washington in 1997, showing a long-haired student Kurti, a young diplomat Palmer and Kurti’s colleague, later Minister Bujar Dugolli. I guess as a nice memory of the “heroic” days.
Albin Kurti’s acquaintance with the most influential world addresses, such as the State Department, for example, has lasted for at least 24 years. But since he became the number one politician in Pristina, it is as if no one can recognize him anymore. Liberal European politicians and the media celebrated both of his coming to power, as a turning point from post-war to modern, European Kosovo. He was described as a leftist, a fighter against corruption and crime, a man without a burdensome war past. It was a picture they wanted to see, and the real one was and still is a real nightmare. Extreme nationalists, who dreams of uniting all Albanians, populists who received votes as the only anti-systemic option, a man who sincerely wants all foreigners to leave Pristina alone, and the dialogue with Belgrade to be stopped immediately.
It is the same Albin Kurti who threw tear gas in the middle of the Kosovo Assembly, demanding that all international missions leave Kosovo, and that people from the government stop negotiations with Belgrade and the European Union. The fact that he became the government from the extreme opposition did not change anything in his extreme political behavior, no matter how much he was accompanied by polished European reports and comments that a fresh political wind came to Pristina with him.
When he held the first official, prime ministerial meetings under the flag of the Republic of Albania, they turned a blind eye, because he was probably not yet used to the protocols of the new function. And the mistakes just kept coming, all the way to the scandalous participation of his “Self-Determination” in the recent elections in Albania and his vote in Tirana. They were also angry about that in Tirana, and even Viola von Cramon, the European Parliament’s Rapporteur for Kosovo and a big fan of Kurti and his “new Kosovo”, was shocked.
There are no surprises with Kurti. Not even now, when he is preparing for his first trip to Brussels, where he will have to talk to Aleksandar Vučić. He is preparing for the trip that, until recently, he did not even dream of going, because he fought against those negotiations. But since he will still have to go, let’s at least make a joke of them. And what else can it be but a joke, his expectation that the Brussels meeting should not be a continuation of the previous dialogue, but a completely new beginning? What happened is no longer valid, we are going into completely new conversations, with new principles, Kurti’s, of course. And especially the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities is not valid.
Kurti’s rudeness, and we can rightly say madness, is not the result of some pre-election behavior and flattery to the voters, as they had previously hoped and comforted themselves in the West. Now it can be seen that his behavior has a Latin name in medicine, but they will have to deal with that. They received a short and cold message from the Serbian president – Kurti should not come if he thinks that the Community of Serb Municipalities will not be discussed and that Serbia will accept the Republic of Kosovo, and that Vučić should not be invited to Brussels if they think he will accept Kurti’s foolishness.
Vučić cannot choose who will be his interlocutor from Pristina, he has been talking about it for years and he has been going to Brussels for the same amount of time, where the entire Pristina political scene has changed on the other side of the table. Now it’s Albin Kurti’s turn, a man who thinks that Vučić, the European Union and the United States will tear everything that was discussed and everything that has been agreed in the past ten years and start from scratch. Because that’s what Kurti is looking for, convinced that history begins with him.
The Serbian president will certainly not waste time playing the role of a psychotherapist in Brussels. He announced that, saying that his reaction in connection with the Community of Serb Municipalities would be harsh towards non-compliance with international agreements concluded under the EU framework. And in order for the dialogue not to go down the drain, which is what Kurti dreams of, one of the mediators will still have to show his talent for medicine.
It would be an insult to the intelligence if the EU and America assured us for the who knows which time that they could not influence the behavior of politicians from Pristina and their frequent outbursts of destruction. Just like those year and a half, when Ramush Haradinaj kept the barrier for Serbian goods lowered and demanded a tax of 100 percent, and in the West, they pretended to be powerless. How, for example, did the real fear in Kosovo prevail just because of one of Donald Trump’s tweets, when they were threatened that the American army would withdraw from KFOR?
In mid-June, they have a good opportunity in Brussels to sober up Albin Kurti and nicely explain to him that his radicalism and anti-systemic behavior can bring him victory in the elections, but that he cannot go outside of Kosovo with such habits. Someone will have to tell him that, because he still doesn’t understand it, even when he was expressly removed from his position after only two months of the previous prime minister’s term. Kurti’s discipline will be a difficult task for Palmer and Lajčák, but it is a task appropriate to their diplomatic caliber, and especially to the authority of America and the EU they represent. Everything else would be an amateur show, which could never convince anyone that the two largest world diplomacies are powerless in the face of a new whim from Pristina.
In the famous movie The English Patient, it took a long time to establish the identity of a patient with severe burns housed in an abandoned Italian monastery. The identity of this American patient from the beginning of the text is known, as well as his character, which has not changed over time. With the difference that he has the same burns in his head even today, unhealed. Palmer and Lajčák will have to be Dr. House if they really want this mission to be successful.