From the very start, Serbia’s attempt to join the European Union began with joining forces with Russia over the future status of Kosovo. Probably not the best political maneuver, unless ofcourse Serbia sees its future with Russia. But if any of you have ever been to Belgrade, you have to scratch your head and wonder why Serbia turned its back to the European Union and joined forces with Russia over the Kosovo issue.
Perhaps Serbia felt its back was to the corner and no one would support its position except for Mother Russia. Add misguided pride and ethnic nationalism all too common in the Balkans and Serbia quickly found itself in a game of hearts where it was forced to shoot the moon.
By doing so, as Tim Judah, from the Balkan Investigative Reporting Network (http://www.birn.eu.com/) argues, Serbia was destined to fail. Russia had different motives for opposing the future status of Kosovo — such as reasserting its power in Eastern Europe, weakening the EU, and lessening the power of NATO — than simply its alleged call for the integrity of borders.
The EU saw right through this Serbo-Russian partnership and, despite its sometimes failure to kick itself out of a wet paper bag, the EU now has an essentially united front against the Serbo-Russian position. And that’s bad news for the Serbs.
Here’s a segment of Judah’s article, “Kosovo: A Chapter Closes”:
Indeed, when Serbia comes to analyze “who lost Kosovo”, a debate which may come sooner rather than later, it may be seen to have proved a huge strategic error to try and rely on Russia. What appears to have happened is that the large number of countries which were either ambiguous about Kosovo’s independence or even opposed it, were highly alarmed by the way that Russia appeared willing to use the issue as a battering ram with which to divide the EU as part of its campaign to keep it weak.
Quite simply, a lumbering Russian bear, roaring: “I am back…” egged on by Serbia, terrified the flock of undecided EU sheep, including most prominently Germany, into rushing into the pen labelled “EU Unity”.Last March Martti Ahtisaari the former Finnish president presented his plan for supervised independence for Kosovo to the UN. There Russia ensured that it failed to get Security Council backing.
Now, as it becomes clear that Russian policy is heading for failure over Kosovo, Ahtisaari is saying, with only the slightest hint of irony in his voice, that “the Russian attitude has reinforced the unity of the EU. I don’t think that was the original intent.”One only needs to look at the map to consider why this was so. Kosovo, like the rest of the Western Balkans, is now an enclave deep inside EU and NATO territory. Russia’s attempt to set the agenda here in the face of what most EU leaders wanted has proved most unwelcome and counter-productive.