These days, the risk of another conflict in Europe has emerged, as tensions escalate in northern Kosovo, resulting in injuries to 30 Western soldiers and over 50 Serbs due to violent clashes involving local Serbian residents, Kosovo police, and NATO troops.
The root of the tension lies in the protests by Serbs in three predominantly Serb towns in northern Kosovo against the newly elected Kosovo Albanian mayors. These mayors were elected in April, but local Serbs chose to boycott the elections.
Thankfully, the situation has not yet escalated into an open conflict. Reports of a potential eruption of violence in the region have primarily originated from Russian diplomatic sources.
Recognizing the undesirable consequences of another conflict, the United States and the European Union have criticized Kosovo for exacerbating the situation. As Kosovo’s closest partner, the United States has expressed its dissatisfaction with the actions of the Kosovo government and advised against further escalation.
French President Emmanuel Macron has also placed blame on the Kosovo government. Alongside German Chancellor Olaf Scholz, he called for new elections in several disputed Kosovo districts. The proposed plan includes a commitment from Kosovo to hold new elections in problematic areas, while Serbia is expected to support the participation of local Serbs in these elections.
According to Macron, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s head of state Vjosa Osmani have expressed their willingness to consider a plan presented by France and Germany aimed at de-escalating tensions in Kosovo.
Chancellor Scholz urged both sides to act responsibly, acknowledging the severity of the situation. He stated, “It is indeed a very serious situation. We had an intense debate about the problems on the ground. It takes courage. All interested parties must show courage.”
Nevertheless, given the ongoing major conflict in Europe since the end of World War II, it is essential to question who would benefit from renewed unrest in the Balkans, particularly under the current circumstances.