EU Commissioner Hahn Does Not Rule Out Kosovo-Serbia Territory Exchange Solution

EU Enlargement Commissioner Johannes Hahn, unlike other EU Foreign Affairs Ministers, has not ruled out the change of borders as a possible solution for the Kosovo–Serbia conflict.

According to Hahn, the solution must simply contribute to the stability and development of the region:

I am for the resolution of any two-sided conflict and any feasible solution must contribute to a larger stability in the region, and mustn’t be to the detriment of others.

When asked by Radio Free Europe whether a territorial exchange solution for Kosova and Serbia would lead to other Balkans states wanting to change their borders, as well, Hahn stated:

They are still negotiating. Some ideas have come up, let us just say that. I think that both parties are now aware, perhaps not of the international concerns, but at least of the limits, and within those limits, many solutions are feasible.

The commissioner added that it is important for Kosova and Serbia to come to a bilateral agreement before the summer of 2019.

The territory exchange proposed by presidents Thaçi and Vučić that would entail Northern Mitrovica going to Serbia and the Presheva Valley going to Kosovo, has been controversial.

A few days ago, during a meeting of EU Member States’ Ministers of Foreign Affairs, those present unanimously asserted that a border review may ignite ethnic tensions and lead to unpleasant consequences for other countries. For example, such a precedent may then encourage the Republika Srpska of Bosnia-Herzegovina to join Serbia.

the normalization of their relations is a key condition set by the EU for Kosova and Serbia as they head towards EU membership. In 2013, the Balkans neighbors agreed to resolve all their pending issues, but no draft of any agreement has been made public, to date. The upcoming meeting between Serbian president Vučić, Kosovar president Thaçi, and EU High Representative for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Federica Mogherini, will take place in Brussels on September 7.