Last Wednesday, on 28 October, we were honoured to host another of our cyclical debates. This time our experts discussed Kosovo – its foreign policy, security, and future. Although the country has been independent since 2008, its political situation remains very complex. Over the last 12 years, the country established association to many of the high-profile international organisations such as the International Monetary Fund or the World Bank. Kosovo’s main concern, whose nature was covered in the discussion, is the conflict with Serbia. In 2013 a Brussels Agreement was settled, and in 2020 the countries committed to normalise their economic relations. Although, relations between the two countries are still full of distrust and fierce rivalry.
Two prominent speakers provided an invaluable insight into the situation of the 1.8 million European nation:
- His Excellency Arbër Vllahiu – Ambassador of the Republic of Kosovo in Prague with responsibilities with the Republic of Poland.
- Ivan Gusic – postdoctoral researcher at the Department of Global Political Studies at Malmö University. Expert in peace-building, peace and conflict studies, nationalism and nation-state, ethnic conflicts, and the Western Balkans.
The discussion was moderated by Jakub Lachert of Warsaw Institute, whose area of expertise is the Eastern Partnership and Western Balkans in the process of integration with the EU.
To provide a platform for discussion, H.E. Vllahiu began by introducing the history of Kosovo, its development, and integration with the EU. He also analysed his homeland’s economic issues, including corruption and unemployment, and described how the government is addressing those through international cooperation. Moreover, the Ambassador stressed the role of European Union and NATO in Kosovo’s development, peace, and stability, while calling for the 5 remaining member states who have not yet recognised its independence to do so. The experts discussed the cultural and historical background of the Western Balkans and how those influence the nations’ current approach to their conflict and integration with Europe and within the region. The significance of infrastructure projects in the integration of the Balkans was also discussed. As always, the panellists answered questions from the audience.