Two prevailing tendencies marked the period from the initiative for internal dialogue and the first round table of the Government of Serbia – the issue of frozen conflict and the issue of demarcation. This general assessment was given by Dušan Janjić, director of the Forum for Ethnic Relations at the presentation of the first report on the monitoring of the Internal Dialogue.
The report also showed a noticeable discrepancy between the complexity of the Kosovo issue and the extent to which the arguments are generally substantiated. In Janjic’s opinion, this is a cause for concern. “The revival of chauvinism, ethnic nationalism, abuse, and using the Kosovo issue in the division of power in Serbia – tendencies which flared up two theses – maintaining a frozen conflict until our side wins and demarcation.” He added that monitoring of the media reporting on these initiatives indicated that the main recommendation to authorities was to discuss the idea of demarcation because that has never been discussed before.”
Reactions to the internal dialogue show the desire of politicians to engage in political games, not the essence. Despite the fact that majority supports a peaceful solution of the problem in relations between Serbia and Kosovo, some actors advocate solutions that carry a high risk of political and armed conflicts. This is about not accepting reality, advocating a “frozen conflict”, and the loudest advocates of “demarcation” are among government officials, Janjić said. The analysis also shows that reactions are primarily based on political and ideological affiliations. This is primarily about weighing the political and electoral gain or damage in view of the forthcoming elections, rather than attempting to define state and national interests.
In addition, the attitudes among the ruling parties are also not reconciled. For example, some ruling parties believe that the continuation of the normalization process is a way to regulate relations between Serbia and Kosovo and at the best answer to the problem of the status, while other parties support demarcation of Serbs and Albanians. This division also spills over on the Serbian parties in Kosovo and Metohija, while reactions of civil society organizations and public figures in this period are positive. It is interesting that the initiative which came from Andrićev venac (official seat of the President of Serbia) was met with a strong response from the Albanian public in Kosovo. Internal dialogue was also a trending topic on social networks. Tatjana Vehovec of Libera says that over 70 percent of actors on social networks do not support the dialogue, that 12 percent support the dialogue, while 10 percent are undecided. She explained that it is noticeable that dialogue is mostly discussed by commentators on websites of political parties, especially the right-wing parties, such as the Dveri. As far as the ruling parties, such as SPS, as well as “Dosta je bilo”, these comments are below a statistical error.
This report is part of the project of the Forum for Ethnic Relations and the Open Society Foundation entitled “Monitoring and Reporting on Internal Dialogue on Kosovo”. This report concerns the period from 24 July to 31 October 2017. The next report on further monitoring of the internal dialogue activities will be presented at the end of January.
Read the entire report in the section Current Projects or HERE