1 Leaders of Kosovo and Serbia are to meet in Brussels on Thursday for EU-mediated crisis talks, with hopes for lasting change low after tensions between the two countries had led to violent protests.
4 Tensions eased after Pristina agreed to continue to recognise Serbian-issued licence plates and documents for citizens of Kosovo for another 30 days.
5 Heated words from both sides, however ,led to the EU issuing a statement last weekend, saying both parties must immediately put an end to mutual hostilities and dangerous statements and act responsibly.
6 Kosovo broke away from Serbia in 1999 following war and declared independence unilaterally in 2008.
The EU has been meditating for over a decade with little chance of a quick breakthrough as both sides were lacking strong incentives, Dimitar Bechev, a visiting scholar at the think-tank Carnegie Europe said.
7 Serbia’s accession process to the EU is stalled over the conflict with Kosovo.
8 Kosovo remains the only Western Balkan state excluded from visa-free travel to the bloc and has not yet been recognised by all EU countries.
9 “Thursday’s meeting could ideally bring a solution to the tussle over license plates and ID documents,” says Bechev.
10 If that fails, the minimum outcome could be “another delay before Kosovo implements its decision,” says Bechev, potentially avoiding further escalation.