Due to recognition of Kosova’s independence, Montenegro and North Macedonia were recently threatened by the Serbian government. The threat was posed by none other than the Serbia’s minister of defense Milos Vucevic, to the two NATO-member Balkan countries. During an interview on Serbian state television tvPink, he claimed that Montenegro and North Macedonia have offended Serbia with their recognition of Kosova’s independence, highlighting that this amounts to interference in a country’s internal affairs and overtly poses a threat to destabilize the region. Further, Vucevic stated that the two states should be attacked in the same way as Ukraine is being attacked, in retaliation for this behaviour. A day after bragging on social media that the Serbian army is the strongest in the area, the defence minister for Serbia has escalated his claims.
Through a post on the ‘X’ platform Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama reacted to Vucevic’s statements. Rama considered dangerous the statements of the Serbian Minister of Defense, “Threats against the stability and integrity of North Macedonia and Montenegro are dangerous and unacceptable. Albania, North Macedonia and Montenegro are NATO allies fully dedicated to the security and territorial integrity of each other. We have achieved in the last decade in this region what no one could even imagine in endless decades before and we cannot and will not allow anyone to pull us back in the past we are leaving behind for good! Together! Greater Europe is our only future”, Rama claimed. In North Macedonia and Montenegro, the response was frailer.
Serbian politics is currently at the peak of Russian influence, also Montenegro and North Macedonia are highly polluted by Russian interference and propaganda, therefore such provocations are an opportunity like a ‘football penalty’ to cause tension in these two countries which are in the process of joining the European Union. On the other hand, Serbia’s loneliness as a strong supporter of Russian aggression causes its hostility towards other Balkan states neighbouring Serbia, which are also NATO members of the, such as Montenegro and North Macedonia.
The non-punishment of Serbia by US and EU for its political irresponsibility towards neighbouring countries, especially towards Kosova, produces tensions and instability in the region. The non-punishment of Serbia so far, allowed the latter to constantly use threatening rhetoric and developed into a miniature version of Russia in the Balkans. Recognizing the threats of what is taking place in Balkans, heads of the Parliamentary Committees for Foreign Affairs of the United States of America, the United Kingdom, Germany, and several other countries have requested through an official request that they have sent to the European-American chief diplomats, a tougher and more determined approach to the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic.
On the other hand, due to the tensions in the north of Kosova and the government’s inaction to de-escalate the situation since May, the EU imposed punitive measures against Kosova. Kosova is still waiting for the announcement of the European Union for the removal of punitive measures after an agreement reached between Kosova and the EU in Bratislava, which included the organization of new elections in four municipalities in the north. The Government of Kosova has already started the work to ensure the legal basis for the development of new early elections in the four municipalities in the north of Kosova, which are potentially expected to be organized within the month of September. Along with holding the elections, the return of tensions is also expected.
While for the biggest threat to peace in the Balkans – Serbia, the “carrot and stick” approach from the EU side seems to have dropped from the combination, it is recently being offered only carrots and caresses from the EU and the international community. As a result, the Ministry of Défense of Serbia openly threatens the countries of the region, pointing out that their membership in NATO has not settled all their issues. On the other hand, Kosova is persistently continuing its aspirations for membership in the EU and NATO, amid it is now facing punitive measures from the EU, due to the tensions in the north of Kosova. Kosova’s membership in the EU and NATO is necessary.While for the biggest threat to peace in the Balkans – Serbia, the “carrot and stick” approach from the EU side seems to have dropped from the combination, it is recently being offered only carrots and caresses from the EU and the international community. As a result, the Serbian Ministry of Defense openly threatens Montenegro and North Macedonia, claiming that their NATO membership has not resolved all of their problems. On the other hand, Kosova is persistently continuing its aspirations for membership in the EU and NATO, regardless of the fact that it is now facing punitive measures from the EU, due to the tensions in the north of Kosova, nevertheless Kosova’s membership in the EU and NATO is necessary.