The European Union’s special coordinator for Southeastern Europe, Erhard Busek, says that he expects Kosovo to follow Montenegro in pushing for full independence from Serbia.
A former Austrian vice-chancellor, Busek has said that Serbian offers of broad autonomy for the province have come far too late to appease Kosovo’s ethnic Albanian majority. Busek said Belgrade had to realise that the decision by Montenegro to declare its independence and Kosovo’s push to do the same are a direct result of the nationalist agenda pursued by Slobodan Milosevic. That agenda led to the breakup of the Yugoslav federation and the Balkan wars of the 1990s.
Kosovo is still technically a province of Serbia, although it has been under UN administration since the end of the 1999 NATO military campaign against Belgrade.
Vienna has been hosting talks between Belgrade and Pristina on the future status of Kosovo. Austria has also made stability in the Balkans a top priority as the current president of the EU. The Kosovars have ruled out autonomy, saying they will settle for nothing less than becoming a fully independent country.
Some officials in Belgrade say independence would lead to violence against Kosovo’s Serbs and would inflame ultranationalists in Serbia.