Ambassador Petritsch joins debate on border corrections

An interesting debate between two ‘old wolves’ of world politics in Balkans, the U.S. expert Daniel Serwer and Austrian Ambassador and former EU Special Representative for the Balkans, Wolfgang Petritsch is reported to have taken place recently. 

Media recall that Serwer wrote in an opinion piece recently that he was against ideas for an exchange of territories between Serbia and Kosovo. 

Petritsch then commented on Serwer’s blog saying that “there will be – if at all – minor („cosmetic“) corrections affecting a small number of villages in Bujanovc and Mitrovica environs will not change the ethnic make- up of either Country and thus have no such ripple effects outlined in your otherwise excellent assessment. It's the ‘new realism’ in the Balkans. The real issue is Russian/Hungarian media meddling, the neo-Ottoman forays (Izetbegovic et al), Gulf states’ investments in BiH ( but also in Serbia) and – above all – China’s rapid expansion in SEE. The Balkans Silk Road and the 16&1 format are the real challenges both for the region and the EU. Lets thus support a settlement along the Thaci/Vucic lines. I am painfully aware – it is a disappointment for us old Balkans hands. But hey, the times they are changing’.” 

Serwer then replied saying “I do not see any way to limit this to a few villages or to do it without Serbia gaining the northern municipalities. The ripple effect in my view has nothing to do with changing the ethnic make-up of either country. All of the meddlings to which you refer will be made worse, not better, by a concession of this sort to territorial ethnic nationalism.”