Is Serbia Breaking Out of the Western Balkan Bloc?

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On 29 March 2023, on the occasion of the meeting attended by the Minister of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia Bujar Osmani, Minister of Europe and Foreign Affairs of Albania Olta Xhaçka, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs and Diaspora of Kosovo Kreshnik Ahmeti and Foreign Policy Advisor to the Prime Minister of Montenegro Dorde Radulovic, “Western Balkans QUAD-European Union (EU) 100% Harmonization with the Common Foreign Security Policy (CFSP)” platform was launched.[1]

According to the press release from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, the focus of the meeting was the full compliance of the four countries from the QUAD group with the foreign and security policy of the EU in light of the consequences of the Russian invasion of Ukraine, the new geopolitical reality, hybrid threats, the energy crisis and the economic crisis has been stated. The elimination of Serbia at the meeting does not go unnoticed. In this sense, it can be said that Kosovo tried the EU accession process in isolation from the Serbian issue. So that; The European Commission demands the normalization of relations with Serbia in order for Kosovo to become a member of the EU; Kosovo, on the other hand, is looking for different ways.

The fact that the Western Balkan countries, with the exception of Montenegro and North Macedonia, are not members of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO), reinforces the idea that the alliance is only Eurocentric.

On the other hand, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of North Macedonia, in a statement after the meeting, expressed their satisfaction with maintaining the policy of full compliance with the sanctions against Russia of NATO, the EU and the USA, and almost burned the ships in their relations with Moscow and its allies.[2]

Despite the news that Serbia and Kosovo had a temporary agreement on the peace formula developed by the EU in February 2023, the leaders of the countries emphasized that the disagreements continued.[3] On April 28, 2023, the President of Greece, Katerina Sakellaropoulou, stated that they reiterated their stance on not recognizing Kosovo and invited the escalation of regional tensions.[4] Statements made by the countries of the region contrary to the peace environment that the EU is trying to achieve, indicate that the tension between Serbia and Kosovo will continue.

On December 6, 2022, six Balkan countries, including Serbia and Kosovo, held a summit where they announced that they would take joint steps against the Russian invasion of Ukraine.[5] However, the fact that the Kosovo-Serbia tension could not be resolved by the EU led to the holding of the Balkan summits with the unilateral participation of either Kosovo or Serbia.

In this context, it can be said that Serbia’s meeting with Russia on a common ground from time to time strengthens Kosovo’s hand in the Balkans. So that; Most of the Balkan and European countries are uncomfortable with Russia-Serbia relations and it is seen that Kosovo also benefits from this weakness.

Perhaps the most important of the issues that caused all of this is the reflection of the rising far right in Europe in Serbia. Serbian extreme rightists, who have a significant mass in Serbia, support the occupation of Russia in Ukraine; they even bring forward the opening of an additional front for the retake of Kosovo.[6] This situation is used as a trump card by Kosovo at the agreement table, making it difficult for Serbia to form alliances with its neighbors. It is possible that the President of Greece expresses that they do not recognize Kosovo in order to find a solution to the legitimacy crisis that Serbia is in. So that; At this stage, only Greece and Russia are among the countries that can support Serbia.

[1] “Four Western Balkan Countries Launched “100% Alignment with CFSP” Platform”, European Western Balkans,, (Date of Accession: 30.03.2023).

[2] Ibid.

[3] “Kosovo, Serbia Agree on Steps to Implement EU Normalisation Plan”, Al Jazeera,, (Date of Accession: 30.03.2023).

[4] Alice Taylor, “Greek Position on Kosovo’s Independence Unchanged”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession: 30.03.2023).

[5] Alexandra Brzozowski, “Western Balkans Welcome EU’s Geo-Strategic Enlargement Shift Amid Ukraine War”, Euractiv,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).

[6] Bennett Murray, “Serbia’s Far Right Seizes on Putin’s War to Push Retaking Kosovo”, Politico,, (Date of Accession: 31.03.2023).