Today marks the one year anniversary of Kosovo declaring independence from Serbia. In many ways, the first year has been a mix of fortunes and misfortunes. Most importantly, Kosovo has largely remained peaceful despite initial warnings that the declaration of independence would lead to unrest and further fighting in the area. Kosovo’s politicians, its population and its neighbouring countries deserve credit for this. On the other hand, Kosovo still finds itself in a political and diplomatic stalemate since only 54 other countries recognise the country and Russian opposition in the Security Council puts a damper on further support. At the same time, the European Union’s attempts to assists Kosovo, through its EUROLEX mission, did not get on the ground until December last year and is further hampered as a number of EU countries are reluctant to formally recognise Kosovo fearing that it might signal support for their own break-away regions. Moreover, Kosovo remains poor and faces a series of economic, infrastructural and development challenges.
Notwithstanding this, the fact that Kosovo has remained peaceful is a great achievement given the region’s violent history. Also, given the softening of relations between Serbia and the EU, it might be that, although Serbia still makes claims over Kosovo, Serbia may with time ease its claim on Kosovo (a big if though).
Either way, happy birthday, Kosovo.