Professor Csurgai: “Greater Serbia” and “Greater Albania” not good ideas for regional stability

CsurgaiDr. Gyula Csurgai, the Director of Geneva Institute of Geopolitical Studies, in an interview to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone: From a demographic point of view, ‘Greater Albania’ refers to an ethnic reality. From a political point of view, this project would lead to greater instability in the region as ‘Greater Serbia’ since these projects affect negatively regional stability.”  


GENEVA, 06 November, 2014 – Dr. Gyula Csurgai, Director of the Geneva Institute of Geopolitical Studies, states to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone that the territorial pretensions of Serb and Albanian nationalists calling for a “Greater Serbia” and “Greater Albania” affect negatively regional stability and confidence building in the Balkans.

“From a demographic point of view, ‘Greater Albania’ refers to an ethnic reality. From a political point of view, this project would lead to greater instability in the region. The projects of ‘Greater Serbia’ and ‘Greater Albania’ affect negatively regional stability and confidence building.”

Dr. Csurgai also comments about the idea of territorial exchanges between Serbia and Kosovo and believes the international community will not agree with this idea.

The Serbian Foreign Minister, Ivica Dacic, has stated to various media outlets, including Presheva Jone, that the best solution to end tensions between Serbs and Albanians would be to allow Northern Kosovo to join Serbia, whereas the Presevo Valley region should become part of Kosovo.

“At present the international community cannot agree with this idea. Moreover, on a European level there is no mechanism to carry out negotiated boundary changes. In the future, however due to possible geopolitical changes, the issue of boundaries can arise in both Western and Eastern Europe and the Balkans.

“The evolution of geopolitical configurations in Ukraine, Moldova, Belgium, and Catalonia among others might necessitate discussing the question of boundaries in Europe,” Dr. Csurgai says to Presheva Jone.

A possible territorial swap between Serbia and Kosovo may as well impact the future of other countries in the region with large ethnic minorities.

In Macedonia, the Albanians make up more than 25% of the population. Violent demonstrations erupted in July 2014 in Macedonia’s capital Skopje when Albanians protested against the life imprisonment of 6 suspected Albanians suspected of being the main perpetrators of the 2012 Smiljkovci Lake killings.

Bosnian Serb leader Milorad Dodik has threatened to hold a referendum to allow the Bosnian Serb entity, Republika Srpska, to secede from Bosnia and Hercegovina if the country does not become a three-unit confederation.

“The risk is to open a Pandora’s Box as a considerable number of countries in Europe can claim some kind of boundary change.

“The first impact could be on Bosnia; this state can de facto disintegrate in two three entities. Due to geo-demographic factors, Macedonia and even Montenegro could be affected,” Dr. Csurgai highlights to Presheva Jone.

A better solution would be trans-boundary cooperation in the context of regional policies

European integration remains high on the agenda of many states in the Balkans. Albania was the latest country to be given EU candidate status in 2014 by the European Commission.

Serbia, Macedonia and Montenegro have all started accession talks negotiations with the European Union (EU) to join the 28-nation bloc in the future.

Bosnia and Kosovo are yet to become EU candidate countries due to political stalemates. Both states need to take further political steps in order to be able to start accession talks with the EU.

Furthermore, Dr. Csurgai states to Presheva Jone that he believes the future of the Balkans lies in European integration and encourages the Balkan countries to focus on trans-boundary cooperation.

“A better solution would be trans-boundary cooperation in the context of regional policies. This process showed its positive impact in EU countries.

“The objective should be the elimination of the barrier effects of political boundaries by opening them to economic, cultural and political exchanges. The small countries in the South-East of Europe should enhance their regional cooperation in this logic.

“Instead of boundary changes, regional integration and opening of boundaries would be a more positive outcome for Albanians and the neighboring countries.”

Following the October 14 match between Serbia and Albania in Belgrade, relations between Belgrade and Tirana have remained strained.

The Albanian Prime Minister’s, Edi Rama, visit to Belgrade was postponed to this month, initially planned to take place in October, due to the Belgrade incidents.

Albania’s Foreign Minister Ditmir Bushati has recently stated to Reuters that Albania is ready to open “a new chapter in relations between Serbia and Albania.”

The Hungarian expert echoes this view and believes reconciliation between Serbs and Albanians is still possible urging both states to draw lessons from France and Germany.

“Reconciliation is possible and necessary between these two nations. They can learn from the French-German rapprochement that took place after the Second World War,” Dr. Csurgai highlights to the Albanian news agency Presheva Jone./ Blerim Mustafa  

Photo credit: SIT Study Abroad

* This article was written by the author in his personal capacity. The opinions expressed in this article are the author’s own and do not represent the view of Leidar

Link to original article (Presheva Jone, also available below):

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