Democracy and rule of law — not stabilocrats — are the key for maintaining peace and stability in the Balkans, argues Maja Bjelos, a senior researcher at the Belgrade Centre for Security Policy. The international community should insist on them as a prerequisite for lasting peace between Serbs and Albanians, she writes for War on The Rocks:
Kosovo is currently more democratic than Serbia, and its government is more transparent. But if Kosovo wishes to be considered a fully functioning democracy, it should guarantee security, justice, and basic services to all its citizens, regardless of their ethnicity. It is also essential that Kosovar leaders invest in building trust with the country’s Serbs, address their concerns, and show that they will be treated as equal citizens.
Rather than accept the invasion of Ukraine as a reason to compromise on these values, it should instead be seen as a lesson in the dangers that strongman rule can pose to stability, Bjelos adds. Only by supporting leaders with democratic potential in both Serbia and Kosovo can the West help build accountable institutions capable of implementing future peace agreements. RTWT