The OSCE, otherwise known as the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, will be managing and organizing the collection of votes from the Serbian minority within Kosovo.
Kosovo has been a difficult situation in the world of international relations for quite a while now. According to Deutsche Welle, a German international relations broadcaster, relations between Serbia and Kosovo have been complicated by the widespread support of Kosovo’s independence. According to Deutsche Welle, 110 of United Nations members, along with 23 of the 28 European Union nations recognize Kosovo’s independence. Due to the difficulties in relations between Serbia and Kosovo, an international organization taking over and maintaining the voting procedures of those within Kosovo that intend to still have an influence on Serbia is important. Many within Kosovo, especially in the Northern region of Kosovo, still wish to have influence within the Serbian government due to their own being ethnic Serbs.
The fighting between Serbia and Kosovo goes back far beyond a simple declaration of independence that was made by Kosovo. In the fight for Kosovo’s independence, which was brought about by many ethnic Albanians, at least 11,000 Albanians were killed, which was reported by BBC news through the United Nations. Troops had taken over the area and were attempting to prevent and control protests that had been common among Albanian natives who were fighting for autonomy, rather than being subjected to what they considered an oppressive federal and Serbian government.
Kosovo’s independence has been a touchy issue within Europe, as it represents much of what has caused many European nations to turn to far-right political parties in fear of mass immigrations to their countries. According to Deutsche Welle, as much as 40 percent of Kosovo’s citizens live in poverty. This leads many people within Kosovo to have a desire to leave, and given Serbia’s insistence on the fact that Kosovo not be recognized as a sovereign state, nothing stops those citizens from entering Hungary and then becoming what are viewed as illegal immigrants.
The effects of this are felt most dearly by those that are in central Europe. As many as 3,630 people applied for asylum from Kosovo to Germany, along with 25,000 total applicants in January of 2015 alone.
Tensions within Kosovo are still present between the ethnic Serbians and ethnic Albanians, as there is even a wall within the city of Mitrovica, according to DW news. Connections between Mitrovica and Belgrade, the capital of Serbia, have been halted since NATO intervention took place in 1999 during the peak of the crisis between the two nations. The train between the two cities was attempted to be continued on January 14th, 2017, but according to DW news, the train was covered by statements saying that “Kosovo is Serbian” and that it was stopped before the border.In an interview conducted by DW news, they interviewed the
In an interview conducted by DW news, they interviewed the Kosovan president on potential Serbian influences on Kosovan independence. He stated that “Serbia is in the process of applying Russia’s Ukrainian model.” He believes that Serbia was attempting to arm and produce an attack by the northern area of Kosovo in order to destabilize Kosovo and make it possible for Serbia to regain control of Kosovo.
Given the division between Kosovo and Serbia, as well as the literal wall between the two nations, their divisions will be difficult to tend to. Yet, the presence of the OSCE will help to make sure that tensions do not rise out of false propaganda that may be pushed by either side. If the Serbian minority in the north of Kosovo truly want to become a part of Serbia, that will then be represented. However, if they want to maintain sovereignty and be a part of Kosovo, that will be maintained. With that said, the OSCE will play an important role in maintaining peace between the two rival nations.