Pristina and the Quint could have chosen to ignore the elections by dismissing their significance and taking the high road; instead, the EU's warnings and threats have only served to fuel confrontation.
While the Kosovo-Serbia case is fundamentally different from that of Sudan, the experience of the Serbian enclaves in Kosovo is not so dissimilar to the situation of the African enclaves in southern Sudan, and may indeed serve as a model for dealing with Abyei and Nuba.
A low level or complete absence of cultural competence may not only disable conflict resolution, but also serve to halt overall regional cooperation, group interaction and relations with the international actors.
The frozen conflict over Kosovo can only be solved by changing the contours of the sovereignty game, ending Western pressure on both sides, and ensuring special arrangements for Serb historical and religious sites and Serb communities.
Macedonia's future Euro-Atlantic prospects depend heavily on resolving the challenges that arise from the precedent, paradox and pronunciation of the name dispute with Greece.
Whilst Serbia's decision to hold local elections in Kosovo has agitated Pristina and the Quint, there are signs of an openness for a political settlement on the north that goes beyond simple imposition of Pristina control.
A workshop for peacebuilders from across Afghanistan provided a variety of comparative perspectives - including from the former Yugoslavia and Northern Ireland - designed to strengthen their own peacebuilding efforts.
The Quint continues to push Serbia for further concessions on Kosovo - including the abolition of Serbian institutions in the north and an end to repeated efforts to block EULEX access - that could lead to renewed conflict and violence in the north.
With the International Court of Justice ruling in December 2011 that Greece had violated the Interim Accord by blocking Macedonia's bid to join NATO in 2008 in Bucharest, will the same scenario be repeated at the forthcoming NATO Summit in Chicago?
The logic of contemporary post-war intervention and proconsulship in both Kosovo and Bosnia-Herzegovina is impossible to divorce from concepts of collective national guilt.
The struggle to control the term “genocide” has become a contested conceptual space, turning cautionary lessons in how bad we can be into disputes over just how bad things really were.
The EU seems bent on using the leverage of the still-to-be-granted accession date to press Belgrade for more concessions, particularly concerning north Kosovo, thereby risking an escalation of tensions.
With ‘humanitarian intervention’ now back in the spotlight following events in Libya and Syria, NATO’s campaign against Belgrade on behalf of Kosovo Albanians is now being touted as a legal precedent; but should it?
Securing agreement through international pressure alone can be very risky for Kosovo, Serbia and the EU, with the process vulnerable to changes in government and the wavering attractiveness of EU accession.
As Serbia takes another important step on the road towards the EU, TransConflict is pleased to present a series of photos capturing contemporary life in Belgrade; a city still scarred by the legacies of the nineties, particularly the NATO bombing campaign.
The agreement between Belgrade and Pristina demonstrates that EU conditionality can - when carefully employed - induce concession and compromise, suggesting that it may be capable of acting more coherently, consistently and credibly towards the Western Balkans.