Whilst nationalism continues to rear its head in the former Yugoslavia, so language will continue to act as a divisive, as opposed to unifying, force.
The term “The West” obscures periodic and sharp changes in the myths and content of Western demands on Balkan, Middle Eastern, and other actors.
A conference in Priština, entitled “How I see it” , provided young Serbs and Albanians from both Kosovo and Serbia, respectively, with an opportunity to discuss issues concerning reconciliation, transitional justice and EU integration.
Though various factors suggest a strong effort to remove north Kosovo as an element of contention between Serbia and the West, the possibility of continued stalemate remains and the danger of renewed conflict cannot be excluded.
Given the on-going political crisis over hydro-carbon exploitation rights, plus a pending July 2012 deadline by which Greek Cypriots will assume the rotating EU Presidency, the failure of UN-mandated talks over reunification seems inevitable.
Though Turkey – which is seeking to re-build its once flourishing Ottoman-era ties with most Balkan states – is increasingly portrayed as a reliable business partner, rather then an aggressive and neo-imperialist player, further steps are required to ease anxiety towards its policies.
Europe seems to be allowing Germany to lead it into a historic blunder by freezing Serbia out rather than bringing it in.
Despite the ICJ ruling that Greece had breached its obligation under the 1995 Interim Accord, the dispute is back to square one, with few signs of genuine interest to find a lasting resolution.
A peace initiative by Kosovo Serbs in the north opens the door to backing awayfrom further confrontation, and seems to suggest that they are prepared to enter a dialogue on the future of the north.
Celebrating and instrumentalising shared cultural heritage in Novi Pazar carries enormous potential for creating a positive platform for dialogue between its two main communities.