Even though the „car-license plate crisis“ is resolved for now, it appears that the Kosovo leader (and the Serbian one as well) is not that eager to lead a dialogue to normalize the relations. Regarding this issue, and what makes the whole situation even more severe, there is no exceptional drive from the EU and the West to boost the process of European integration. Therefore, considering the artificial tensions mixed with insufficient support of the EU in the integration process in Western Balkans, the normalization of relations between Pristina and Belgrade is far from achievable. Especially in the pivotal question of the recognition of Kosovo.
Both Kosovo and Serbia leaders must realize there is no other way than dialogue and normalization of relations. To reach another stage on the path towards EU membership, Kosovo and Serbia have no other choice but to ease the tensions and cooperate. On the other hand, it is questionable whether both leaders value the EU membership to find common words and avoid a crisis in the future. In Vucic’s case, the answer continues to be vague, as domestic politics appears more important than the EU for him. What is more, Vucic has built partnerships with Russia, Turkey and China, so as to show that the EU is not the only choice for him.
Kurti is using populist words and actions. However, domestic pressure to reach the EU keeps Kurti attached to seeking membership in the future, as his success in this process could increase his domestic political preferences. Also, Kosovo does not have such strong ties with other regional actors as in the case of the EU (except the US). Thus the European Union remains to be the only reasonable goal for Kosovo and Kurti as well.
The revival of the dialogue is necessary immediately, as any delay could cause that current status quo would damage relations for years. Even though it is the pre-election stage in Serbia and Kosovo, the well-being of both countries should not be hindered by the domestic political motives of their leaders. What is more, not only the EU membership is at stake. Therefore, politicians should also take into consideration the prosperity of ordinary citizens in both countries. Conflicts fuelled by the political leaders do not solve any of the ordinary citizens‘ problems. On the contrary, disputes that Vucic and Kurti lead only slower the effort focused on tackling corruption, organized crime or increasing the social and economic conditions in both countries. Hence, both leaders should take a unique opportunity and use EU-facilitated dialogue to halt the ongoing discrepancies so that both countries can make another step towards a brighter future.