Book notice: The Presevo Valley of Southern Serbia alongside Kosovo

Harold F. Schiffman haroldfs at
Wed Jan 31 14:03:12 UTC 2007

The Presevo Valley of Southern Serbia alongside Kosovo: The Case for
Decentralisation and Minority Protection

Authors Beata Huska

Research Area Southeast Europe; Europeanisation

Series CEPS Policy Briefs

Situated in southern Serbia and bordering on Macedonia and Kosovo, Presevo
Valley is home to Serbia's Albanian minority. Although the Valley has been
calm in the last few years and the resurgence of armed conflict is
unlikely at the moment, the situation is still fragile and continues to
pose a potential security threat for the wider region. As the solution to
Kosovos status is approaching, the problems of Albanians in Presevo Valley
deserve serious attention. There are two main sources of security threats:
one is the potential influx of Serbian refugees, the other is Kosovos
(hypothetical) partition. The latter could potentially lead to the
outbreak of violence, as Albanians of the Valley recently declared their
intention to be united with Kosovo if the Serbian villages in the North of
Kosovo would join Serbia. This Policy Brief argues, however, that the
Serbian government could reduce the chances of conflict by addressing some
everyday problems faced by the Albanian minority, which could take the
wind out of the sails of potential irredentists. Albanian grievances
centre on issues such as their weak presence in the public sector, high
unemployment, limited implementation of their language rights and the lack
of economic development. Some of these problems could be effectively
addressed through strengthening local autonomy, which could be part of the
solution. It is argued here that continuation with the Covic plan, which
combines decentralisation and demilitarisation, could bring about the
desired stability for the region, which needs continued attention and
assistance from international bodies, among them the European Union.


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