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Frozen conflict, status quo, and horror without end: Does Serbia need the society of Nagorno-Karabakh, South Ossetia, and Abkhazia?

Because not doing anything will just lead to the legendary colloquial sentence: The last one to leave, turn off the lights

If we look for the definition of a "frozen clash or conflict," we can get an explanation - give up from the agreement, for an indefinite time, until the situation changes and the conditions are met to solve the problem. On the other hand, if we look for the definition of the "status quo", we will reach the explanation that there are aspirations to this situations due to the opposition to the need for large and often radical changes. The facts point that Serbia needs such a change without a doubt in terms of resolving the Kosovo problem. Because not doing anything will just lead to the legendary colloquial sentence: The last one to leave, turn off the lights. 

Presevo to Kosovo, four northern municipalities to Serbia: Proposal of six experts for the exchange of territory

There are several examples of frozen conflict in the world, the five most famous:

1. Cyprus conflict between Northern Cyprus and Turkey (frozen in 1974). 

Foto: Telegraf, Google maps

2. The clash between military and paramilitary forces in Moldova over Transnistria (frozen since 1992). 

Foto: Telegraf, Google maps

3. Armenia and Azerbaijan around Nagorno-Karabakh (frozen since 1994). 

Foto: Telegraf, Google maps

4. The conflict in Georgia around South Ossetia and Abkhazia (frozen since 2008). 

Foto: Telegraf, Google maps

5. The war in eastern Ukraine (since 2014, although occasional armed conflicts continue, they may result in the creation of a frozen conflict).

Foto: Telegraf, Google maps

Without any need to run down people who live in the mentioned parts of the world, nor the efforts of the local government to resolve these conflicts, that is surely not the way we want to live in Serbia. Also, one should not overlook the fact that the conflict between the Serbs and Albanians around Kosovo have been lasting for centuries, and it escalated during the nineties of the last century, with the peak of the unsolved conflict in the past 20 years, that is why the consequences are numerous.

That is why Filip Ejdus, an assistant professor at the Faculty of Political Science in Belgrade and an expert on security issues for BBC, cited seven reasons why "frozen conflict" is not a good political option:

1. Frozen conflicts always threaten to break into an open war.
2. They are the source of a constant low-intensity conflict.
3. Permanently open possibility of the intervention of the great powers and their mutual backbiting over the back and at the expense of those on whose fate they decide.
4. They hamper economic development.
5. The existence of a frozen conflict encourages continued ethnonational mobilization.
6. They do not contribute to the efforts to develop the rule of law but create additional conditions for corruption and clientelism.
7. Frozen conflicts prevent countries they are in from entering the EU.

Solving the Kosovo issue is primarily of interest to us, says military and political analyst Vlade Radulovic for Telegraf.rs.

- It is worth recalling the words of president Vucic, who said that the time has come and we have to see where are our borders and the territory we control if we want progress and future- Radulovic said for our portal.

Foto: mc.rs

He also noted that Kosovo's status should be resolved as soon as possible for the people who live on Kosovo and Metohija.

- The fact is that this status is good for those who are in crime circles, so they could continue with their dirty activities - adds this analyst.

We don't have a frozen conflict, if we did, we would have had Serbian military and police in at least a part of the southern province, that it is better to say that this is status quo, Dragan Djukanovic said for Telegraf.rs, professor on FPN and vice president of the Center for Foreign Policy.

- Status quo is not a good solution for Serbia, because it is necessary to move bravely in order to solve some issues, first of all, the ending of normalization relation with Pristina. On the other hand, it is very important to speed up the European and Economic path and to strengthen our country in every possible way - Djukanovic said.

Foto: Medija centar Beograd

Otherwise, Djukanovic warns, long-term development would be jeopardized and a European perspective would be essentially challenged.

ECONOMIC PRICE OF NOT SOLVING

If we, as a state, decide to cancel all the agreements so far, to suspend the future and refuse each solution in advance, we would receive sanctions and excommunication from the international community, freezing of assets, current termination of donations and investments...

How much would it cost, it is impossible to say, but, for comparison, it should be noted that economists estimated the damage of the sanctions imposed in 1992 (whose basic effect, hyperinflation, is still well remembered) to be around 125 billion dollars. 

The first part of this price is all that is related to Europe.

1. The European Union is convincingly our biggest trading partner. The total foreign trade of Serbia in 2017 amounted to 34 billion euros, with imports accounting for 19 billion euros, while exports of goods amount to 15 billion. The EU share in total foreign trade is 64 percent. The share of exports to the EU in total exports is 66 percent, while imports from the EU account for 62 percent of the total imports of goods.

2. The EU represents a block of countries from which most foreign direct investment comes. Only in 2010, about 70 percent of foreign direct investment originated from EU countries.

3. The total public and private external debt of Serbia at the end of 2017 amounted to 26 billion euros. Of this amount, funding sources from development banks and institutions such as EBRD and EIB are about 4 billion euros. On the other hand, of the total balance sheet total of the domestic banking sector at the end of 2017 amounted to some 28 billion euros, as much as 70% refers to banks whose head offices are in the EU countries.

4. The total amount of foreign grants from EU to Serbia in the period of 2001 to 2005, according to the data of EU delegation in Serbia, accumulated to 3 billion euros and participated in 70% of total grants.

Foto: Medija tim predsednika Vlade

In other words, it is quite clear what kind of consequences would have arisen if, due to the failure to resolve the Kosovo issue, the negotiations on EU accession were interrupted indefinitely.

The following would happen: Abolition of pre-accession funds and grants, decline in inflows from lines of international financial institutions, reduction of credit rating and increase of country's risk, interest rate growth, decline in domestic and foreign investments, re-fiscal deficit and growth, depreciation pressures , inflationary pressures, weakening of economic activity, decline in foreign reserves, difficulty in procuring raw materials, unemployment, again above 25 percent, social instability, impoverishment. 

In the worst case scenario, all this would mean that the average salary by 2027 would be below 400 euros, and the pension would be at the level of 220 euros. Only on the basis of missed growth, in the next nine years, by 2027, Serbia would have lost from 100 to 110 billion euros. Such economic trends would have a huge impact on demographic trends.

The population would be reduced by about 40,000 people each year, and it is not impossible to imagine, on the basis of the above indicators, a much greater decline in the number of people, which would lead us to not have much more than six million at the end of the next decade.

Also, this would also lead to a decrease in the average life expectancy (today it 75 years in Serbia, and, for example, in Slovenia, 81 years), birth rate, and the number of educated people, doctors, engineers, professors ...

From all of the above, it is concluded that postponing the resolution of the Kosovo problem would lead to the continuation of agony. In this connection, one should also recall a German proverb: A horrible end is better than endless horror. 

(Telegraf.co.uk / M.Ivas / marko.ivas@telegraf.rs)

Tags: Abkhazia, Balkan news, Belgrade, Conflict, Daily news, Dialogue, Dragan Đukanović, East Europe, European Union, Frozen conflict, Inflation, Kosovo, Kosovo and Metohija, Nagorno-Karabakh, negotiations, Priština, problem, Sanctions, Serbia, Solution, South Ossetia, Status Quo, Ukraine, Vlade Radulović
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