Kosovo Back in the Spotlight    

Objavljeno : 12.04.2018. Štampa El. pošta bookmark
 

As major decisions for the Serbian-Kosovo relationship are about to be made, Kosovo is becoming a dominant theme once again. This might also snap the Serbs out of the traditional apathy surrounding the Kosovo issue, even if only briefly.

 

For years now, Kosovo has been at the end of the list of problems they describe as vital. It’s well below economic and social affairs, including employment, education, health protection and the standard of living, accounting for more than three-thirds of the Serbian worries and concerns.

 

Yet the spike in the interest has failed to produce better articulated positions and ideas. Quite the contrary, the public remains as divided over key issues as ever, and confusion continues to linger around certain aspects of the problem. Hence the impression that a public internal dialogue has done very little in terms of creating more explicit positions on the entire body of Kosovo issues in the general public.

 

Surveys show that the views emerging in the internal dialogue have failed to reach a vast majority of the population. In a research carried out by the Institute for European Affairs from March 16 to March 20, as many as 94 percent of 1,203 respondents said they hadn’t taken part in or monitored the dialogue continuously, whereas a mere 3.4 percent had.

 

The same poll has unveiled that the Serbian public is completely divided over whether Serbia has already lost Kosovo or not at a 43 to 45-percent ratio. At the same time, 81 percent of the Serbs feel that their state should never recognize the independence of Kosovo, even if the country’s entry into the European Union (EU) depended on it.

 

Even though the dialogue has failed to reach most of the Serbian citizens, it did  “pacify” and even rationalize somewhat the debate on Kosovo. The researchers note that the “betrayal” narrative have softened considerably over the last several months of 2017 and early this year. The shift is explained by a change in government officials’ rhetoric.

 

Having analyzed a large number of messages on social networks, where the general public tends to debate the most frequently, the Center of New Media Liber suggests that the latest ground-settling is the result of “a pacified public discourse on Kosovo initiated by none other than the Serbian president, Aleksandar Vucic.” The researchers say that the authorities in Serbia have aptly transformed the dominant narrative referring to Kosovo as ‘seized’ into the one based on a new set of key words: talks, dialogue, compromise, a specific kind of trade, a game of chess even.

 

The figures support the findings, as a mere 22 percent of social network users talked about the “betrayal” of Kosovo in March, half as many as in several probes in the second half of 2017.

 

Unlike the black-and-white, the patriots vs. traitors ambience prevailing in social media in the second half of 2017, the need to “finally fix the problem,” “take Kosovo off the agenda,” and “turn to the future” is emerging, which is corresponding with the messages the government and the Serbian president have been sending as of recently.

 

Source: Beta

Photo: Beta

 

 
 
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