The "Brdo-Brijuni" Summit is a chance to break the silence about the promotion of "Greater Albania"

Željko Šajn
Source: Kosovo Online

Writing for Kosovo Online: Zeljko Sain, Politika's special correspondent from Skopje

"Brdo-Brijoni", the Berlin Process, and "Open Balkan” are initiatives that have a common goal - to facilitate the integrative processes of the countries of the Western Balkans on the way to joining the European family. The first was created in Brdo near Kranj, in 2010, and four years later, Angela Merkel's third cabinet established the Berlin Process, and five years after that, the "mini Schengen" regional initiative was created, i.e. "Open Balkan", in Novi Sad.

Although the EU is still eluding the countries of the Western Balkans, thanks to the "Open Balkan" initiative, Serbia, North Macedonia, and Albania managed, during the Ukrainian crisis, to preserve peace in these areas and calm the tension, especially in the relations between Serbia and Albania, which is a historic achievement when it comes to their bilateral relations. The problem between the Serbs and the Albanians was also pointed out by Nusic, when he was the consul of the Kingdom of Serbia in Pristina, pointing out in his dispatches to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Serbia the fear of the Serbs from the aggressive behavior of the Albanians.

But while Albanian Prime Minister Edi Rama is building European foundations together with Vucic and Kovacevski by strengthening the "Open Balkan" initiative, Albin Kurti is trying to bring unrest into regional relations. Let's briefly recall the events in Chair and Tetovo, where he promoted Demaci's ideology of creating a "Greater Albania", with a hymn and a map that pointed to the pretensions to the territories of Serbia, Montenegro, North Macedonia, and Greece, and on that occasion he was declared the president of all Albanians  The international community swept Kurti's scandalous statement under the carpet, and the question is whether this topic will be mentioned even now, on September 11, at the "Brdo-Brijuni" Summit in Skopje.

At this summit, in the plenary session and bilateral meetings, the presidents of the countries will try to take a common course for the realization of the European integration of the Western Balkans. Aleksandar Vucic, President of Serbia, three members of the Bosnia and Herzegovina Presidency, and representatives from Montenegro, Albania, North Macedonia, and Kosovo will also participate. The host, Pendarovski, will also welcome Vjosa Osmani, who is recognized as the President of Kosovo by everyone except Bosnia and Herzegovina and Serbia.

When it comes to the accession of the Western Balkans to the EU, let's recall the words of the President of the European Council, Michel, who in Bled gave hope to the countries of the Western Balkans that they would be accepted into the EU by 2030. However, Macron expressed skepticism and replied to Michel that the EU should be reformed first, and then proceed with its expansion. Therefore, it is possible that the Western Balkans will once again face a ramp on the road to European integration.

However, this is not the only obstacle in the Western Balkans, since the revived ideology of Demaci about the creation of a "Greater Albania" can threaten peace in this region. It would perhaps be significant to remind everyone present at this summit of Pupin's merits at the Versailles Peace Conference, thanks to which the London Pact was annulled, and today Dalmatia belongs to Croatia, Macedonia remained whole with half of Lake Ohrid, Bled remained in Slovenia, Banat in Serbia, etc. This is so important precisely because of Kurti's behavior, but also because of ignoring his attack on the territorial integrity of other countries (Serbia, Montenegro, Greece, and North Macedonia) in the idea of their joining 'Greater Albania', which he promoted on the soil of North Macedonia. At the time of the disintegration of the SFR Yugoslavia, Slovenia and Croatia, out of their own interests, supported the secession of Kosovo from Serbia, and today the silence of the President of Slovenia, the President of Croatia, as well as the President of the Republic of North Macedonia, on Kurti's behavior would stop the thought that, perhaps, they would be inspired by not sanctioning Kurti, the Bulgarians could claim Eastern Macedonia, the Austrians Bled or the Italians the Adriatic Sea.

It will certainly be interesting to see how all the state presidents participating in the "Brdo-Brijuni" Summit in Skopje will welcome Vjosa Osmani, who did not distance herself from Kurti's action, euphemistically characterizing it as a "little misunderstanding". Of course, the most interesting thing is how she will look the Macedonians in the eye, right in their country, where Kurti promoted Demaci's idea of a "Greater Albania". Since Kurti's time in politics is ticking, the epilogue remains with Vjosa Osmani, who can intensify the internationalization of Albania.

While the European path of the Western Balkans is shaped by the above-mentioned initiatives, we expect the conclusions of the "Brdo-Brijuni" Summit in Skopje, and the continuation of the Berlin Process for a half-moon in Tirana, which will be hosted by the Prime Minister of Albania, Edi Rama, it is necessary to first break the silence about the Albin Kurti’s actions on the territory of North Macedonia, and calm the mud that has risen in these areas.