04 December 2011

Serbia + Kosovo = civil?

You've probably already heard the news.  Serbia and Kosovo struck a deal on the border after a few weeks of Les Misérables-esque car barricades AND after Germany frowned upon Serbia's EU ascendancy publicly.  Am I the only one who's excited?  Who's saying, "WHOA" and refuses to listen to any conversation in the near vicinity because I'm so psyched for some Balkan cooperation?  Maybe.  This does not damper my enthusiasm.
We all know from the 90s that the Balkans is a…touchy…region.  It still is.  The only nation that's in the EU is Slovenia and even Croatia, a pretty decent candidate, has a ways to go before the EU members will approve the bid for membership.  They've had it pretty rough over the centuries and they're still hashing out some of those issues.  Just like any former USSR nation (or nation in Europe), there's baggage to be unpacked and put away.  It's just super complicated in that area.  The shifting borders and the shifted people have a lot to do with that, as well as Wilson-era ideas about nationalism, which is now in vogue because of the Euro crisis.  There are "land mines" in unexpected places.  To be honest, I was a little nervous that these border skirmishes would start a horrible chain reaction; I had hope, but I watched with baited breath.

Given all that's happening on that continent, I wouldn't have dismissed a relapse of Balkan violence.  West European banks are freezing their assets for CEE, even when economists and bankers agreed that the subsidiary banks were in excellent health (Romania, I'm sorry), currencies outside the euro have fallen in speculation, and rating agencies are dealing out bad report cards like they're having a sale.  Since the stability of Europe, long their lauded characteristic, is in total flux and the "west" is pulling out from the "east", creating a clear differentiation backed by power and money––to the detriment of all involved––more instability would just seal the deal.  We're safe...for now.  Let's hope that the EU doesn't take steps to start dissolving itself.  Until then, I'm crossing my fingers and holding my rosary (if I had one, or if I was Catholic...).