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Presence 15.11.2022 13:00 - 14:00


Zentrum für Südosteuropastudien & SOEGA


Location: [0111] Beethovenstraße 8, SR 111.41


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BB: Ethno-territorial Ordering in the Belgrade-Prishtina Dialogue

BB: Frauke Seebass - Ethno-territorial Ordering in the Belgrade-Prishtina Dialogue

The complicated relationship of the EU and its member states vis-à-vis the ‘Western Balkans’ has been the subject of many research projects and conferences. Zooming in on a particularly intricate issue that is “a key priority” for the EU in the region, as Special Representative Miroslav Lajčák reiterated recently during a press conference, my current research takes a closer look at the discourse unfolding in the process of the EU- (and US) facilitated negotiations on normalisations between Serbia and Kosovo.

Enlargement is embedded in a broader EU foreign policy rationale and closely linked to questions of ‘European identity’. At the same time, the Dialogue is directly connected to the accession perspective of both Serbia and Kosovo to the European Union. It aims “to promote cooperation between the two sides, help them achieve progress on the path to Europe and improve the lives of the people” and thus by extension to cultivate in both countries’ societies “in which pluralism, non-discrimination, tolerance, justice, solidarity and equality between women and men prevail”, i.e., the common values established in the Treaty of the European Union.

And yet, when looking at documents and analyses of the negotiations, one finds distinct patterns of ethno-territorial ordering as a decisive factor inhibiting its progress. By this I mean a focus on dividing lines between ethnic groups and ‘their territories’ (including in EU member states) that not only omits alternative readings and solution approaches but also undermines the facilitating parties’ own alleged strategic goals.

Frauke Seebass is a PhD candidate at Andrássy University Budapest, researching developments of foreign policy narratives in the EU towards Kosovo and their consequences. At the same time, she is a non-profit project manager currently working for the German grassroots thinktank Polis180 in the German-Georgian youth project #GEONext – Partnerships for Youth Engagement on cross-sector cooperation for societal change. Frauke has been working on EU neighbourhood policy towards the Western Balkans and the Eastern Partnership countries for several years.


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