In cosying up to Washington and criticising Brussels, Kosovo’s president is trying to protect his place at the negotiating table with Serbia, analysts say.
Since returning from a week-long trip to Washington in early March, Kosovo President Hashim Thaci has turned his fire on the European Union, seeing the United States as the best address to seek a deal between Kosovo and Serbia.
Thaci’s vocal criticism of the EU comes with the president under pressure from the Kosovo government of Prime Minister Albin Kurti over Thaci’s role in negotiating a deal with his Serbian counterpart, Aleksandar Vucic.
In 2018, Thaci and Vucic mooted a land swap as a possible compromise, an idea the US administration of Donald Trump said it was open to exploring but which split the EU, with some European leaders – notably German Chancellor Angela Merkel – saying it was a non-starter.
On March 9, on returning from Washington, where he met again with Vucic, Thaci rounded on the EU for failing to lift a visa requirement for Kosovo citizens and for the bloc’s reported choice of envoy to the Serbia-Kosovo dialogue, which is mediated by Brussels.