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Opinion
Leonid Bershidsky

Serbia and Kosovo May Be Ready to End Their Feud

The two countries could agree to redraw their border, which could ease the way toward EU membership.

NATO peacekeepers could leave one day.

NATO peacekeepers could leave one day.

Photographer: Sasa Djordjevic/AFP/Getty Images

An agreement between Serbia and Kosovo to settle a long-standing dispute over their mutual border is becoming more than an abstract idea. The countries’ leaders have held initial talks on a so-called border correction, a process that could offer a way to ease their accession to the European Union. The conversation went well enough for Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic and Kosovo President Hashim Thaci to appear together over the weekend at a news conference in the Austrian town of Alpbach.

The shape of any would-be deal is unknown, as neither leader would say what he meant by “border correction.” A widely held theory is that the parties are discussing a trade of Kosovo’s majority-Serb territory, located north of the Ibar River, for Serbia’s majority-Albanian Presevo area. There are good reasons to consider this kind of messy land swap a bad idea. But there is one argument that might outweigh any objections: Once all the parts of former Yugoslavia, as well as Albania, are in the EU, the significance of the specific demarcation of borders between them eventually will be erased.