Tagesspiegel: Mogherini criticized by German MPs for being open to a land swap

Federica Mogherini in Sarajevo © European Union , 2017 / Photo: Elvis Barukcic

BERLIN – EU High Representative Federica Mogherini “has pushed for the dangerous plans for the exchange of territories (between Serbia and Kosovo)”, stated deputy chairman of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group Johann Wadephul for Der Tagesspiegel.

In the lead-up to the Summit between German Chancellor Angela Markel, French President Emmanuel Macron and the delegations of Serbia and Kosovo lead by Presidents Aleksandar Vučić and Hashim Thaçi on 29 April, German daily talked to several members of parliament, who underlined the country’s uncompromising position towards a possible land swap.

While Vučić and Thaçi have endorsed an unspecified exchange of territories between their countries as a possible way for normalising their relations, Chancellor Merkel has been strictly against it, the paper reminds.

However, it has been rumored that Mogherini is open to the idea, Der Tagesspiegel writes. This position has been met with strong reservations in Germany.

“There is absolutely no guarantee that a border change or an exchange of territories would remain limited to Serbia and Kosovo”, states Wadephul.

According to him, such a move would reintroduce instability and ethnic disputes in the Western Balkans. Even a military conflict should not be counted out.

Wadephul was supported in his views by his colleague from the Green Party, Manuel Sarrazin.

“Borders in the Western Balkans are inviolable. A land swap between Kosovo and Serbia is a taboo, and must remain that way”, he says.

On the other hand, French position towards the issue remains open to interpretation. According to Der Tagesspiegel, former Foreign Minister Bernard Kouchner has called a territory exchange “a good solution”, and one that should be left to Vučić and Thaçi to finalise.

Representatives of Serbia and Kosovo will be joined by other four Western Balkan leaders at the meeting in Berlin. Prime Ministers of Croatia and Slovenia are also expected to take part.