The Parliament of Kosovo was disrupted for the second time in recent weeks by tear gas, as lawmakers from the Self-Determination party continued their resistance against deals backed by the EU. The proposed deals would delegate more power to Kosovo’s Serb-dominated regions in addition to altering the country’s border with Montenegro.
The opposition lawmakers fear a loss of sovereignty and threats to border security if the deals go through. Even though Kosovo declared its independence from Serbia in 2008, it still considers Kosovo as one of its provinces. The lawmakers have stated that protests will continue until these policies are withdrawn from consideration.
Parliament Speaker Kadri Veselli called for an end to the tactic, saying that the tear gas incidents were, “an irresponsible behavior not in line with any ethic, moral and practical democratic code.”
Within Kosovo, there exists a minority of Serb citizens who are mostly opposed to the country’s independence from Serbia. Serbia and Kosovo were able to set aside their disagreements over the sovereignty issue in 2013 to grant the Kosovar Serb minority access to their own police force and court of appeals.
Whether these disagreements between the two nations increase in intensity or die out remains to be seen, but the Kosovo war between the Serbian military and the ethnic Albanians of Kosovo was only 16 years ago. Lawmakers would still have fresh memories of the war crimes committed during the conflict, which included mass rapes of Kosovar Albanians as a means of ethnic cleansing.
In light of this, it doesn’t seem likely that the opposition lawmakers would abandon such a relatively harmless tactic. This is especially true considering the fact that animosity between the two countries was so high following the war that Kosovar Albanians engaged in the rape of Serbian women as a retaliation for the same practice by Serbs.