Can you punish a nation for something that people of the same ethnicity do in another country? That’s the question that’s before the European Union today, and it seems to be hotly disputed by both sides.
At issue are the roadblocks in northern Kosovo, set up by Kosovar Serbs to protest the ethnic Albanian dominated government’s efforts (with NATO help) to crush dissent in the north and close the border to all outside trade.
After a bit of haranguing from NATO, Serbian President Boris Tadic has called on the Kosovar Serbs to remove the roadblocks and let NATO close them off from all outside trade. The Kosovar Serbs, who don’t really have any special reason to listen to the president of Serbia, haven’t reacted so far, prompting “deep concern” from NATO officials.
And even though Tadic played ball, his inability to dictate the behavior of other people of the same ethnicity as him has several in the EU, including Germany, looking to impose various punishments on Serbia, including eliminating them as a candidate for EU membership.
France opposed, but not on the grounds that there isn’t collective racial guilt, let alone on the grounds that the protest in Kosovo is mostly a reaction to harsh crackdowns by the Kosovar regime. Instead, their argument is that they want Tadic’s party to win the next election, and they’re worried that the sanctions will hurt his chances.