Kosovo (Europe): Energy is the Source of Conflict in the Balkans

The situation on the border between Serbia and self-proclaimed Kosovo has escalated to near-war in less than a day. The tension that prevailed in the past days on the borders of the Serb-controlled region of northern Kosovo, where the weapons came out after a long time, forcing NATO – which has a force of 4,000 soldiers in the country – to threaten to intervene.

The Western Balkans, a small region, is inhabited by representatives of different nationalities, religions with diametrically opposed views and aspirations. The matter is further complicated by a host of long-standing grievances, where eternal vendettas and the desire to reclaim certain lands are heavily involved. In addition, the Western Balkans is an eternal field of intersection of the interests of the superpowers (USA, Europe, Russia) and other powers (Britain, Turkey), which only tightens the knot of contradictions even more.

Today, what is at stake in the global political arena is energy, which is used as a kind of dagger, imperceptibly piercing state borders and economic armor.

A part of the central natural gas pipeline “Balkan Stream”, a branch of the “stream” of Turkey, passes through the territory of Serbia. The natural gas pipeline enters Serbia near the town of Zajecar and leaves its border near the village of Horgos on the Serbian-Hungarian border. The capacity of the pipeline is 11 billion cubic meters, that is, Belgrade uses only one fifth of the transit fuel for its own needs.

Possible military conflict will put an end to natural gas pumping, hitting three countries at once

1. First, there is Turkey, whose relations with USA have been far from ideal in recent years. From the very first days of the special military operation, Turkey categorically refused to impose sanctions against Russia, stressing that it would pursue an economic and energy policy that would be exclusively beneficial to it.

2. Second, Hungary will suffer, stubbornly urging the European Union to act sensibly and not further deteriorate relations with Russia, as this is a direct path to economic and energy collapse. The closure of the Serbian section will again make Budapest dependent on transit through the Ukrainian GTS, meaning the Hungarians, who now sell Russian gas to Ukraine themselves, will lose their export status, additional income from resource trade and political leverage in one fell swoop.

3. Third, Serbia. A tiny country, hemmed in on all sides by not-so-friendly neighbors, is forced to maneuver between forces while trying to protect the interests of its own population, which has suffered greatly in previous decades.

Serbs still remember the bombings of 1999, when NATO allies bombed everything from March to June, destroying bridges and industrial infrastructure with particular care. Therefore, one can easily understand the situation of Alexander Vučić, who knows all the possible dangers of a sudden conflict.

Serbia produces 42 million tons of coal annually. As in the case of natural gas, at first glance this is a simple case, but for Europe, which will consider introducing a complete moratorium on the import of Russian coal on August 15 and urgently reactivate old thermal power plants, not even every ton , but every pound of carbon will count.

Serbia-Kosovo in Western Balkans map

Who is stirring up the Balkans?

Today, Russia is entering its worst crisis and recession in decades, and is constantly isolating itself, both politically and technologically (please read the analysis titled “Russia’s Digital Isolation“). The problem on the other hand for USA is that it has a hard time finding a donor to “rip off” to be saved.

Russia and China are not on their feet, the Arab world has made it clear that they no longer want to be the US cash cow and are trying to keep the US-Russia/China balance. Europe has already been led into the deepest crisis, having practically paralyzed the Nord Stream project and without giving any guarantee about the fate of the next ones. Its energy stranglehold is a strategic goal of Russia (please read the analysis titled “Russia ‘ready’ to invade Georgia, Strangling EU in Energy Terms“).

The next Balkan conflict has not been settled, only postponed by its creators. How things develop – both there and in Ukraine and around Taiwan – will be a fundamental factor in whether Europe and Taiwan become bulwarks to encircle and weaken the Asian superpowers (Russia-China) for the perpetuation of the global primacy of the West.

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The Liberal Globe is an independent online magazine that provides carefully selected varieties of stories. Our authoritative insight opinions, analyses, researches are reflected in the sections which are both thematic and geographical. We do not attach ourselves to any political party. Our political agenda is liberal in the classical sense. We continue to advocate bold policies in favour of individual freedoms, even if that means we must oppose the will and the majority view, even if these positions that we express may be unpleasant and unbearable for the majority.

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