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Foreign Policy Changes in the Context of European Integration: A Comparative Analysis of Serbia’s Policy Towards Kosovo and Macedonia’s Approach in the 'Naming Issue'

Florent Marciacq
University of Luxembourg
Florent Marciacq
University of Luxembourg

Serbia and Macedonia both face unresolved disputes with neighbours. But none has had as critical implications as the “naming issue” for Macedonia and the “Kosovo issue” for Serbia. These impregnate the countries’ foreign policy. But whereas Macedonia’s approach towards the naming issue has proved fruitless, recent changes in Serbia’s Kosovo policy have breached the deadlock. This paper uses comparative analysis to investigate the factors, both internal and external, that make the resolution of neighbourly disputes (un)successful. It identifies and compares the structural conditions, the normative dispositions and the individual intentions shaping Serbia and Macedonia’s foreign policy approaches, and discusses their propensity to act as domestic or international sources of change. The paper finds that European integration and EU conditionality led Serbia to inflect its Kosovo policy, while cornering Macedonia till retrenchment; that the configuration of the negotiation process matters essentially; and that the domestic politics of dispute settlement are paramount.
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