Video: Kosovo, the impossible nation-state
For over a year, Kosovo has been in mired in political crisis, which reached a climax this week when the government collapsed and the president called snap parliamentary elections for June 11. Our reporters returned to this tiny, dysfunctional nation at the heart of Europe.
On 17 February 2008, Kosovo unilaterally declared its independence from Serbia, a move immediately denounced by Belgrade and Moscow. Today, the small Balkan country is only recognised by 114 of the 193 UN member states. It remains dysfunctional and divided.
The south, which looks towards Albania, is predominantly Muslim, uses the Latin alphabet and pays in euros. In the north, the Serbian flag floats from buildings, the Cyrillic script is used, Serbian dinars are exchanged, and the population is predominantly Orthodox.
The tensions between the Albanian majority and the Serb community (which makes up just 6% of the population), a product of history fuelled by regional rivalries, eat away at the youngest country in Europe. Kosovo remains under international surveillance: some 4,300 NATO troops are deployed there and a European mission, EULEX, supervises the police, justice and local administrations.
The only glimmer of hope in this bleak landscape is the younger generation, which did not live through the war and could break the vicious circle of hatred between communities. One third of the population is under the age of 15. In order to digest its history and finally look to the future, Kosovo will have to rely on its young people and their energy.