The land swap is almost certainly off the agenda for now, so the aim is most likely to reach a deal which will implement some sort of autonomy for Serbian areas of Kosovo – the Kosovars are very dubious about this because they don’t want the "Association", as it is called, to have real power like the Republika Srpska in Bosnia - and in exchange, Kosovo wants to be able to enter the UN. For that, Serbia would have to ask its friends, like Russia and China, not to veto. It would not be Serbian recognition of Kosovo as a state, but it would give the Kosovars something they want and need. Vejvoda, who was foreign policy advisor to assassinated Serbian prime minister Zoran Đinđić, surmises that the Russians would not oppose this. "They have always said they will not be more Serb than the Serbs," and he says, they will find a way to spin any deal and try to link it to their advantage to Crimea.
France, Germany and Brussels are taking a proactive role in this dialogue, (while Washington cancelled its meeting with the two presidents). What are the EU's priorities and motivations in this situation?
France and Germany really seem to want to kickstart the process again. In the long run, the US is needed to deliver the Kosovars, but given what is seen in Europe as the cynical way in which the Americans tried to capture the Kosovo issue for Trump’s electoral needs, they have understood they cannot neglect this part of Europe. It has long been said that if the EU cannot deliver in the Western Balkans, then it can deliver nowhere. Secondly, if the EU is absent, then others, ie., the Russians, the Chinese, the Turks, the Gulf Arabs, will all fill the vacuum and manipulate things to their advantage. What had not been foreseen was that the Americans too could be seen to be doing things in the region which would not be good for the interests of the EU.
When Grenell first became involved he had big expectations of what he could do, but then, as reality dawned, he began downgrading them, saying that the deal would concentrate on the economy. This was ridiculous of course, as the economy is not the problem. It is a political problem. It is quite possible that in Washington he had planned a fanfare announcing all sorts of economic deals, which the EU would then have been tasked with somehow implementing and paying for, which might then have been quickly forgotten anyway. This really created bad blood with the EU, so the resumption of the dialogue now is seen as taking back something that is rightfully a European issue, that Grenell had wanted to seize.