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Is Europe Sleepwalking Into Another War?

The continent’s last major conflict in the Balkans never stopped smoldering, and a fragile peace is at a precipice.

A refugee in Macedonia, 1999 (top); NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo.

A refugee in Macedonia, 1999 (top); NATO-led peacekeepers in Kosovo.

Photographer: Roger Lemoyne/Getty Images (refugee); Armend Nimani/Getty Images (troops)

As Ukraine’s allies wrangle over what comes next to help the country fight Vladimir Putin’s forces, unfinished business elsewhere on NATO’s doorstep is also in need of some more attention.

The Balkans have long been a byword for political and ethnic volatility, but things have worsened of late. Tensions have escalated since summer, after Kosovo told Serbs living in the country they had to adopt the same local ID cards and license plates as the ethnic Albanian majority. Serbian President Aleksandar Vucic even spent the final days of December trying to ease the standoff after residents in the north of Kosovo blocked off streets and confronted police.