Did the Brussels Agreement fail? This is perhaps one of the most important questions to answer after all the Serbs left their positions in government institutions in Pristina in response to the frequent unilateral actions of the government of Albin Kurti.
Political analysts say that the status of the north of Kosovo is a key issue and that Pristina will never be able to control that part of the territory without incidents.
Serbs would be employed in government institutions in Kosovo and Pristina will form the Community of Serbian Municipalities – that was the basis of the Brussels Agreement, which was signed on April 19, 2013. The Kosovo Serbs fulfilled their obligations from that agreement until last weekend when they all resigned from their jobs in Pristina’s authorities, since the Kosovo authorities have not fulfilled their only obligation, stated in the document signed in the EU headquarters, which was to allow the formation of the Community of Serbian Municipalities (ZSO, for short).
Kurti wanted to do everything by force
Not only does Pristina refuse to form the ZSO, but the Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, went a step further and tried unilaterally to round off Kosovo’s statehood by forcing the Serbs to re-register their vehicles and use Kosovo car number plates, against the will of the West. On November 1, Pristina issued warnings to all Serbs who did not re-register their vehicles, while on November 21, it announced fines of 150 euros for every Serb that fails to do that.
This provoked a fierce response from the Serbian side, with all Serbs unilaterally resigning from their jobs in Pristina’s institutions.
Is there anything left of the Brussels Agreement and does such an agreement have a future?
It is interesting to note that all the time, both the EU and the US, have been calling on both sides to calm tensions and to respect the provisions of the Brussels Agreement. While Serbian officials pointed out in a letter that they demanded that the agreement be fully respected, official Pristina and Kurti have been persistently refusing to allow the formation of the ZSO. Did the West has lost control over Kurti or is it “secretly” allowing him to make unilateral moves?
The director of the Centre for Regionalism, Aleksandar Popov, says that “the future of the Brussels Agreement depends on three players”.
“The first player is the West, i.e. the EU and the USA, that is, the EU or the USA, since we see that lately they have not been seeing eye to eye on the Kosovo issue. For example, the Scholz-Macron plan for the solution of the Kosovo issue was not publicly supported by the USA. Also, I find it strange that the West, as a sponsor of Kosovo’s independence, could not force Kurti to delay the deadline for vehicle re-registration by 10 months. They had to know that it would provoke a reaction from Serbia,” Popov notes.
“The second player (on whom the survival of the Brussels Agreement depends) is Pristina led by Kurti, and the third is Belgrade and Aleksandar Vučić, who now has an alibi for not holding talks on the normalization of relations with Pristina bearing in mind that Kurti refuses to listen to the West,” assesses Popov.
He believes that “the ball is now in the West’s court” when it comes to the survival of the Brussels Agreement.
This post is also available in: Italiano