Vučić and Kurti to meet in Brussels again – Can the talks be revived out of the comatose state?

Next Wednesday, Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti are due to meet in Brussels to try to revive the talks on the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina which have been at a stalemate for quite a while.

The June 26th meeting will see a new round of the EU-mediated dialogue on normalization of relations. EU spokesman Peter Stano and the government of Kosovo confirmed the meeting on June 20. Kurti’s office said that the focus of the meeting will be the implementation of the agreement on the road to normalization of relations. The European Union has not yet released details on the agenda of the meeting. The summit will be mediated by EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell and special envoy for the dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak. The talks were agreed during Lajcak’s visits to Kosovo and Serbia this week.

Kurti and Vučić met in Brussels last time on September 14, 2023, when they discussed the implementation of the Agreement on the way to the normalization of relations, but this meeting resulted in no progress, due to the contradictory positions of the parties involved.

Since then, the West has tried several times to convince Kurti and Vučić to sit down at the negotiating table to discuss steps to implement the agreement.

Although the agreement – which was reached last year – has not been signed by the parties, the EU says it is legally binding for Kosovo and Serbia.

The agreement of 11 articles, among other things, foresees a level of self-management for the Serbian community in Kosovo and mutual recognition of state symbols, while asking Pristina and Belgrade to also implement all previous agreements reached during the dialogue.

However, the EU – which has been mediating the dialogue for the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia since 2011 – has criticized the parties for not implementing the agreement.

During his visit to Kosovo on June 18, the EU envoy for the Kosovo-Serbia dialogue, Miroslav Lajcak, repeated the request that the parties speed up the implementation of this agreement.

Dragisa Mijacic, coordinator of the working group of the EU National Convention for Cooperation between Belgrade and Pristina, said that all eyes are on Pristina, primarily regarding the acceptance of the proposed statute regarding the formation of the Community of Serb Municipalities (the so-called ZSO), which was drawn up by Miroslav Lajcak’s team, i.e. the EU.

“The government is expected to adopt that draft statute and send it to the Constitutional Court for consideration. Pristina, on the other hand, is trying to find different modalities to postpone that process – from wanting to send that paper to the Venice Commission to wanting to create an alternative statute after so many years of negotiations”, he explained.

Mijacic also reminded that Kosovo was not admitted to the Council of Europe precisely because it did not initiate the process of establishing the ZSO.

(Danas, 21.06.2024)

This post is also available in: Italiano

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