BRUSSELS — EU Spokesperson Peter Stano announced on Friday that Serbia’s President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo’s Prime Minister Albin Kurti have been invited to a high-level meeting in Brussels, with the aim of finding a “European solution”, FoNet reported.
Stano explained that Brussels urged the two leaders will respond to the invitation with haste and that the meeting should be organized before 21 November, the date Government in Pristina set as a deadline for Kosovo Serbs to acquire Kosovo license plates in case they want to avoid fines.
He added that the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borrell, expressed hope that the meeting will result in “finding a way out” of the current crisis before the said date, not after.
The deadline for the implementation of the car plates deal parties have agreed upon in Brussels has expired on 31 October, however the Kosovo authorities announced they will be fining the drivers who fail to display license plates issued by the Kosovo authorities on their vehicles on 21 November. Despite the year-long campaign by the Kosovo authorities, it is reported that only 15 Kosovo Serbs switched to the RKS plates. Moreover, several arson attacks on the vehicles of Kosovo Serbs who changed their license plates have been reported in the past months.
Amid the crisis caused by the approaching deadline, pressures on the Kosovo Serbs from both sides and Pristina’s refusal to once again delay the implementation of the license plate agreement, the beginning of November brought new issues as ethnic Serbis resigned from Kosovo institutions en-masse. Serbs have resigned from the Parliament, municipalities, judiciary and the police, citing the breach of the Brussels agreement by Priština as the reason behind their decision.
Kosovo President Vjosa Osmani has called extraordinary elections to be held on 18 December to replace the officials in the northern municipalities and the parliament who have resigned. All Serbian parties in Kosovo announced that they will boycott local elections.
Kurti: There will be no Association of Serb Municipalities
In an interview with APA, Albin Kurti, Kosovo’s PM, said that he expects the relations with Serbia to be normalized within the next two years, which would imply mutual recognition. However, he strongly opposes the formation of the Association of Serb Municipalities, deeming such a decision unconstitutional.
“Mutual recognition should be at the heart of the agreement. I took power last year; it was my predecessors who signed this agreement with the same people who are still in power in Serbia today. Why didn’t they implement it, then? Our constitution does not accept an ethnic association. Its essence is multi-ethnicity,” Kurti said, EURACTIV reported.
Kurti has postponed the deadline for implementation of the license plates agreements on several occassions, however he has refused to do so once again, which caused a problem for over 10 000 ethnic Serbs living in Kosovo and still using the old licence plates.
Kosovo authorities have agreed to a phased implementation of the agreement, meaning that after 21 November they will start issuing fines for those who fail to comply with the new car registration rules. After 21 January, they will have to attach probationary plates to their cars and after 21 April, the probationary plates will no longer be accepted.