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European Western Balkans
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Serbia and Kosovo fail to agree over car plates issue

Vučić-Kurti meeting in Brussels, 18 August 2022; Photo: FoNet

BRUSSELS – After several hours of talks in Brussels, which resulted in the absence of any agreement between Belgrade and Pristina, the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security, Josep Borrell, confirmed that there was no agreement regarding license plates.

According to him, the European negotiators presented a proposal to avoid further escalation, which the President of Serbia accepted while the Prime Minister of Kosovo rejected.

The proposal implies that Kosovo should immediately stop further activities related to re-registration and that Belgrade should stop issuing new license plates with the denomination of Kosovo cities, including KM plates.

He expressed concern about the “serious security vacuum” in the north of Kosovo because hundreds of Serbian policemen have left the Kosovo police, while only 50 Kosovo policemen remain in the northern part.

In addition to the security vacuum, Borrell said that it also created a “very vulnerable situation” because even the international forces that are present in Kosovo, such as EULEX, can not assume the role of the local police.

“Obligations to preserve stability were taken long ago as part of the dialogue. EU officials again called for de-escalation. The meeting was an obligation of the leaders to avoid escalation and avoid a crisis with serious consequences,” the EU High Representative for Foreign Policy and Security reminded.

Borrell assessed that something must change in the dialogue because negotiations are carried out “from deadline to deadline, from crisis to crisis.” “The core of the crisis goes much further than license plates. I said we couldn’t continue like this,” Borell concluded.

An emergency meeting of the President of Serbia and the Prime Minister of Kosovo was held in Brussels on Monday at the invitation of the European Union due to the current political crisis, which is believed to be the most serious since 2013. As announced by the European External Affairs Service (EEAS), the focus of the meeting mediated by the EU is the way out of the crisis and avoiding any escalation of tensions.

The Kosovo authorities announced that from November 21, they would start handing out fines to all those who have not re-registered their vehicles with “RKS” plates. However, on Sunday, the Kosovo police announced that they would start collecting the fines after the meeting in Brussels, in Tuesday, November 22.

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