European Western Balkans

Forming the Association of Serbian Municipalities is an obligation by international law, Pristina to set the procedure

Mitrovica Bridge; Photo: Wikimedia Commons

BRUSSELS — Forming the Association of Serb Municipalities is only a procedural question for authorities in Pristina, as the agreement on its establishment was ratified by the Kosovo Parliament which makes it obligatory by international law, EU officials said to Beta news agency, as N1 reported. 

Sources from Brussels stated that it is up to Kosovo authorities to lay out the procedure for the establishment of ASM “without delay,” but there can be no new negotiations on this issue. Prime Minister of Kosovo, Albin Kurti, has repeatedly said that the Constitution of Kosovo does not allow formation of ethnic units, but EU officials pointed out that agreement on ASM is clear and possible to implement. While the agreement does mention the possible revision by the Constitutional Court of Kosovo, that doesn’t call into question its main provisions, which are clear and have the status of an international legal act, as Beta’s sources emphasized. 

During his recent visit to the region, State Department Counselor Derek Chollet stated that formation of ASM is a “key issue that must be resolved” and “in accordance with the Constitution of Kosovo.” Sources from Brussels stressed the importance of EU and US coordination of the dialogue and said that a meeting between Serbian President Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Kurti is expected to be organized as soon as possible in order to discuss normalization of relations under the framework of the Franco-German proposal. 

“Progress is urgently needed and the EU and the US will do everything to help without imposing a solution,” the officals from Brussels said, as N1 reported. 

German Embassy in Pristina: Refusal to form ASM diminishes support for Kosovo’s membership in the Council of Europe

Should the Government of Kosovo continue to block the establishment of the Association of Serb Municipalities, this will have a negative effect on Kosovo’s chances to become a member fo the Council of Europe, the German Embassy in Pristina warned. In a response to Koha, the Embassy stated that it will be difficult to secure the necessary majority in the Council of Europe in this context. 

“Germany and the partners have repeatedly emphasized that the talks on the implementation of the Association of Serb Municipalities should start now, aiming at the establishment of an association, according to the relevant Kosovo-Serbia agreement from 2013, which is fully in line with the limits set by the Constitutional Court. The further blocking of the establishment of the Association will not make it easier for Kosovo to achieve the necessary majority for its application to become a member of the Council of Europe,” the German Embassy stated in the response to Koha. 

Moreover, if authorities in Pristina don’t shift their attitude towards the formation of ASM, Kosovo’s membership bids for other international organizations will be endangered as well. The response by the German Embassy stressed that the current stance will “constitute serious obstacles in the further process of EU accession.”

Germany and its European partners are ready to offer technical and legal support and expertise which Kosovo might need in order to fulfill its international obligations and establish ASM, it was concluded in the reponse to Koha. 

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