European Western Balkans

Petković and Bislimi on the implementation of the Agreement on normalization of relations on Tuesday in Brussels

European External Action Service EEAS; Photo: EEAS

BRUSSELS – On Tuesday, April 4, the delegations of Serbia and Kosovo will meet in Brussels for a new round of technical dialogue. The Director of the Office for Kosovo and Metohija Petar Petković and the Deputy Prime Minister of Kosovo Besnik Bislimi will meet next week to discuss “the next steps in the implementation of the agreement on the road to the normalization of relations between Kosovo and Serbia”.

This is the first meeting on a technical level after Serbian President Aleksandar Vučić and Kosovo Prime Minister Albin Kurti met in Ohrid, where it was agreed to implement the Agreement on the path to normalization of relations – the European plan, which was adopted at the end of February in Brussels.

As previously announced by EU spokesperson Peter Stano, Bislimi and Petković are coming to Brussels at the invitation of European facilitators, in order to “present everything that was agreed upon in Ohrid and start the next steps towards implementation”. He added that the European Union “has already started its part of the work” related to the inclusion of the agreed measures from Ohrid in Chapter 35 of Serbia’s accession negotiations with the EU.

The EU also announced that there will be a new meeting between Kurti and Vučić at the highest political level, but the date is still unknown.

The President of the Board of Directors of the Center for Social Dialogue and Regional Initiatives (CDDRI), Dušan Milenković, expects that at the meeting in Brussels, the main negotiators should discuss two topics that are set as urgent.

“If we conclude from the agreement itself, they should discuss two topics that are set as urgent – starting the process of establishing the Association of Communities of Serb majority municipalities in Kosovo, and adopting the Declaration on the Missing Persons. I think it is realistic that this declaration is adopted very quickly”, says Milenkovic.

In the text of the implementation Annex published by the European Union after the meeting in Ohrid, Kosovo and Serbia agreed to urgently accept the Declaration on Missing Persons, “as agreed within the Dialogue with the mediation of the European Union”.

The Annex also states that the parties agreed to establish a Joint Monitoring Committee within 30 days, chaired by the EU, which should monitor and ensure compliance with all agreed provisions.

In addition, a deadline of 150 days was set for organizing a donor conference organized by the EU, in order to establish an investment and financial aid package for Kosovo and Serbia.

Although deadlines for obligations such as the formation of the Association of Communities of Serb majority municipalities were mentioned before the meeting, the time frame for this was not set in the Annex.

Dušan Milenković assesses that the text of the Annex, i.e. the implementation plan, is a big disappointment compared to the announcements, “which even the High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy Josep Borell admitted that evening when Belgrade and Priština came to an agreement”. Milenković believes that this is why the implementation plan does not represent sufficient guidelines for further steps in the implementation of the agreement.

“There are only two concrete deadlines, and both are deadlines for the EU, not for Belgrade and Priština. Therefore, it is not that the guidelines are not sufficient, but the document is a significant failure of international negotiators”, concludes Dušan Milenković.

The High Representative of the EU Josep Borell said last week that any attempt to question the agreement between Serbia and Kosovo is futile.

“The agreement is determined, it has to be implemented and there is no room for choosing what’s to be done and what not”, said today the High Representative of the European Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy, Josep Borell, during the ministerial meeting in Brussels. According to the European External Action Service (EEAS), Borell said that the “agreement is a whole” and that all its parts should be implemented.

The heads of states and governments of the European Union member states welcomed the agreement reached by the leaders of Serbia and Kosovo on March 18 in Ohrid. The conclusions published on the EU website state that “EU leaders have welcomed the Agreement on the path to normalisation of relations between Kosovo and Serbia and its Implementation Annex, reached in the EU-facilitated dialogue led by the High Representative, as an integral part of their respective European paths, and called on both parties to implement expediently and in good faith their respective obligations”.

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