European Western Balkans

EU warns of punitive measures against Kosovo

Session of the Government of Kosovo; Photo: Facebook / Albin Kurti

BRUSSELS – The European Union has warned that it will communicate the punitive measures against Kosovo, which the bloc has prepared due to the failure to take the steps that have been requested to reduce tensions in the north of Kosovo, said the head of the Directorate-General for Neighbourhood and Enlargement Negotiations (DG NEAR).

During the debate in EP Committee for Foreign Policy (AFET) Koopman said that a number of measures are being prepared for Kosovo. He mentioned the suspension of the work of all working groups for the Stabilization and Association Agreement (SAA), the suspension of financing of EU programs, the disapproval of projects from the Investment Fund in the Western Balkans, as well as the suspension of meetings at political levels.

Koopman stressed that these measures “were not taken lightly” and that they are reversible if the right steps are taken to de-escalate the situation.

During the debate in AFET, EU Special Representative for Belgrade-Pristina Dialogue Miroslva Lajčak explained the concrete steps that the EU has proposed to Kosovo and Serbia to reduce tensions in the north of Kosovo.

Some MEPs have criticized the EU’s approach to the current situation in Kosovo. According to them, only Kosovo is being reprimanded and measures are being taken against it, while no concrete measures have been mentioned for Serbia.

The EP members asked to specify the measures against Serbia as well, but neither Lajčak nor Koopman has answered this question. Lajčak expressed his willingness to share details with the European deputies about the steps that have been requested from the parties to de-escalated situations.

According to Euronews Albania, as a first step, Lajčak mentioned the withdrawal of the new mayors of the municipalities in the north and the special units of the Kosovo Police from the municipal buildings, in parallel with the withdrawal of the protesters.

The second step is to unblock the entry of trucks with goods from Serbia to Kosovo, reduce the level of readiness and withdraw the military forces of Serbia from the vicinity of the border with Kosovo and not send them to that area.

Lajčak mentioned that the bloc’s request that new elections be announced in the four municipalities in the north of Kosovo inhabited by a majority of Serbs that Srpska lista – the largest party of Serbs in Kosovo – publicly declare that it will participate in the election process.

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