European Western Balkans

EU Permanent Representatives agree on amending Chapter 35 with Serbia to include Ohrid agreement

Meeting during which Ohrid annex was agreed in March 2023; Photo: X / @JosepBorrellF

BRUSSELS – The Committee of the Permanent Representatives (COREPER) agreed on Monday to amend the negotiating chapter 35 with Serbia to include the obligations from the 2023 Brussels agreement and its annex from Ohrid, North Macedonia.

The issue was on the agenda of COREPER on 15 April and, according to Radio Free Europe, it was adopted unanimously.

The amendments to the negotiating position of the European Union need to be adopted by the Council of the European Union, for which COREPER is a preparatory body. The next General Affairs Council is scheduled for 21 May, but its agenda has not been published yet.

After the European Council summit in December last year, EU leaders called on the European Commission to propose amendments by the end of January 2024 so that the obligations arising from the Ohrid agreement would be included in Chapter 35.

Amendment of Chapter 35 was one of the activities included in the Implementation Annex agreed in Ohrid in March 2023.

Implementation Annex is a part of the Agreement on the path to normalisation between Kosovo and Serbia, which was accepted by President of Serbia Aleksandar Vučić and Prime Minister of Kosovo Albin Kurti in Brussels in February 2023.

According to the document, the parties shall develop normal, good-neighbourly relations with each other on the basis of equal rights and mutually recognise their respective documents and national symbols, including passports, diplomas, licence plates, and customs stamps.

Among the provisions of the agreement is that Serbia will not object to Kosovo’s membership in any international organisation.

Also, both Parties commit to establish specific arrangements and guarantees, to ensure an appropriate level of self-management for the Serbian community in Kosovo.

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