- Bosnia and Herzegovina
- All Balkan Countries
The fifth EU-mediated meeting between Kosovo and Serbia's prime ministers takes place on Tuesday but little is known about what's been discussed at the talks so far.
EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton will host the latest round of discussions between Kosovo's premier Hashim Thaci and his Serbian counterpart Ivica Dacic in Brussels.
“Ashton will host the fifth round of the dialogue for normalisation of relations between Serbia and Kosovo. She and the two PMs will continue to discuss issues already addressed, including the north of Kosovo [home to the Serb minority],” Maja Kocinjancic, Ashton's spokesperson told Balkan Insight
Kosovo’s deputy prime minister, Hajredin Kuci, said on Monday that Pristina mainly wants to talk about “Serbian security and [Serb-run] parallel judicial structures” in the northern part of Kosovo.
“I am convinced an agreement will be achieved. There are signals also from Belgrade that parallel structures [set up by Serbs outside Kosovo government control] have to be dismantled,” Kuci said.
Meanwhile Belgrade is insisting on broader autonomy for Serb-populated areas.
Thaci and Dacic have so far agreed a border management deal, the development of measures to protect Serbian cultural and religious heritage in Kosovo, and the preparation of a feasibility study for a motorway between the Serbian city of Nis and Pristina.
Both prime ministers have also agreed to exchange liaison officers, step up work on missing persons and on the collection of customs duties, levies and VAT at crossing points in the northern part of Kosovo.
But differing interpretations of these issues have raised suspicions about the actual form of these agreements.
The Kosovo government has refused to reveal further details about what has been discussed.
Kosovo’s legislation only allows access to official documents if their publication does not pose a threat to national security and international relations, public safety and criminal prosecutions.
Balkan Insight asked the Kosovo government press office for access to all the agreements and the transcripts of the talks with Serbia, but only the conclusions of technical dialogue were provided.
No reason was given for this.
Since the start of the EU-mediated talks, opposition parties and civil society have criticised those involved in the discussions for a lack of transparency.
“This [the dialogue] is the foggiest political process I’ve seen since 1999. The Kosovo government is keeping the agreements secret because they are damaging the state’s interest,” Glauk Konjufca, a lawmaker from the opposition Self-Determination Movement, told Balkan Insight.
Shpend Kursani from the Kosovar Institute for Policy Research and Development said that “the government has given itself a degree of flexibility in order to achieve agreements which violate the Kosovo constitution”.
Seven technical agreements have been reached since March 2011, covering issues such as integrated border management, freedom of movement, acceptance of university diplomas and customs stamps.
As Kosovo parliamentarians prepare to vote on the EU-brokered deal between Pristina and Belgrade, the opposition Vetevendosje [Self-Determination] movement set alight copies of the agreement.
Belgrade and Pristina have failed to make headway during negotiations on an international dialling code for Kosovo and a licence for a Serbian mobile phone operator in Kosovo.
The Red Cross appealed for new information to help find the bodies of Kosovo’s 1,700 wartime missing, but their families accused Serbia of concealing the locations of graves.
Leaders of Serbia and Kosovo have agreed on a harmonized plan to implement the recent Brussels-led agreement, the EU foreign policy chief announced.
Ahead of Tuesday’s meeting between Kosovo and Serbia, German foreign minister Guido Westerwelle urged both sides to take real steps to implement their EU-brokered agreement.
As Pristina and Belgrade seek agreement on implementing their EU-brokered deal, Albanian leaders in Serbia’s Presevo Valley are urging the Kosovo authorities to help them win more rights.
Despite two failed meetings about the implementation of the EU-brokered deal between Kosovo and Serbia, officials hope that prime ministerial talks next week will see progress.
NATO’s Kosovo force warned that only authorised policing groups are allowed to carry weapons in northern Kosovo, not Serb-organised ‘civil defence’ units.
After the two delegations failed to agree an action plan, the Serbian Prime Minister said the EU-led deal will be finalised following direct meetings with his Kosovo counterpart.
Pristina and Belgrade delegations hold their second meeting in Brussels on Tuesday to discuss implementing the EU-led agreement on normalizing relations.
Serbia’s former top official for Kosovo says only Belgrade can pursue Serbs in North to respect EU-brokered agreement.
Serbian parliament gave the green light for the EU-backed agreement on the integration of the Serb minority in Kosovo when it adopted the government’s report on the Belgrade, Pristina talks.
Aleksandar Vucic, Serbian deputy prime minister, said the government will meet the request of Serbs from Kosovo and call a referendum on the Belgrade-Pristina deal.
Teams from Kosovo and Serbia have headed to Brussels to agree on implementing the recently agreed EU-led deal.
After a long and tense debate on Sunday night that was interrupted by protests, parliament in Pristina voted for the deal with Belgrade on the future of Serb-run northern Kosovo.
Belgrade and Pristina finally agreed on the future of Serb-run North Kosovo in the tenth round of EU-led talks on Friday.