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News 12 Aug 15

Kosovo-Serbia Car Insurance Deal Starts

A long-awaited vehicle insurance deal between Serbia and Kosovo, which is designed to make travel between Kosovo and Serbia much cheaper, started at midnight on Tuesday night.

Sasa Dragojlo BIRN Belgrade
 Serbia-Kosovo talks | Photo by CEEAS

A long-delayed agreement on car insurance between Serbia and Kosovo has come into effect, which should cut the insurance costs for drivers by roughly half.

The deal assumes that drivers of vehicles registered in Kosovo will be now able to cross into Serbia with third-party liability insurance, MTPL.

Drivers with Serbian license plates in Kosovo will only need an insurance policy that applies in Serbia.

The agreement was first reached by Serbia and Kosovo officials on June 24 but was suspended a month later, just as the implementation was due to start.

The agreement, signed between vehicle insurance companies in Serbia and Kosovo, is designed to slash the high cost of driving between the two countries.

Previously, drivers of vehicles registered in Kosovo have paid around 120 euros to enter Serbia - plus a daily fee of five euros for a 15-day stay that included the use of temporary licence plates.

Drivers of cars registered in Serbia meanwhile paid 20 euro for a week of driving in Kosovo. The agreement should roughly halve the amount.

Dalibor Jevtic, the ethnic Serbian Minister for Communities and Returns in Kosovo, told Radio Contact Plus in the divided northern Kosovo town of Mitrovica that the agreement on vehicle insurance was a deal in which many people had an interest.

He said the agreement will cut the current cost for drivers on both sides and reduce the red tape at crossings.

The long-awaited cross-border car agreement was suspended on July 24 with both sides blaming the other for the breakdown.

Kosovo officials claimed that Serbia had agreed to grant entry to vehicles from Kosovo with license plates labelled with "RKS", meaning Republic of Kosovo.

But Serbian officials insisted that allowing in RKS license plates potentially meant recognition of Kosovo’s independence, proclaimed in 2008, which Serbia resists.

Until now, the problem has been resolved by owners of cars with RKS license plates obtaining temporary plates at border crossings with Serbia, which allow them to drive in Serbia.

The other obstacle to the implementation of the agreement is the status of former Yugoslav license plates which carry Kosovo city initials, "KM" for Kosovska Mitrovica, for example.

The Kosovo government said it interpreted the vehicle agreement as meaning that such plates were prohibited on its territory, and announced it would seize any vehicles which have them.

Serbian officials said this was unacceptable for Kosovo Serbs and was never agreed as part of the deal.

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