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news 29 Oct 15

Serbia Accuses Kosovo of Reneging on EU Deal

Serbia has accused Kosovo of violating the Brussels agreement by obstructing the formation of the Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo.

Igor Jovanovic
BIRN
Belgrade
Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government office for Kosovo | Photo: Beta

Serbian officials on Thursday accused Kosovo of obstructing the formation of the long-awaited Association of Serbian Municipalities in Kosovo as a result of its initiative "to assess the constitutionality of the agreement".

Aleksandar Vucic, the Prime Minister, said that the EU should react after Kosovo suspended the agreement reached in the EU-led talks.

Vucic said on Thursday that the deal on the Association, reached as a part of the Brussels agreement between Serbia and Kosovo in 2013, was of a strategic importance for Belgrade.

He added that Kosovo had been rewarded by the signing of a Stabilization and Association Agreement with the EU on Tuesday - without fulfilling its obligations from the Brussels agreement.

According to him, more than 40 per cent of the agreement concerns the Association of Serbian Municipalities, which Serbia and Kosovo Serbs see as a crucial for the safety of the Serbian community in Kosovo.

“This opens up other, much more important and much more contentious issues ... whether it is good to be honest and responsible, to fulfill your obligations and not to be rewarded or is it better not to fulfill anything and to be rewarded?” Vucic asked.

He said the government will discuss its next moves after Kosovo President Atifete Jahjaga on Wednesday said she would ask Kosovo's Constitutional Court to assess the constitutionality of the agreement on the Association of Serbian Municipalities.

Isa Mustafa, Kosovo’s Prime Minister, said on Wednesday he supported the President’s initiative and the government would respect the court’s decision.

Kosovo government session. | Photo: Beta

Marko Djuric, head of the Serbian government’s Office for Kosovo, said on Thursday that Pristina had caused “a big internation scandal” with its initiative.

He added that Serbian and Kosovo representatives agreed on August 25 in Brussels that Pristina would pass a regulation on the establishment of the Association, and that "the assessment of the constitutionality of that regulation was made possible - but not of the whole agreement.

“It's not one, but three steps back in the normalization of relations between Belgrade and Pristina, and it must not remain without a reaction from the EU, which is the guarantor of the agreement," Djuric concluded.

Serbian and Kosovo officials on August 25 reached four key agreements in the EU-led talks in Brussels, which the EU called a landmark achievement in the normalisation process.

One was a deal on an autonomous Association of Serbian Municipalities, which Vucic said it was agreed would have broad powers, including a president, vice-president, assembly, council, coat-of-arms and flag.

However, the Kosovo Prime Minister insisted that it would not have such broad powers and would merely "help municipalities with Serbian majorities in Kosovo".

The agreement has caused political turmoil in Kosovo. Opposition MPs have even released tear gas in the Kosovo parliament, protesting over the agreements with Serbia.

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