Wednesday

28th Sep 2016

Serbia's EU bid uncertain as roadblocks stay in place

  • Talks in Brussels are not translating into changes on the ground (Photo: consilium.europa.eu)

Nothing has changed on the ground in north Kosovo after Serbia agreed a new border pact designed to help it get EU candidate status.

A spokesman for the Eulex police mission in Kosovo told EUobserver on Saturday (3 December) that Kosovar Serbs are still manning roadblocks in the region in a situation which saw live fire against German Nato soldiers five days ago: "There are no reports of fresh violence but the barricades are where they were before the agreement was reached."

Dear EUobserver reader

Subscribe now for unrestricted access to EUobserver.

Sign up for 30 days' free trial, no obligation. Full subscription only 15 € / month or 150 € / year.

  1. Unlimited access on desktop and mobile
  2. All premium articles, analysis, commentary and investigations
  3. EUobserver archives

EUobserver is the only independent news media covering EU affairs in Brussels and all 28 member states.

♡ We value your support.

If you already have an account click here to login.

The EU late on Friday announced that Serb and Kosovar Albanian negotiators in Brussels reached a deal on Integrated Border Management (IBM) designed to make the problem go away.

"This means that the parties will gradually set up the joint, integrated, single and secure posts at all their common crossing points. Eulex will be present in line with its mandate. The IBM concept will be gradually implemented as soon as practically possible," the communque said.

Serb negotiator Boris Stefanovic caused confusion shortly afterward by telling the Tanjung news agency that deal is incomplete. "Although we came significantly closer [to an agreement], we still need to put the dot on the 'i'," he said.

One question is whether Kosovar Albanian police will be welcome at the crossing points while wearing "Republic of Kosovo" badges. In a separate deal on free movement to go into force on 26 December, Kosovar Serbs will be allowed to use special number plates which say "Kosovo" but not "Republic of."

The north Kosovo barricades will be a big issue when EU ministers meet in Brussels on Monday to decide whether Serbia should get EU candidate status.

German Chancellor Angela Merkel on Friday made clear she does not buy the line that Serbia has no control over the well-armed and well-financed Kosovar Serb paramilitaires.

"Serbia must ... face accusations it has contributed to an atmosphere in the past days in which German [Nato] soldiers were attacked with firearms," she told the Bundestag. "I very much regret that Serbia has not met expectations [on normalising relations with Kosovo] sufficiently so far and that therefore the preconditions for giving it candidate status are not in place."

EU foreign relations spokeswoman Maja Kocjancic on Saturday echoed Merkel.

"We believe that they [Serbia] are in the best place to pass on these messages to Serbian politicians in Kosovo. They have very many links. They are well placed to do that," she told this website.

Analysis

Serbia and the convenient spy

The manufactured cold war between Croatia and Serbia has been a convenient distraction from some of Serbia's domestic problems.

Opinion

EU's Kosovo meddling risks Balkans chaos

The EU and the US are is unfairly pressuring Kosovo to ratify a border deal with Montenegro against the will of the opposition. It could bring trouble to the Western Balkans region.

Stakeholders' Highlights

  1. GoogleDid You Know Europe's Largest Dinosaur Gallery Is in Brussels? Check It Out Now
  2. IPHRHuman Rights in Uzbekistan After Karimov - Joint Statement
  3. CISPECloud Infrastructure Providers Unveil Data Protection Code of Conduct
  4. EFAMessages of Hope From the Basque Country and Galicia
  5. Access NowDigital Rights Heroes and Villains. See Who Protects Your Rights, Who Wants to Take Them Away
  6. Martens CentreQuo Vadis Georgia? What to Expect From the Parliamentary Elections. Debate on 29 September
  7. EJCAppalled by Recommendation to Remove Hamas From EU Terrorism Watch List
  8. GoogleBringing Education to Refugees in Lebanon With the Clooney Foundation for Justice
  9. HuaweiAn Industry-leading ICT Solution Provider and Building a Better World
  10. World VisionUN Refugees Meeting a Wasted Opportunity to Improve the Lives of Millions of Children
  11. Belgrade Security ForumCan Democracy Survive Global Disorder?
  12. GoogleTrimming the Waste-Line: Weaving Circular Economy Principles Into Our Operations