Friday

26th Aug 2016

Ambivalent acronym highlights EU problems on north Kosovo

  • Posters thanking the EU for its help in an Albanian district in Serb-dominated north Kosovo (Photo: morbin)

Fudged language in a new agreement on north Kosovo shows how far the EU still has to go in its bid to normalise the most explosive place in the Balkans.

An EU press release over the weekend - entitled "EU facilitated dialogue: Agreement on IBM" - noted that Kosovo and Serbia have clinched a deal designed to get Kosovar Serbs to stop shooting Kosovar Albanian police and Nato soldiers at roadblocks in the disputed region. A related internal document - "IBM Agreed Conclusions" - set out some practical details.

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.

"IBM" usually stands for "Integrated Border Management" - the title of an official EU blueprint on how to handle customs and immigration in former Yugoslavia.

The two texts on north Kosovo mention "IBM" nine times but do not spell out the acronym at any point.

EUobserver understands the fudge is meant to let Kosovo and the 22 EU countries which recognise it read "IBM" in the usual sense. But it lets Serbia and the five non-recognising EU countries say it refers to "boundary management" because the word "border" implies statehood.

The distortion of the English language in the service of conflict management is again highlighted in the press release.

It says "parties reached an agreement on ... integrated management for crossing points (IBM)" - using "IBM" instead of "IMCP" to stand for the words "integrated management for crossing points."

The IBM Agreed Conclusions document also leaves room for confusion.

It says Kosovar and Serb police will have a "balanced presence" at checkpoints and that "exceptionally ... the parties will not display symbols of their respective jurisdictions." But details on implementation - which parts of north Kosovo it covers, how many police from each side, how to search cars - remain to be worked out by a "tri-partite implementation group, chaired by the EU" which will draft a "technical protocol" and "identify ... projects."

Serbia agreed the border deal to try to get EU candidate status at the EU summit this week.

Its chief negotiator on north Kosovo, Boris Stefanovic, on Sunday tried to sell the idea to people on the ground. "It does not imply a recognition of Kosovo and it would be good if the [Serb] citizens of northern Kosovo would stand behind their state [Serbia] at this moment ... From now on a great responsibility rests on the shoulders of the Serb leaders in north Kosovo," he told local media.

Germany - backed by Austria, Denmark, Finland and the UK - intends to put off the decision until the EU summit in March, however.

The three-month lag would test Serbia's will to implement changes. It would also let the EU give Serbia candidate status in time to boost Serb President Boris Tadic - the EU's top ally in Belgrade - in elections in May.

Serbia earlier this month tried to prove itself by arresting two men - NGO workers Momcilo Arlov and Vuk Mitrovic - in a car full of AK47s, anti-tank mines and plastic explosives bound for north Kosovo. The move backfired when the men told press they were smuggling the weapons on behalf of Serbian police, however.

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. EFASpain is not a democratic state. EFA expresses its solidarity to Arnaldo Otegi and EH Bildu
  2. UNICEFBoko Haram Violence in Lake Chad Region Leaves Children Displaced and Trapped
  3. HuaweiMaking Cities Smarter and Safer
  4. GoogleHow Google Makes Connections More Secure For Users
  5. EGBAThe EU Court of Justice Confirms the Application of Proportionality in Assessing Gambling Laws
  6. World VisionThe EU and Member States Must Not Use Overseas Aid for Promoting EU Interests
  7. Dialogue PlatformInterview: "There is a witch hunt against the Gulen Movement in Turkey"
  8. ACCAACCA Calls for ‘Future Looking’ Integrated Reporting Culture With IIRC and IAAER
  9. EURidNominate Your Favourite .eu or .ею Website for the .EU Web Awards 2016 Today!
  10. Dialogue PlatformAn Interview on Gulen Movement & Recent Coup Attempt in Turkey
  11. GoogleA Little Bird Told us to Start Tweeting About Google’s Work Across Europe. Learn More @GoogleBrussels
  12. Counter BalanceThe Trans Adriatic Pipeline: An Opportunity or a Scam in the Making for Albania?

Latest News

  1. Italy earthquake is test for Renzi
  2. Let's fix EU copyright law, for innovation and creativity online
  3. French government tries to defuse burkini row
  4. EU to Turkey: Do you really want to join?
  5. US slams EU competition policies
  6. French diesel committee 'did not cover up for Renault'
  7. EU backs Greek ex-data chief over criminal charges
  8. EU must step up migrant relocation, say Italy and Greece